By Nasik Swami
AN audit of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests by the Auditor-General in 2012 revealed that the ministry continued to pay remunerations to officers who had either resigned or retired.
The Auditor-General’s report noted that $13,341 was paid by the ministry to the officers resulting in the overpayment of salaries.
The report further stated that the overpayments of salaries resulted from the failure of the ministry to submit salary change advice on time to the Ministry of Finance.
“In addition, ineffective payroll reconciliation process also contributed to the overpayments of salaries,” the report noted.
In the report, the Auditor-General recommended the ministry address the delay in addressing salary change advice by effectively communicating and co-ordinating matters affecting payroll in a timely manner between the administration/stations and the accounts section.
The Auditor-General further recommended the ministry that where an overpayment was substantial, legal proceeding was an avenue that can be considered if other arrangements for recovery are not possible.
The audit also recommended the ministry strengthen its salary reconciliation process to minimise or avoid irregularities in the payments of salaries and wages and also assist in early detection of irregularities for immediate action.
In response, the ministry noted the findings as a great concern and said it was working on improvements to internal processes and internal communication in its corporate service division to avoid instance of overpayments to its retirees and resigning workers.