Audit:The Public Accounts Committee asked the labour ministry, Royal Audit Authority and finance ministry to hold a tripartite meeting to resolve all audit issues prior to 2013 and report to the committee their decisions.

The ministry had five unresolved cases between 2009 and 2013. The irregularities were pertaining to double booking of expenditure amounting to Nu 0.896 million, excess refund of retention money in the basic skills development project amounting to Nu 2.353 million, flaws in the award and construction of vocational training institute of Nu 3.295 million and deposit of liquidated damages into non-revenue account.

Labour and human resources secretary, Sonam Wangchuk, said that there were numerous issues in resolving the issues.

“The financial files of the project could not be found anywhere in the department or the ministry. We are still looking for the files. We’re totally confused and don’t know what to do,” the secretary said.

While the physical records have disappeared. The soft version cannot be retrieved as the government’s accounting system has changed. The directly accountable person, the project accountant, has disappeared ministry officials submitted to PAC.

He said that the ministry is trying to resolve the audit memos once and for all as it hampered the conduct of other activities of the ministry.

The agriculture ministry has four irregularities between 2011 and 2013. Officials said there are two cases in court related to the audit issues and the ministry has decided on taking an official who has not handed over office properties after leaving on transfer, to the human resource committee.

Agriculture secretary Rinzin Dorji said that the ministry has instituted an improved system.

“Instead of the ministry writing to departments, then departments to the agency head and then to the concerned official, the ministry would hereafter refer officials not resolving their audit memos to the human resource committee,” he said.

The committee would disqualify any such individual from taking part in trainings or study, he said which could prevent officials from dragging the audit issues.

PAC summoned the ministries for failing to resolve the audit irregularities from 2009 to 2013 and also on the 2014 audit irregularities.

The public hearing is a follow up to the resolutions of the sixth session of the Parliament and conducted in accordance with the committee’s rules of procedure.

One of the Parliament’s resolutions requires agencies to resolve unresolved irregularities between 2009 and 2013 and report to RAA by March this year.

The other irregularities later than 2013 are to be resolved and reported to RAA  within 12 months after the issue of the audit report and by September 30 of every financial year.

Tshering Palden