RAA calls for uniformity and reforms

Report: Some agencies have terminated the service of those involved in fraud and corruption cases after recovering the misused amount and in other cases, individuals were either demoted to lower grades, issued reprimand letters, withheld promotions, trainings and annual increment for up to three years.

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) has thus pointed out that administrative actions taken were inconsistent and not based on extant laws. It has recommended to revamp the current system and ensure consistency in taking actions for all fraud and corruption cases as per the laws of the land.

Most irregularities, the RAA found emanate from weak enforcement of relevant rules pertaining to management of contracts, procurements, revenues and funds and inadequacies in operation of internal controls.

“The adherences and compliances to the requirement thus, have become serious issues of concerns,” the annual audit report stated.

Wastage and avoidable costs in the form of excess payments, payments made for works not executed and inadmissible payments, the report stated have become a regular feature in the construction management.

The report also stated that payments made without receiving goods, excessive advances and non-liquidations, non-imposition of penalties, violation of contractual terms and non-reconciliations have direct impact on the service delivery.

“When practices of flouting rules become endemic to the system, complacencies breed in, rendering scope for undesirable practices,” the report stated.

RAA suggested the agencies to institute effective internal controls including monitoring and supervision mechanisms as well as a system of checks and balances to ensure strict compliances.

“Unless the system instituted within the organisations are designed to prevent and detect such cases and also effectively operate, cases and magnitude of irregularities, lapses and malpractices will continue to increase.”

The RAA also observed that the placement of new and inexperienced professionals including engineers and finance personnel had also aggravated the existing problems.

The audit report recommends the agencies to ensure that new and inexperienced personnel are adequately trained and oriented before assigning to areas of their responsibilities.

The existing practice of levying 24 percent penalty on overdue advances and other recoverable amounts has proved to be effective in many ways in speedier settlement of outstanding dues.

However, since the penalty is levied based on audit reports, it may not fully meet the objective of levying penalty on overdue advances. The applications of 24 percent penalty have been imposed only to those agencies being audited.

Further, the imposition of penalty based on audit findings lack uniformity in application across the agencies. For uniform application of penalty, the RAA has recommended to automate imposition and calculation at source reckoning from the date it advances.

Pay and allowances, the RAA stated has become a recurrent and common discrepancy observed every year. RAA feels the need for integration of government payroll module in public expenditure management system (PEMS) and Civil Service Information System.

Effective controls over employees payrolls and disbursement of their pay and allowances and statutory deductions were lacking, the RAA also points out.

Tshering Dorji

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