SINGAPORE: Lapses in the administration of grants, schemes and programmes, as well as instances of weak management of resources which resulted in wastage, were highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report for the Financial Year 2013/14, released on Thursday (July 17).

After a few years in which the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) focused on procurement-related issues, it said it “consciously shifted” the emphasis for this year’s audit to other areas to give the public sector time to enhance their procurement systems.

This year’s report – submitted by Auditor-General Willie Tan Yoke Meng to President Tony Tan Keng Yam on July 1 and presented to Parliament on Tuesday – highlighted the following areas for public sector entities to pay greater attention to:

– Administration of grants and commitment of public funds (4 serious observations cited)
– Administration of schemes and programmes (7)
– Management of land and assets (4)
– Procurement (8)
– Other lapses (8)

Among the ministries and statutory boards cited were the Ministry of Defence, Central Provident Fund Board, National Library Board, Media Development Agency and National Parks Board.

“The irregularities and weaknesses reported do not necessarily reflect the general state of administration in the entities audited but serve as pointers to areas where improvements should be made in the accounting, use and management of public funds and resources,” the AGO said.

It added that the audits are conducted on a test check basis and therefore may not reveal all irregularities and lapses.

In its audit, the AGO conducts test checks for financial irregularity, excess, extravagance or gross inefficiency leading to waste for Government ministries, organs of state and Government funds. It also takes into account complaints received on the use and management of public funds and resources.

Statutory boards are audited on rotation, at least once every five to seven years. For FY2013/14, 10 statutory boards were selected for audit, including the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority, National Heritage Board and Singapore Totalisator Board. Ad hoc checks were also conducted on other statutory boards upon complaints or as follow-ups from past audit observations.

The financial statements of five Government-owned companies were also audited: GIC, GIC Asset Management, GIC Real Estate, GIC Special Investments and MND Holdings.

– CNA/es

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