Auditor question MWTI unaccounted assets/purchase of 40+ computers in one day

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The Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure assets valued at $3.68 million, as indicated on its financial system; however some assets are unaccounted for.

This is outlined in a letter to the former Chief Executive Officer Magele Hoe Viali, endorsed by Controller and Auditor General, Fuimaono Camillo Afele.

The letter dated 21 February 2022 was obtained by Radio Polynesia.

The Auditor also cited the purchase of more than 40 computers by the Ministry, costing close to $200,000 from one company, with transactions completed in one day. 

This included four laptops costing $17,204 purchased by the former Chief Executive Officer in June last year for his office, from Greenology Consult. 

Magele told Radio Polynesia, the procurement process for the computers was “all cleared by the Audit Office and Ministry of Finance as these capital items have all been paid for.”

“All were procured using the three quotes system and it was accepted by MoF and the Audit Office given [the] Government cheque issued by MOF was made.

These were supplied in April or May 2021,” explained Magele. 

Radio Polynesia made efforts to get a comment from the Greenology Consult via email.

Regarding the Auditor’s letter, Magele said it came three days after his contract was canceled on 18 February 2022 and that was his last day in office.

Copies of the letter were sent to Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Olo Fiti Vaai.

The Auditor-General in his letter pointed to their “Real-Time Audit of the Ministry” conducted in September last year.

“Our real-time audit findings with the understanding that we will follow up on these issues at our next audit visit throughout 2022.

“We have yet to receive a response from the Ministry,” said Fuimaono at that time.

The Auditor’s findings cited expenditures totaling $172,825 for 45 computers purchased from Greenology Consult on 30 June 2021.

According to the expenditure sheet, there were 10 computers purchased to replace old computers, in the amount of $43,519.45; and four dell laptops for four Assistant CEO’s for $22,080.

The report further says that six laptops were purchased for CEO’s Secretary and other staff amounting to $17,204.

There were 24 additional computers in the amount of $78,027 were purchased to replace “unreliable aging computers” as per IT evaluations.

On top of the computers, the Auditor’s findings say the Greenology Consult was noted as one of the “highest spending of $14,285 for the Ministry’s Annual subscription for Emisoft cloud.”

Regarding the fixed assets, the Auditor pointed out the Ministry’s assets valued at $3.68 million that are registered on the Assets and Finance system but some assets are unaccounted for.

“As stated by the responsible officer they do not have to keep a manual register of assets instead they used the Finance one register to reconcile their assets annually.

“As per discussions with the Assets Officer, they perform assets counts regularly, however, no recorded or written reports were submitted for verification.

“The non-reconciliation with the system will result in variances and will be hard to accurately very and correct by the Corporate Services because of the lapse of time.”

Based on their interviews, the Auditors confirmed from the Assets Officers the older assets that do not exist anymore but are still active on the Asset Register Module can cause an overstatement of Assets for the Ministry.

The Auditor noted the ministry is likely to face the challenge of not being able to identify old assets of the Ministry as the Auditors found that some assets are active yet are not found in the Ministry’s locations.

Follow-up questions to Magele regarding the fixed assets cited by the Auditors were not answered.