PG’s Office expenditure on trips violate finance regulations

Prosecutor General, Aishath Bisham. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

The Prosecutor General’s Office’s spending on advance money for its official trips violate the finance regulations, reveals the audit done on the office for 2018.

The Auditor General’s Office released the 2018 audit on the PG’s Office this Wednesday.

The audit report refers to a letter sent by the PG’s Office to Finance Ministry on January 22, 2015 requesting permission to withdraw MVR 120,000 in cash for travel expenditure.

At the time, the Finance Ministry had increased the petty cash to PG’s Office from MVR 10,000 to MVR 60,000 and instructed the office to spend for its travels using the petty cash.

The audit shows the PG’s Office had continued to withdraw cash for travel advances outside the petty cash up until April 22, 2019.

The audit refers to article 6.24 (b) of the finance regulations which establishes that the written permission from Finance Ministry is necessary for an advance for any expense.

The PG’s Office did not take the necessary permission from Finance Ministry for its travel advances.

“This is a violation of the finance regulations,” noted the AG’s Office in its audit.

The Auditor General has instructed the PG’s Office to adhere to the finance regulations and obtain written permission from Finance Ministry of travel advances.

An additional discrepancy found in the audit was in the payments for projects outsourced by the PG’s Office. Finance regulations require payments to third parties to be made after deducting retention money. The audit found that some of the third parties to which PG’s Office outsources its work were paid without deducting the retention money.

The finance regulation establishes the retention rate as 5 percent for contracts between MVR 250,000 to MVR 2.5 million. And that the retention money must be paid six months later.

The PG’s Office spent MVR 1.84 million for four procurement projects, but did not deduct the MVR 92,019 which should have been withheld as retention.

The Auditor General noted that it could lead to difficulties in remedying any issue which may arise with the subcontracted work, and instructed the PG’s Office to make its payments for outsourced work in accordance with the finance regulations.