The 2018 COA Audit Reports: Baras treasurer has over P0.6-M in undeposited cash collections
posted 29-Jul-2019  ·  
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An audit of the collections and frequency of deposits made by the municipal treasurer of Baras town in 2018 showed that the collections were not deposited intact, with the undeposited cash increasing to over P600,000 by mid-March 2019.

The Commission on Audit said in its report that the undeposited collections in 2018 reached as much as P675,483.56 in April and had a balance of P449,533.13 still technically in the possession of the local treasurer.

“To emphasize the degree of omission, the Cash in Treasury account for the three funds had increased by P172,939 or 38.47% of the balance of P622,472 representing undeposited collections as of March 21, 2019,” the report stated.

“It was very evident that the huge monthly balances in the possession of the Municipal Treasurer indicated an established practice of maintaining material cash balances held monthly until the end of the year and beyond,” the COA revealed. “This circumstances indicated irregularity on the part of the Municipal Treasurer who, having been in the position for quite number of years, should know that all collections shall be deposited intact with the authorized depository bank daily or not later than the next banking day.”

Retaining material amount of collections in the custody of the Municipal treasurer for long period had exposed government funds to risk of loss, misuse or misappropriation, it added.

A cash examination conducted on the cash and accounts of the treasurer initially indicated an incident of cash shortage but the exact figure would be known upon completion of the audit, the report stressed.

Aside from recommending that the local chief executive require that the treasurer comply with the law, the COA also suggested that the mayor direct the official to explain in writing why she should not be penalized for the irregular practice.

In a comment, the treasurer alleged that her cashbook was lost, making it difficult for her to come up with an accurate amount of her accountabilities.

But the supervising auditor as well as the audit team leader explained to the chief executive that the balance of undeposited collection was huge and the treasurer must deposit immediately the amount.

The municipal treasurer eventually accepted her shortcomings and promised to settle her obligations soonest, the report said.

The audit also found out that the number of job order personnel posted an average of 65 per month or 120% higher than the total number of regular employees.

The JOs were assigned to various offices, with the Office of the Mayor (15), Sangguniang Bayan (11) and Municipal Health Office (6) having the highest number. The LGU also provided 23 other JOs to the COMELEC (2) and Liga ng mga Barangay (2) and assigned 19 others to various elementary schools, day care centers and barangays, with the latter raising doubt on whether their functions were related to the LGU’s mandate or not.

Interviews with concerned personnel disclosed that the Human Resource Management Officer had no actual participation in the selection of Job Order personnel to be hired but complied only with recommendations from the municipal officials, with some even submitting already-filled-out JO agreements.

Likewise, there was no set of criteria based on qualifications standards that provided in determining wages, merit and fitness to the job were not considered during hiring, and the officials determined the rate of the JOs recommended to be hired/rehired.

Services rendered by some JOs did not cover intermittent jobs that required special or technical skills, with the JOs performing functions similar to regular personnel, while several of them were hired for the same functions resulting in duplication of work.

“While the LGU had the discretion to directly hire JOs to perform specific jobs and/or supplement manpower, the employment should be limited to the actual need of the office,” the COA pointed out. “And in no case should JOs be made to perform functions of existing regular employees.”

Among the other significant findings of the audit team in Baras included: low real property tax collection efficiency of just 16%, resulting in failure to collect P1.54 million in additional taxes; non-completion of 17 infrastructure projects leaving unutilized appropriation of P5.91 million; failure to close the controlled dumpsite and to prepare a closure and rehabilitation plan; payments of salaries not supported with DTR and Application for Leave; 17 regular employees receiving take-home pay of less than P5,000; advance payment of monthly salaries in advance, which would result in full payment of salaries of employees who were either on leave without pay, AWOL, or absences and tardiness among personnel during the month without penalty since they were already paid fully of salaries;

    Charging of travel expenses and registration fees of SB members while pursuing Master’s degree; low utilization of 70% Disaster Mitigation Fund; non-liquidation of cash advances within the stipulated period; and, failure to submit financial reports to COA within the required period.

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