Auditors eye health workers’ overtime

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital located at Moto'otua.

Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital located at Moto'otua. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

The Auditors have expressed concern at the “out-of-control situation in the management of overtime hours” at the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.).

The Audit reports for Financial Years 2014-2015 expressed concern as it noticed a significant increase in payment of salary of a particular employee which was raised in previous audits.  

Another issue addressed by the auditors were missing receipt books, which made it difficult for the Ministry to be held to account. Assets procured within the audited period were also not registered in the Fixed Asset Register.

“The M.O.H. responded that despite the approval of the position of senior assets management officer, Ministry of Finance was not able to fund the position so the accounts unit is continuing the responsibility of assets management." 

“The Unit is still finding it a challenge to update assets register regularly due to time factor but have incorporated into their work plans the need to complete this exercise consistently. The issue of missing receipts from a receipt book was also raised in the previous audit,” the Audit Reports stated.

The issue of missing receipt books is now being investigated by the Ministry of Finance (M.O.F.) according to the Audit Report.

“The Ministry should review its procedures for safeguarding receipts with the aim of strengthening controls to prevent a recurrence of this issue. It is also requested to keep the audit updated on the outcome of the Irregularity Report and Investigation." 

“The M.O.H. had not received results of the investigation at the date of the audit. Internal Controls to ensure receipting is processed properly and correctly are in place. Moreover, Accounts personnel have been assigned to specific tasks to ensure there is segregation of duties as well as reassuring checks and balance procedures are at play,” stated the Audit Report. 

In relation to overtime, the auditors emphasised that the practice is a major concern, especially in relation to the health of an employee, who is being overworked and is in breach of Public Service Commission (P.S.C.) regulations. 

The Ministry had received P.S.C. approval of new staff for Port Health Unit, however, MOF could not fund any new positions for Financial Year 2016/2017 despite negotiations.

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