Diplomatic mission lacked proper safe

The Samoa Consulate General in American Samoa lacked a proper safe to keep cash over a four-year period. 

This was highlighted by an audit done by the Office Auditor report on Samoa’s overseas missions for the financial years ended 30 June 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. 

“Permits were not pre-numbered for proper accounting of these official properties. As a better practice, the use of a pre-numbering system for permits would ease the reconciliation of permits received by the Office and permits issued against revenues collected for better transparency and accounting,” the report stated. 

In response to the concerns of the audit report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (M.F.A.T.) indicated that a pre-numbering system was set up and used by the office for the issuing of permits and there would be a follow-up. 

The lack of petty cash on hand was another issue that was raised by the auditors. 

“There was no petty cash on hand as the Consular would use his personal funds to cater for petty expenses and would reimburse accordingly. 

This practice had defeated the purpose of the petty cash and Audit recommended that a proper petty cash be set up and operated as per normal Government procedures."

“It is also important to note that the office has been broken into before and the issue of keeping any cash in a safety box in the office was unsafe,” stated the audit report. 

But the M.F.A.T. in response to the concerns said that petty cash was fully utilised during the time of the audit. 

Furthermore, the accountability for the use of this fund is handled by the Consul General and all relevant processes are followed as per the normal practice, added the Ministry. 

The audit report recommended that all revenue collections should be properly stored in a secured strong safe to ensure safeguarding of all public funds says the report. 

The M.F.A.T. noted the office had tried to secure a strong safe. However, with the current practice in place, the mission did not see the need to procure a strong safe as the banking was done at the end of each day and proper records were kept.

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