Multiple statutory boards by different Ministries are under fire from the latest Auditor General’s Office (AGO) report.
Here are the AGO findings release today:
1) Ministry of National Development’s NParks and the Garden By The Bay (S$1.06 billion value)
The AGO office found the National Parks Board (NParks), under the charge of National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, did not control the amount of variation orders and said:
“There was no assurances that NParks had not spent more funds than necessary”
One consultant was allowed to commence work of S$2.37 million value before approval and only that particular consultant was invited to bid for the tender. The NParks claimed that they are on a tight schedule which is why they allowed this to happen, however no evidence was produced.
S$20.77 million of consultancy services contracts were also awarded without a tender, also known as waiver of competition, to three companies without compelling reasons. NParks, again, claim it is due to a tight schedule but have no evidence to back up their claims.
On 43 occasions, the AGO found that only one single quote was obtained for various projects, no evidence was presented by NParks.
On 45 occasions, NParks approve work only completion.
On 12 occasions, no approval was given for 12 variation orders.
The Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan did not respond to this finding by the AGO.
2) Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) and the International Cruise Terminal (S$510.18 million value)
87.1% of the variation orders were not approved and the payment of the variations were S$340,000 higher than contractual rate.
3) Prime Minister Office’s National Population and Talent Division
Prices of two overseas event held in 2013 and 2014 totalling to S$1.51 million were not checked if they were reasonable. This is a repeated lapse which was first raised in the 2011/2012 AGO report.
S$1.47 million, or 60.7% of variation works for the 2013 event were not approved.
4) Ministry of Education’s Singapore Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE)
Singapore Polytechnic (SP) subleased a 7,189 metre square piece of land to SP Graduates’ Guild for S$12 a year since October 2000, when SP actually leased it from the Land Office for S$2.19 million for 30 years.
The school also failed to recover a significant amount of costs – about S$1.23 million from Jan 1, 2010 to Dec 31, 2014 – for the secondment of its a senior officer on its staff to a subsidiary, Singapore Polytechnic International (SPI).
Similarly at ITE, a 613 square metre piece of land was subleased at S$13 per square metre of monthly license fee, which is half of the market rate to ITE Education Services. 35% of the ITE invoices show underbilling, overbilling and late billing.