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FINDINGS BY INDEPENDENT AUDITORS

COA flagged for own irregularities, too

/ 05:42 AM August 28, 2021

Government auditors have flagged their own colleagues at the Commission on Audit (COA) for irregularities in the implementation of a P59.097-million training center in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), three smaller projects that did not comply with procurement rules, unliquidated cash advances and office supply overstocking.

The audit body released its 2020 annual audit report on Friday, the day after President Duterte questioned who audited the constitutional commission and suggested that he could audit government agencies, as well as himself, if he becomes Vice President.

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Independent auditors, led by Director IV Pearl Ramos, transmitted the audit report to Michael Aguinaldo, the COA chair, on June 9, before Mr. Duterte claimed that state auditors were destroying the government through their reports on irregularities in various agencies.

Just like audit reports on other government agencies, the audit team also advised the COA to submit a status report on the actions taken on the findings and recommendations made within 60 days.

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The audit team noted that the government may have lost P3.38 million in unrecouped fees paid to a contractor in charge of a regional training center and dormitory building in CAR worth P59.097 million.

The contractor unilaterally terminated the contract in September 2020 due to its inability to continue with the project, which was supposed to have been completed by May 2020.

But the COA regional office in the Cordillera has yet to recover the P3.38 million in mobilization and retention fees paid to the contractor. The audit team advised the regional office to recover the P3.38 million by issuing a demand letter, negotiating with the contractor or filing a legal complaint.

State auditors also called out three infrastructure projects of the agency, which did not comply with Republic Act No. 9184, or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

This is because the three projects incurred delays in the procurement process and exceeded the 141-day limit on procurement for projects worth P50 million and below.

These projects are the construction of waste water treatment worth P8.7 million, additional works at an extension building worth P2.9 million, and installation of generator sets and electrical wiring worth P5.9 million.

The procurement process for the three projects took 213-328 days to complete, which also delayed the issuance of the contracts and the notice to proceed.

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In addition, four infrastructure projects worth P20.5 million were still ongoing as of December 2020 even if these should have been completed before the end of the year.

The COA central office was also cited for P12.38 million in cash advances for local and foreign travels, which were not liquidated on time, and P13.62 million in cash advances granted to employees.

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TAGS: Auditing, car, COA, unliquidated
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