Sunday, September 30, 2007

Highlights from the AG’s reports - The Star

EVERY year, when a new Auditor-General's report is published, the mismanagement of funds and irregularities highlighted in previous reports are forgotten amid fresh outcry for accountability of public funds. Sunday Star looks at some of the “old” cases that made news.


1. Extra expenses: Selangor incurred an additional RM21mil in expenses for the delay in constructing two slaughterhouses. The original cost to build the two slaughterhouses was RM8mil.

2. More repairs needed: Despite RM65.51mil spent on construction costs and a delay of two years, the Gelami Lemi Fresh Water Fishery Research Centre in Jelebu, Negri Sembilan, had to undergo further repairs. The contractor, did not follow specifications, resulting in poor construction.


3. Deals Gone Bad: Three water privatisation deals caused the Sabah state government to be saddled with debts of RM888.08mil.

4. Out of order: The RMAF said it was unable to repair flight simulators for the Hawk and F/A-18 jet fighters in Butterworth because of a lack of funds. This was despite it signing a RM50.3mil contract covering training, hardware and maintenance with a private company in 1988 and extended to April 2005.

5. Complex under-utilised: The RM25mil International Sea Sports Complex in Labuan was left unutilised for nearly two years since it started operations in June 2001. In 2003 and 2004, only 51 activities including the Labuan International Sea Challenge, Labuan Arts Festival, Aidilfitri Open House, and government-department and private functions were conducted at the complex.

6. Delays increase cost: Delays in building four district police headquarters (IPD) plus quarters in Raub, Gua Musang, Kerian and Perak Tengah caused the Government to suffer at least RM5.85mil in losses.


7. Way above market price: The Government paid up to 36% above the market price for certain medicines used in public hospitals and clinics despite sourcing them through open tenders. Although 140 contracts worth RM425mil were awarded through open tenders between 2001 and 2003, 83 contracts worth RM283mil went to one supplier while the rest were distributed among 11 others.


8. Below par pool: The so-called international-sized pool at the RM45.5 million Darul Ehsan Aquatic Centre fell short of the required measurements set by the swimming world's governing body, Fina. The length of the aquatic centre's pool is less than 50m, the standard for an Olympic-sized pool.


9. Expensive tailoring: A total of RM3.02mil was paid to alter uniforms at the Armed Forces between 1997 and June 1999. The alteration fees for the 11th Royal Malay Regiment at Semenggo Camp, Sarawak, was RM31 per uniform while for the 15th Royal Malay Regiment Sri Miri Camp, it was RM68. At the Sungei Besi air force base, it was only 70 sen.


10. Expensive Door: Yayasan Melaka, a foundation fully-owned by the state government to provide scholarship for poor students, purchased a door for RM25,000, toilet and floor mats worth RM11,000 and 25 designer briefcases worth RM38,750 among many others without calling for tenders or supporting quotations. Altogether, the foundation was found to have breached financial procedures in spending a total of RM639,423.

11. No letter for RM1.6bil in loans: Two loans totalling RM1.6bil were given to Perwaja Terengganu Sdn Bhd in 1997 and 1998 in which no letter of agreement was signed between the company and the Government.

12. Failure to check account: The Defence Ministry failed to monitor an account which paid for the purchase of military equipment from the United States, resulting in a discrepancy amounting to US$32mil (RM121.6mil). As there was no monitoring done, about US$66.7mil (RM253.5mil) was withdrawn from the account although the equipment supplied was worth only US$34.7mil (RM131.9mil).


13. Poor revenue management: The Immigration Department in Damansara Town Centre did not bank in 4,680 bank drafts worth RM32mil in 1997. They were not cashed within the bank draft's validity period of three to six months. Of the amount, only 1,757 bank drafts worth RM14.97mil were recovered from those who issued the drafts.

14. Medical tools lying idle: Audit checks found 55 pieces of medical equipment worth RM1.41mil lying idle in government hospitals and dental clinics. The equipment included two operating microscopes each worth RM49,950 in Muar and Kangar Hospital, both unused for more than 19 months.


15. Fund for disaster victims abused: The Malacca state used money from an emergency fund meant for flood and fire victims for the purchase of five Mercedes Benz cars for state executive councillors, a RM279,250 on an official car for the Malacca governor's wife, a RM271,500 car for the Chief Minister and a Proton Perdana costing RM60,644. Other purchases included RM13,160 for a computer table and RM13,300 for two chairs. Altogether RM10.18 million for 29 expenses was drawn from the emergency fund in 1995.


16. Exorbitant seminar: The Melaka state government paid RM194,204 for a political party seminar. The Chief Minister's Office paid for the purchase of fountain pens as souvenirs for the delegates and organisation costs totalling RM168,394. Another RM25,810 was for a dinner for seminar delegates. The government also undertook three purchases involving RM216,084 without calling for tenders in 1993. They include the purchase of 1,434 food packets costing RM81,594. – Compiled by RASHVINJEET S.BEDI