Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

ONPA Releases Audit Report on Pohnpei State Department of Education Procurement Activities

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): June 7, 2010 - The Office of the National Public Auditor (ONPA) releases today the Audit of Pohnpei State Department of Education Procurement Activities (Audit Report No. 2010-05).

This audit focused on the Pohnpei DOE's inventory management, textbook procurement, and budgeting processes during fiscal years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The objectives of the audit were to determine whether Pohnpei DOE adequately safeguarded its assets, provided a sufficient number of textbooks to the schools in a timely manner, and gave each school a fair share of the funds budgeted for operating supplies and fixed assets.

The results of the audit reveal that continued improvement in the areas of centralized management and oversight are needed. The audit revealed that inventory management controls are not operating as designed, the Department did not adhere to its Textbook Procurement Plan, and there is no assurance that each school gets a fair and equitable share of funding.

In the present condition, the Department does not adequately safeguard its assets nor are its inventory records accurate. Audit tests revealed that listed assets such as laptop computers are missing. In conducting its last physical inventory, the Department did not complete the process. Approximately 28% of assets were not inspected to verify that the Department still had possession of the assets and the results of the physical inventory were not reconciled with the existing inventory listing to produce an updated and accurate inventory listing. In its current state, the existing inventory listing is not accurate.

To protect against the loss of assets that are vulnerable to theft and misplacement such as laptops, DOE designed a Loan Agreement Form which is meant to hold staff accountable when they are given laptops to use. However, no one makes sure the form is completed when assets are assigned, that the completed forms are retained, or that assets are returned when an employee resigns or retires. At least one employee did not return a laptop when he resigned. An additional 14 laptops could not be accounted for.

Similarly, limited oversight and monitoring occurred in the area of textbook procurement. A timeline for purchasing textbooks was developed and a Textbook Accountability Committee (TAC) formed. However, books were not ordered in accordance with the timeline. As a result, some grades were missing the required math, science, and social studies books. Grades 1 - 3 do not have science books and grade three is also missing social studies books. Grades 5 - 8 did not have math books until February 2010, even the Department's Textbook Procurement Plan stated that the math books should have been ordered in November 2007.

The report also discusses the lack of a 'per school' budget allocation and tracking system for Other Consumable Expenses (all expenses that aren't related to salary, travel, fixed assets, or contracts) and Fixed Asset budget expenditures. As a result, there is no assurance that each school gets a fair and equitable share of the funds. Because there is no system to allot and track funds on a per school basis, the schools cannot prioritize and budget for needed supplies with any assurance that the purchases will be made. This condition was reported in a 2006 Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General Report. DOE reports that it has developed a budgeting and reporting system for School Improvement Plan (SIP) funds and that it will replicate the system for other areas such as OCE.

The report included several recommendations centering on the need for better training, monitoring, and information sharing. The Department agreed with the findings and recommendations presented in the audit report and reported that it is developing policies and procedures to address the weaknesses identified by the audit.

Soft copy of the report is available for public review online at www.fsmopa.fm and hard copies are available at the ONPA's offices in Palikir, Pohnpei and Weno, Chuuk. The audit was conducted in accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.


For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356
e-mail: fsmpio@mail.fm
http://www.fsmpio.fm/