Posts Tagged ‘Auditor-General’s Report 2012

29
Oct
13

Auditor-General: Rules in place, but enforcement lacking

Event though the problems have been highlighted in his report, Auditor-General Ambrin Buang says department heads are sometimes lax in taking disciplinary action against errant civil servants.

There already are rules in place to punish civil servants, but enforcement is lacking, Ambrin told a forum last night.

“(Punitive) action cannot be taken as long as department heads do not act. And we wonder why they are not acting.

“Perhaps the department head does not view the matter seriously. Perhaps he takes pity on his officers; that the officers did well in other areas and only overlooked in this one,” Ambrin said.

Ambrin was speaking to some 100 students at Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Economics and Administration, alongside two academicians, Lee Hwok Aun and Muhammad Asri Mohd Ali.

He said this in answer to a question from the moderator on whether a special committee had been set up to scrutinise his report, since doubts have been raised about the veracity of the audit report.

Ambrin dismissed this contention and explained that the committee, chaired by the chief secretary to the government, Ali Hamsa, was set up to ensure follow-up action is taken on the audit report and to hold the departmental director-generals accountable on this.

He added that disciplinary action is appropriate when irregularities occur, even if without criminal intent, it these incur losses to the government.

Public wants fast, firm action

Penalties include written warnings that would delay salary increments, a delay in promotion, the imposition of a surcharge or even dismissal from service.

In cases where there is believed to be criminal intent, such as corruption, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) would investigate and refer the findings to the attorney-general.

“The public demands action. They want faster action and they want firmer action… It must hurt. Only then will they (civil servants) feel it.

“When we take action, others will watch. Only then it would count. That person responsible would have lost his promotion or have his salary adjustment delayed, and it becomes a topic of conversation,” Ambrin added.

…more
Rules in place, but errant civil servants not punished
Koh Jun Lin
Oct 18, 2013 – Malaysiakini

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23
Oct
13

MP: Gov’t wasted RM6.5bil if audit report right

The government might have wasted around RM6.5 billion in the 64 cases studied under the 2012 audit report, Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming said yesterday.

“Based on the 64 cases that the report has studied, I took some figures from the report, and I extrapolated the rest, and this is the estimation I arrived at,” he told the audience at an audit report forum in Petaling Jaya last night.

Ong (left) noted that the RM6.5 billion that was wasted by the government was twice the amount of the funds the government could save by reducing the subsidy for petrol prices by 20 cents.

“Of this amount, about RM5.7 billion was wasted by the federal government, while another RM0.8 billion was wasted by statutory government bodies,” he said.

He also said that about RM30 billion of the country’s annual budget could be shaved off and saved instead if the government was more prudent in its spending.

…more
MP: Gov’t wasted RM6.5bil if audit report right
Ram Anand
Oct 12, 2013 – Malaysiakini

22
Oct
13

Auditor General’s job of keeping government honest

Civil servants who have been negligent or careless in carrying out their duties, resulting in the loss of public funds, should at the very least be subjected to internal disciplinary measures, said Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang (pic) today.

“Depending on the severity of the offence and the findings of the disciplinary committee, the penalties can range from a warning letter to withholding increment, demotion and, in extreme cases, even sacking,” he said.

“The heads of department must also monitor the actions of their subordinates and be more accountable instead of dismissing the problem with a shrug of their shoulders.

“There are 1.4 million civil servants nationwide involved in hundreds of projects involving public funds.”

Ambrin faced the public today for the first time at a forum entitled Audit Report: Leaks or Lapses at the Karangkraf headquarters in Section 15, Shah Alam. The other panel members were Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief chairman Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua (pic) and Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed.

Pua said the excuses given by civil servants to explain the millions of ringgit wasted or mismanaged was unacceptable to taxpayers.

He said negligence, ignorance and indifference was not an excuse to waste taxpayers’ money

“I have been a member of the Public Accounts Committee for five years and I still hear the same song being played every year. The wastage and financial mismanagement are attributed to negligence and carelessness on the part of civil servants.

“The government is obviously not interested or lacks the conviction to stop this.

“Given that the Auditor General and his staff can only check 160 departments as a small sample study due to the lack of manpower, this is frightening. “The public is entitled to wonder whether government departments are rotten from top to bottom given the same wastage and mismanagement is reported consistently every year. This is why the public is angry with the government,” Pua said.

He pointed out that if the police can explain the loss of 44 firearms by saying it could have fallen in the sea, what would other government departments think of? Would they bother to shape up given that the country’s top law enforcement agency was no different from other agencies?

“The political will and conviction to change and take responsibility must begin with all the ministers. They should be aware of what is going on within their respective ministries and not use the excuse that it is the responsibility of their officers.”

