Nearly 400 people who were deemed eligible to receive cash grants under the government’s CARE programme, have turned out to be ineligible.
This, after the Auditor General’s Department combed through the more than 400,000 applications.
The 11-page report from the Auditor General also shows that more than 3,000 applications were processed although they were submitted after the cut-off date.
The Auditor General says she’s satisfied that the controls by eGovJa were enough to prevent and detect unauthorised access and hazards to the CARE system servers.
She says the policies and procedures are effective and consistent with international best practices.
And she says access to sensitive facilities were appropriately restricted and only accessible to authorized personnel.
But the Auditor General notes, some anomalies in testing the CARE database of just over 402 thousand applications.
Almost 4 hundred applicants who were flagged as eligible, did not meet the established criteria.
More than 3 thousand applications were processed despite being submitted late.
And, 5 applicants were able to successfully submit for two different grants, even though this shouldn’t be allowed.
The Auditor General notes that at the time of the report which is dated April 2020, her team was unable to complete their checks as to whether the system actually restricted applications to Jamaican Internet Protocol, or IP addresses.
Mrs Munroe Ellis says the exceptions were immediately brought to the attention of eGovJa to investigate before payments were made to the individuals.
She says eGovJa later confirmed the findings and have put control measures in place. So how did those exceptions occur?
Users were identified by their Tax Registration Number, TRN and date of birth.
And minors were barred from applying.
But the TRN of a dead person of age, with an active bank account, could be used to qualify for a grant and contrary to the policy that an individual should access only one grant, 5 people were able to successfully apply for both the Companssionate grant and the SET cash grant.
The report quotes eGovJa as saying this was a rare case in an early version of the application, which has now been fixed.
A decision’s to be taken by the Finance Ministry as to which grant the applicant will be able to access.
Meanwhile, the findings also revealed a risk that some people who still have jobs may be able to benefit from the compassionate grant, if their employer was late in submitting their monthly and annual returns.
Those returns are used to determine whether an employee has been laid off.
Additionally, 394 applicants who the CARE system flagged as eligible,when checked against their Tax returns submission did not meet the criteria.
EGovJa says they were flagged as eligible based on the time that they were checked.
It says the system highlighted such applicants as a risk as there would have to be a cut off time to make payments.
The company says they’ve since decided to re-do the eligibility of the batch to ensure the proper status is reflected.