More than $500-million!

That’s the sum of money for which the National Solid Waste Management Authority, NSWMA, is unable to account for.

The figure is contained in the final internal audit report, dated April 2014.

Nationwide News has obtained a copy of the final audit report.

The final figure is less than the $875-million  reported in the draft audit.

But  it’s still a substantial sum that’s not been accounted for.

Local Government Minister Noel Arscott yesterday dismissed the findings of the draft Internal Audit report, first brought to the public’s attention by Nationwide News.

Well, Nationwide News has now obtained the final audit.

Like the draft, it’s dated April 2014.

The final audit contains responses from management to some of the findings.

The other main difference is the total sum for which payment vouchers, journal vouchers and bank transfer information are missing.

An appendix in the draft audit listed 3000 missing vouchers, totalling $875-million between April 2012 and March 2014.

That appendix is not included in the final audit.

The final document refers to over 2700 missing vouchers, in the amount of $564-million.

The discrepancy represents 405 payment vouchers between December and March 2014, as well as a significant sum in journal vouchers.

It’s not clear whether this batch of vouchers was located between the time of the draft and the time of the final audit.

In the final audit, the NSWMA’s Regional Operations Manager and Financial Accountant committed to providing the 2700 missing vouchers for inspection by June 30.

However, the management team noted that they were faced with major challenges, including high staff turnover and shortage of staff.

They said this delayed their progress in locating documents easily.

The management team also committed to recovering the sums that the audit found to have been overpaid to various entities.

A commitment was also given to training staff in proper procurement procedures.

Speaking yesterday at Jamaica House, Minister Arscott said he’s been told that a lot of the information requested has now been provided.

It’s not clear how often the NSWMA conducts internal audits.

However, the next audit should clarify whether the agency has finally been able to show paperwork for over half-a-billion dollars in public funds.

And the management of the NSWMA has responded to specific recommendations of the auditors in the final report.

In the report, the managers write that they’ve accepted the auditors recommendations, and taken steps to implement them.

In addition to finding thousands of missing vouchers, the management also promised to find over $8-million  of invoices for payments, and make them available to the auditors by June 30, 2014.

The audit had also pointed out an issue with the agency splitting costs, seemingly to circumvent the government’s procurement procedures.

In one instance, a $931,000 payment to Cornwall Auto Supplies was broken down into three separate purchase orders.

Cornwall was also paid $138, 000 for GCT, even though the order was zero-rated.

In response, the Financial Accountant says they’ve written to Cornwall requesting a refund, as well as a meeting to settle the amount.

Meanwhile, training in procurement was to begin on July 16, 2014, for all members of staff involved in the process.

As for employees who were overpaid for traveling and meal allowances, those monies were deducted from their salaries.

And, on the filing system, which the auditors said were loosely placed in disorganized boxes on the floor: the NSWMA Management said they were in the process of reorganizing the filing room, but pointed out that they were short on resources, including staff and space.

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