The Ministry of Police spent close to half a million tala on vehicle maintenance and hire in 2013-2014.
The expenditure was highlighted in an audit report of the Ministry of Police by the Audit Office. The audit covered the financial year 2013-2014.
According to the audit, the Ministry spent $293,330.35 over that 12-month period on vehicle repair and maintenance, with the funding going towards the purchase of new parts such as gear boxes.
The audit also noted that 64 per cent of the vehicles underwent servicing for over five years (car models 2010-2013) and others were serviced above the normal three-month service policy.
The Ministry also incurred vehicle hire cost totaling $174,400 which hire trucks were used as backup, when official vehicles were not working.
“Repairs and maintenance of vehicles is scheduled three months due to utilisation of vehicle at all times the services are crucial as performance management resource. Actual spending on vehicle hire increased by 84 per cent compared to the previous financial year and subsequently going over budget,” stated the audit.
The audit noted that in the 2012-2013 financial year, the Ministry had four accidents involving police-owned vehicles that were used for “private purposes”, resulting in a bill of $42,000 to the Government.
A high number of vehicles are also written off every financial year. The high costs associated with vehicle maintenance were reflected in a number of irregularity reports, relating to ministry vehicles that were damaged during official police activities or operations.
High maintenance costs and the deteriorating condition of vehicles often lead to them being written off, according to the audit.
The audit also noted that in the 2012-2013 financial year, a cheque of $30,000 received from the Ministry’s insurance, was not receipted on Finance One. This funding was then used to purchase another vehicle, without complying with formal procurement processes.
The audit also noted that Cabinet approved the purchase of a new truck to be used by Tafaigata Prison, due to the safety and condition of the old truck.
“The audit noted that the old truck was still in use by the Correction Unit for its operations but is not recorded in the register,” the report added.