PA says the officer who submitted dubious receipts for reimbursement claims has quit last year

It was earlier reported that the Auditor-General Office (AGO) has questioned the People Association (PA) over 4 quotations whose contract value totaled $129,400 for the Chingay Parade 2017 event last year.

Apparently, PA needed to procure costumes and accessories for the Chingay Parade 2017 event and sent an officer overseas to purchase them.

But PA also posted Invitations to Quote for costumes and accessories in the government procurement system, GeBIZ, while concurrently obtaining quotations outside of GeBIZ from the overseas vendors not registered under GeBIZ.

PA subsequently posted “no award” notices in GeBIZ as it had awarded the contracts to the overseas vendors outside of GeBIZ instead. This was not allowed under the Government procurement procedures.

The officer then went overseas to make purchases amounting to S$142,200 and paid for them in cash or through a remittance agent. This officer subsequently claimed reimbursements using cash sales receipts and AGO found that some of these receipts submitted by the officer had tell-tale signs, which cast doubts on their authenticity.

“There were also tell-tale signs on some supporting documents submitted for reimbursement claims (by the officer) which indicated that they might not be authentic,” AGO said.

“Thus, there was no assurance that the amount of reimbursement claimed by the officer was the actual amount of cash that was paid by the officer to the overseas vendors,” AGO added, alluding to possible fraud.

And to add to the intrigue, although the officer was accompanied by at least one other staff during the sourcing and purchasing trips, AGO found that he had made two additional personal overseas trips at his own expense so as to make purchases, settle final payments for earlier purchases and obtain the dubious cash sales receipts.

“Allowing the officer to make purchases and payments unaccompanied by other staff exposed PA to the risks of duplicate and inflated claims,” AGO commented.

AGO also noted that other overseas purchases had been made for Chingay Parade since 2007. It advised PA to review all the past purchases too.

According to ST report today (18 Jul), PA said that the officer quit last year and that it would stop all overseas direct purchases by staff. PA also said it had reviewed past purchases and payments, and preliminary findings indicate that they were genuine.