Ministry’s $23,000 netball sponsorship queried

Auditors have expressed concerns at a $23,000 sponsorship that the Ministry of Health made to the Samoa Netball Association in 2014.

The sponsorship was made under the auspices of the Samoa Health Partnership Project. 

The sponsorship payment was revealed in a report that the Office of the Auditor presented to the Parliament. The report stated there was an agreement for the recipient of the sponsorship to provide acquittal reports to the sponsor, and furnish any other type of report requested that would show how the money is spent. 

“However there were no reports submitted for verification. We recommend following up and obtaining acquittal reports as stipulated under the agreement. It is also recommended to review these agreements and arrangements. The agreement was signed between the association and the Ministry of Health."

“The M.O.H. would liaise with the Netball Association to obtain records of the acquittal. The Ministry noted to improve on the monitoring and follow up of such arrangements in future,” stated the report.  

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Another issue raised by the auditors is that a general ledger account in Finance One was used for 18 different Australia-funded projects including the Health Partnership Project. 

“All transactions of the 18 projects were posted into this one account. The Ministry of Finance should create separate accounts for separate projects. This should simplify reconciliations. The partnership program funded by Australia is implemented by various agencies and ministries. 

“In an effort to consolidate reporting for this particular program, from the start was the rationale behind the setup of an individual project code, as well as single project bank account set up with Central Bank of Samoa,” the report added. 

The auditor further noted the need for the Ministry to continue monitoring the implementation of the program and utilisation of funds under the program to completion, and will ensure annual audit of each project under the partnership program is done to help simplify verification and reporting purposes. 

Another issue highlighted by the auditors were two cheques valued at $7,360 each that were paid out to two separate suppliers, yet these two separate suppliers was the same person. 

The project unit was reminded to be more cautious in preparation of payments and to properly reconcile records. The Ministry of health at the time said it will liaise with the payee to arrange for the recovery of $7,360 paid. 

The Ministry of Finance’s recommendation is to ensure proper reconciliations of funds withdrawal are enhanced and updated. Proper checking is also highly recommended to confirm the accurate balance of the project’s funding.

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