…more
Auditor General’s job of keeping government honest, in Pua’s words, “is frightening”
BY LEE SHI-IAN
October 10, 2013 – TMI

17
Oct
13

Manual for bloating government procurement costs

It may be more apt to rename the Auditor General’s Report “Manual for bloating government procurement costs”. By this no offence is meant to the current and previous Auditor Generals and their teams of officers. They have all done their duty conscientiously, reporting all the misdeeds they discover.

If it were taken as a report, then it is logical that action must follow to bring to book all those who had not done their procurement work diligently or honestly. When exorbitant prices are paid for exactly the same goods and services that members of the public can purchase at a fraction of the cost paid by government ministries, departments and agencies, then is it wrong for the public to infer that corruption is involved; that someone is getting kickbacks.

Since no action is taken to bring to book the inefficient and the corrupted, the AG’s report has become a manual that teaches others that no accountability is required of anyone who jacks-up prices.

Hence, year after year, the same old story is repeated. So it teaches the corrupted minded to make hay while the sun shines and that is why the report might as well be called a manual for misappropriation.

What the AG’s report does not do is give comparative figures showing the percentage of money that has been overpaid for purchases as compared to the total expenditure audited in a given year. It should provide a graph for each ministry, department and agency audited showing its budget for the year of audit, percentage of the budget actually spent and percentage of the expenditure that went to pay the excess in sky-high priced acquisitions. This way it will be known how many percent of the money was “wasted” or went down the drain, or into other places.

The graphs would show whether misappropriation increased or declined over the years. This would indicate whether the government is doing anything to check misappropriation in its procurement process through its officers at various levels of government.

Above all, could the Auditor General confirm or deny that government departments and agencies are required to purchase from Bumiputra suppliers even if their prices are higher than those quoted by non-Bumiputra suppliers?

If this is true, then, is there a limit as to how many percent higher is still considered a “fair price”? If there is no limit, then of course the sky is the limit. So is this the reason why “the board of procurement awarded contractors which provided the best value for money”? This is the answer that the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture is reported to have given to the Star’s query on the purchase of 20 wall clocks at RM3,810 each when the actual price is only RM100.00 a piece (Star, October 6, 2013.). The ministry told the AG that “the ministry obtained the best technical evaluation grades board to compare prices of items offered by companies online before making its decision”. Fantastic, bombastic language to cover up misdeeds and corruption!

…more
Manual for bloating government procurement costs – Ravinder Singh
October 07, 2013

15
Oct
13

Milking the country dry

Year in and year out, the story is the same: the auditor-general will present his report card on the management of the country’s finances to Parliament and his job is done. The ball is with the government: it can either act or throw the whole report into the dustbin. Most of the time, the report will gather dust because the government is more interested in covering up its weaknesses and mistakes than to correct its many flaws.

From the time the late auditor-general Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin Zakaria created a storm over his audit report on the RM2.5 billion BMF loan scandal in the early 1980s, hardly any action had been taken to right the wrongs and bring the culprits to book. Instead of praising the fearless work of Ahmad Noordin, the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had only harsh words for the auditor-general for telling the bare truth.

Blatant wastage, endemic corruption and glaring mismanagement are the hallmarks of the government’s financial bookkeeping. Yet such serious abuses of public funds do not get urgent attention. It is as if fiscal mismanagement has become a part and parcel of the administration and nothing can be done about it. It is like a chronic disease that has become incurable.

Hence, when the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang released his 2012 audit report on the government’s financial management on Oct 1, it predictably created some noises. The news media, printed as well as online, went to town with all these juicy revelations, which surely do make good reading for all the ministries, government-linked companies and other institutions figured.

The litany of wastage and corruption is all too familiar: the Customs Department was caught wrong-footed when it paid some RM600,000 for shoes for its personnel that do not fit; equipment including firearms and handcuffs worth some RM1.33 million for the police force went missing; branded clocks costing more than RM3,000 each were bought by the Department of Broadcasting when the actual price is RM100 each; some RM2 billion was splashed to tighten security system in schools but it turned to be of dubious quality; a sewerage pipe project for the Sewerage Services Department costing RM81.45 million had ballooned to RM121.65 million because of delays; a senior officer claimed more than RM300,000 for an overseas trip when it should be worth only RM50,000… and the list goes on and on.

When the auditor-general presents his report to Parliament, it is the government that is in the dock. The government has to answer for all the financial abuses committed by the various ministries, departments, agencies and government-linked companies. All the money that had disappeared into the sinkholes is taxpayers’ money and not funds belonging to the prime minister and his ministers. If such gross wastage persists, there is very little hope that the country can make it to the list of developed nation.

The government cannot continue to be cynical, apathetic, or indifferent on all the yearly audit reports. It must collar the culprits and prosecute them without mercy. It must use the iron fist, instead of the velvet glove, to deal with errant officers. But, true to Malaysian style of politics, the Najib administration will not move a finger to weed out the crooks in its offices. Were all those who broke the law during the time of Ahmad Noordin charged? Unlikely.

