$275k payment paid to security service at GBR, no documentation and engagement evidence: OAG report


Office of the Auditor General has uncovered no documentation and engagement evidence of a $275,000 payment paid to a security service engaged at Guadalcanal Beach Resort (GBR) in 2020.

That is according to the audit report on procurement relating to COVID-19 Disaster relief fund by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) released this week by the Office of the Auditor General.

“Company A was engaged to provide security services at the Guadalcanal Beach Resort (GBR) from March 24, 2020. The first month’s payment was made via imprest account and the second month’s payment was included in Office of the Auditor General’s test sample.

“The payment for 24 April to 24 May was for $90,000. A letter in the transaction documentation indicated that the Camp Management committee had entered into a contract with Company B from 24 May 2020. 

“There is no documentation to indicate that any form of competitive process was used to engage company B or that any contract existed before 24 May 2020.There is a bid waiver request dated 15 June and approved by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services on 16 June, but not by the Accountant General as required by Finance Memo 479/5/1 of 26 February 2016,” OAG report stated.

The report stressed, regarding company B there is no evidence of a competitive process for this engagement nor does any sort of due diligence appear to have been carried out.

“This contract transitioned into a longer-term engagement and Ministry of Health and Medical Services paid another $185,000 for the next two months of services through the Ministry of Finance and Treasury payments systems without further competitive tendering,” the OAG report says.

The Controller of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) when receiving an invoice from Company B for the services provided up to 24 May, 2020, he had to query Camp Management if they had actually provided these services. A Purchase Requisition was eventually signed for the April-May services on 29 June 2020 and the account was paid from the Imprest Account on the same day, the report stated.

“There is no documentation on the original decision to engage Company B. There were no approvals of any kind in advance of the engagement. There is no evidence of any due diligence regarding Company B. There is no documentation of the services they provided – no time sheets, no guards names; no sign off sheets by camp supervisors.

By the time the Permanent Secretary of the MHMS approved the Bid Waiver (procurement in state of emergency), the deal had been done, the services had apparently been provided and the account had to be paid,” OAG report said.

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