Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) – State auditors questioned their own Commission colleagues about the central audit office on unliquidated cash advances amounting to more than € 12.3 million.
The independent audit led by COA director Pearl Ramos found that 99% of the agency’s cash advances for overseas and on-site travel were still outstanding at the end of 2020.
“An interview with accounting staff revealed that a note had been sent to the respective managers regarding their outstanding cash advances, but some cash advances were still not cleared as of December 31, 2020,” the report said.
According to the report, some COA officials also failed to repay excess cash advances on time.
The auditors also noted that 42 additional cash advances in an amount exceeding 13.6 million euros were granted to managers and employees despite the non-liquidation of their previous advances.
They recommended that management follow existing rules on the granting and use of cash advances.
“Require from officials and employees a certificate from the accountant stating that their previous cash advances have been liquidated and accounted for before granting another cash advance,” the auditors said.
In its response, COA management said more than 11.3 million yen in cash advances for overseas and local travel had been cleared by April 2021.
Overstock of office supplies
The audit report also noted the COA’s alleged continued overstocking of office supplies, amounting to more than 9 million yen.
According to the report, the purchases consist mainly of computer supplies such as toners and ink cartridges.
Auditors said the COA failed to monitor inventory availability as many of these items remain unused.
“The recurring practice of wholesale purchasing and overstocking has demonstrated the lack of meticulous and judicious planning of office supply purchases… resulting in significant waste of government resources through obsolescence,” the auditors said.
President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier promised to audit the COA if he was elected vice president next year. In his weekly address last week, Duterte claimed he was a “victim” of COA reports.
However, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday that it was not the Vice President’s job to conduct an agency audit.