Contributor gets paid 22 years after death

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Samoa's National Provident Fund building.

Samoa's National Provident Fund building.

An audit of the National Provident Fund (N.P.F.) has uncovered a $2,350 payment to a contributor’s wife 22 years after his death.

And the payment went to a different woman and was not signed off by the wife of the deceased as per the N.P.F. policy. 

Details of the superannuation payment were revealed in an audit of the N.P.F. by the Controller and Chief Auditor, Fuimaono Camillo Afele, for the financial year ending June 30, 2014.

According to the audit report, the death benefit payment of $2,350 for a contributor – who passed away in August 1991 – was paid 22 years later in May 2014. However, other records on file show that one payment was also made in December 1981, 10 years before the death of the contributor. The Auditor stated in his report he was unable to verify whether the same payment was made twice, as the manually-done death benefit registration could not be located.

“Furthermore the wife's name of the deceased noted in the file is different from the one which the death benefit of $2350 was paid to. There is no written consent from the deceased’s wife to credit the money to that person. Recommendation for improvement is noted,” stated the audit report.

The audit report has recommended that a proposed policy amendment is submitted to the N.P.F. board for its consideration, for a timeframe of seven years to be applied to applications for death benefit payments. 

The breakdown in the control process of approving short-term loans also caught the eyes of the auditor. 

“Control breakdown included, the policy stated that the repayments could not be more than 30 per cent of the applicant’s net salary. However, it was noted that there were loans approved, where this was not complied with, no salary confirmation in loan file,” stated the report.

Applications for cyclone relief-loans also came under scrutiny with the auditor noticing that a loan application form was not signed and did not comply with provisions of the Investment Policy Section. This section catered for eligibility wherein the applicant had to submit a recent pay slip, bank statement and employer confirmation letter. It also catered for serviceability wherein repayment should not exceed 30 per cent of the net wage.

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