Mon | Jan 18, 2021

AcGD rapped for not using $5m machine five years after purchase

Published:Thursday | January 14, 2021 | 12:27 AM

More than five years after the Accountant General’s Department (AcGD) spent $5 million to purchase a machine and software to print pensioners’ pay slips and life certificates, the agency has not derived any value for the money spent.

This is because the machine and software have not been used since 2015, but instead, the AcGD continues to spend significant amounts on outsourcing arrangements.

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis said that the AcGD acquired an auto seal pressure machine at a cost of $1.2 million for printing pensioners’ pay slips and life certificates in April 2015 to replace the service sourced externally.

The department also procured the accompanying software for $3.8 million.

However, five years later in 2020, the machine has still not been commissioned into use while the AcGD continued the outsourcing arrangements and paid approximately $37.42 million for the financial years 2016-17 to October 2020.

The auditor general reported that up to March 31, 2020, a formal agreement to protect the Government’s interest was not implemented, and there was no indication that the printery was selected based on competitive price quotations, further demonstrating that the AcGD failed to satisfy itself that it had chosen the most cost-effective option for printing services.

The extensive delay in commissioning the machine into use may result in the software becoming obsolete, Monroe Ellis noted, adding that the Government would not obtain any benefit from the expenditure incurred.

“It also indicates the unpreparedness of the AcGD to implement a system because of a lack of proper due diligence,” she added.

Since the audit, the AcGD has taken steps to formalise the printing arrangement. However, the process was not finalised.

The AcGD said that the current physical infrastructure of the department, which has changed since the purchase of the equipment, does not allow for the in-house printing and dispatching of life certificates. It said that alternative use of the equipment is being undertaken.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com