The 2016 AGO Report: A Visual Summary

The Auditor-General’s Office issued its annual audit report on 26 July 2016, detailing instances of weak governance and inadequate financial controls in the Singapore Government in 61 pages.

This is a visual summary of the AGO’s report, for those who won’t have time to read 60+ pages of audit lingo. All data comes directly from the AGO report, but for full context and details, please read the AGO’s full report.

Download AGO report

By Teo Yu Siang

What does the AGO check?

The AGO checks for the proper accounting, management and use of public resources in Government ministries, organs of state, statutory boards and other entities.

It conducts 2 types of audits:

  1. financial statement audits: checks on financial statements of government entities to make sure they are true and fair
  2. selective audits: checks on selected activities for any irregularities and whether there has been excess, extravagance or gross inefficiency leading to waste

As audits are conducted on a test check basis, they do not reveal all irregularities and weaknesses, but should help uncover serious lapses.

At a glance

$32.6m

total public fund wastage uncovered by AGO

Sections of the AGO Report

Click to jump to the respective section.

Government ministries, organs of state and government funds:

Statutory boards:

Ministry of Defence

Failure to Provide CPF Contributions for Bonus Paid

$324k

required CPF contributions not paid

Investment Made Without Proper Approval and Evaluation

$50.3m

investment made without proper approval

Ministry of Education

Lapses in Monitoring and Enforcement of Scholarship Bonds

16 / 30 cases checked had no or late follow-up by universities

Tuition Fee Loans and Study Loans Due Not Promptly Recovered

33 / 58 loans in default checked had delayed recovery by banks

23 / 32 long outstanding loans checked were not promptly followed up by MOE

Such control weaknesses would adversely affect the recoverability of the loans and increase the risk of loss of public funds.

— 2016 AGO Report

Undue Delay in Review of Agency Fees

6 yrs

delay in reviewing agency fees

Over-contributions to Sinking Fund

$4.14m

over-contribution to NTU's sinking fund

The over-contributions would be perpetuated if they are not rectified.

— 2016 AGO Report

Inadequate Monitoring of Research Progress

$2.96m

grants disbursed even though reports have not been submitted

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Irregularities in Management of and Payments for Telco Services

$110k

in overpayment for telco services

18 / 26 invoices checked had unusual rates

$80k

Spent on mobile lines that were no longer needed

This series of lapses and weaknesses shows that MFA did not have a satisfactory system of managing the telecommunication services and the associated expenditure.

— 2016 AGO Report

Ministry of Home Affairs

Overpayment of Allowance to Volunteer Special Constabulary Officers

$2.63m

in overpayment of VSC allowances

30 / 30 payments checked had been overpaid

Ministry of Law

Lapses in Administration of Assets Received from Nursing Homes

82 / 82 records checked were not properly recorded

Without adequate controls and proper recording of the assets received, there was no assurance that assets held in trust by PTO were correctly accounted for.

— 2016 AGO Report

Weaknesses in Monitoring of Access to IT System

half of the IPTOBIS servers are not monitored

44

user accounts that are no longer required were not removed

The consequences could be serious as any unauthorised changes could affect the accuracy of the data used by MinLaw for its regulatory functions.

— 2016 AGO Report

Ministry of Manpower

Procured Computer System Not Used

$432k

worth of computer system was procured but never used

The DGS had been left unused since November 2014, for 1.5 years as at the time of audit. This has resulted in a waste of public funds.

— 2016 AGO Report

National Arts Council (under MCCY)

Lapses in Management of Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall Redevelopment Project

$410k

consultancy fee paid for a project costing $470k to construct

47 / 164 variations under 2 contracts were carried out before approval

AGO is of the view that the consultancy fee, at 87.2 per cent of the construction cost of $0.47 million for the bin centre, was exceptionally high.

— 2016 AGO Report

Nanyang Polytechnic (under MOE)

Proper Governance Framework Not in Place, Transactions with Subsidiary Not at Arm’s Length

$5.24m

funding provided to NYPi in excess of approved amounts

$3.14m

hidden subsidies NYP has provided to NYPi

$2.54m

donations from NYPi to NYP, which were tax deductible, made in lieu of interest

NYP’s practices reflect a disregard for financial controls and proper governance.

— 2016 AGO Report

Donations Raised for Unauthorised Purpose

$286k

donations solicited for unauthorised purpose

$430k

matching grants from MOE received for the same donation

Such irregular practices could also tarnish NYP’s reputation and erode the trust and confidence of donors and the public in NYP’s financial management.

— 2016 AGO Report

Lapses in Tendering and Management of Revenue Contracts

2 / 7 revenue contracts checked had lapses

$1.10m

worth of contracts with lapses in tendering and management

Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (under MinLaw)

Lapses in Procurement of Goods and Services

$1.57m

total contract value of purchases with lapses

6 / 33 purchases checked had lapses

AGO noted that the tender opening period of three days for the second stage of the tender was not reasonable, especially when there were new requirements in the refined specifications.

— 2016 AGO Report

Housing and Development Board (under MND)

Long Delays in Finalising Accounts of Contracts and Making Final Payments to Contractors

71 / 100 Certificates of Substantial Completion were issued late

74 / 94 sets of Final Accounts were issued late

44 / 71 final payments were made late

Delays in payment to contractors contravened contractual requirements and might be seen as an unfair business practice as it could affect the cash flows of the contractors.

— 2016 AGO Report

Inadequate Monitoring of Car Park Operations and Enforcement

113k

instances where vehicles were not charged parking fees in industrial estates

2.50k

instances where vehicles were not charged parking fees in residential estates

Land Transport Authority of Singapore (under MOT)

Weaknesses in Controls over Revenue Collection at Checkpoints

$13.9m

estimated under-collection of toll

AGO observed that the estimated under-collection of $13.93 million in toll represents 21.9 per cent of the total toll collected in that financial year.

— 2016 AGO Report

Undue Delay in Finalisation of Agreement with MRT Operator

6 yrs

delay in entering the LMA

$1.13m

outstanding property tax for the CCL stations, recovered only in Mar 2016

Without a formal agreement, there might be difficulty in enforcing the terms and conditions intended for the lease of the non-rail facilities.

— 2016 AGO Report

Civil Service College (under PMO)

Lapses in Administration of Course Fees

16.3% of bills were certified and issued late

33 / 55 delayed bills checked were due to staff oversight

AGO test-checked 55 bills ($363,889) with delays of more than 90 days in issuance of bills, to ascertain the reasons for the delays. AGO found that for 33 bills ($88,653), the delays were largely due to staff oversight and lack of coordination among CSC’s departments.

— 2016 AGO Report

Lapses in Administration of Trainer Fees

17.1% of payments were late

Yay!

You've (effectively) read 61 pages of the AGO report. Share this website so your friends can learn about the AGO report too!