…more
Milking the country dry
Phlip Rodrigues
October 7, 2013 – Hornbill Unleashed

15
Oct
13

Guide to mismanagement, waste and loss to govt coffers

All the newspapers and news portals carried the sinister and baleful shenanigans of those entrusted with the people’s money. It is an annual ritual, so to speak, where no holds are barred and the Auditor-General’s Report becomes the working guide to mismanagement, waste and loss to government coffers.

In his report released in October 2012, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang remarked: “I hope this report will form a basis for improving the weaknesses, strengthening efforts and enhancing accountability and integrity.”

Has anything changed? Zilch! Why are we getting the same litany of abuses year in and year out? The answer came from the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low in a written reply in Parliament last week.

He said THREE people were charged after investigations into cases that were highlighted in the AG’s Report of 2011.

Only three? What kind of “success rate” is that when hundreds of abuses involving millions of ringgit have been misused and abused by those in authority? What purpose does it serve when perpetrators get away scot-free? Those in authority consider themselves untouchable hence others continue to put their hands into the cookie jar at the expense of the people.

What kind of message is being sent to those who manage our funds?

Last year, the AG noted that 18 out of 23 specially bred horses bought by the National Sports Council (NSC) for equestrian and endurance contests failed to meet criteria set by the Federation Equestre Internationale. The horses – costing RM3.94 million – were also rejected because they were injured.

The same reports also noted that the NSC has used a big portion of funds allocated for the development of athletes for other purposes. Of the RM3.65 million allocated, RM2.25 million or 61.6% was used for advertising in the electronic and print media to promote the main sports. So, whose head has rolled for such a cock-up? Has anyone been punished for such complacency and smugness?

It’s business as usual and when transparency is demanded, the NSC gets into a cocoon and seeks solace by saying that accounts of the “Road to London” project had been presented to the board and there is no necessity to make it public.

Speaking after opening the National Conference of Internal Auditing, Low said the government will take measures to eradicate the presence of middlemen in business which caused unnecessary increase in the cost of doing business as they get a cut or commission while adding no value to the business.

“It’s an example of corruption which the government is greatly concerned,” he said.

This was echoed by the prime minister in San Francisco who vowed to make corruption a part of Malaysia’s past and not its future. But it is easier said than done.

It will be interesting to know how long it would take – if at all – to bring to book the Communications and Culture Ministry officer who spent a whopping RM303,813 on a four-day study trip to Geneva. The AG reported that even if the officer took a return first-class flight, stayed in the best hotels, wined and dined in fancy restaurants and was given allowances to shop for winter clothing, the final tab would have cost no more than RM50,000.

There’s more to it than what meets the eye. Surely government regulations require receipts for expenses. Were they verified? What about the approving financial officer? Shouldn’t his antennas have gone up seeing such a gigantic claim? Were false receipts presented to hike the expenses? If so, then it becomes proving falsified documents.

…more
One, two, three
R. Nadeswaran
6 October 2013 – the Sun Daily

07
Oct
13

Expensive scanner still in box after 3 years!

Super scanner
(Expensive scanner still in box after 3 years
– source: Auditor General’s Report 2012)

A4 scanner – RM14,670 each
A3 scanner – RM20,630 each
Clock – RM3,810 each
Building acoustic measuring system – RM597,330

How much can an A4 size scanner cost? Nowadays it is not so difficult to get an estimate. Just do a search online and you can get the ballpark price.

In the Auditor-General’s Report 2012 it is reported that RTM (under the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry) purchased three A4 scanners for RM14,670 each!! And this is despite the fact that RTM itself had estimated a price of only RM200 each. This means an increase of 7,235% from the estimated price!

It also need some bigger A3 scanners too which were estimated to cost RM1,000 each. RTM ended up buying 5 of these scanners at RM20,630 each!

RTM also bought 20 wall clocks. It estimated that each clock would cost RM100 – quite reasonable. But the successful supplier charged RM3,810 each! That is 38 times the estimated price and they happily went ahead to by these clocks at this exorbitant price. Hopefully the clocks are still working. Wonder what brand are these clocks.

A Building Acoustic Measuring System was estimated to cost RM100,000 but in the end RTM ended up purchasing a system more than 5 times the estimate at RM597,330!

What is worse is that some of these expensive items were found not being used even after 3 years! They were purchased in 2009. In 2012 items delivered but not used includes one of the expensive A4 scanners. The reason? They did not know that it was in the store! How about the super clocks? 6 of these were delivered in May 2010 and in 2012 they were still not in use!

…more
RTM’s super expensive scanners and clocks
October 6, 2013 – Wastage of Taxpayer Funds Report




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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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