Justice Ministry Urged to Tighten Audit Controls by Audit Office

Audit Office Identifies Financial Irregularities at Justice Ministry

In a recent report, the Audit Office has called attention to several financial irregularities within the Justice Ministry, urging the development of a more robust internal audit system. The report, which scrutinized the ministry’s financial transactions for the fiscal year 2022, highlighted weaknesses in compliance with relevant laws and regulations, particularly in the handling of receipts and payments.

The government watchdog expressed concerns over the disbursement of down payments for initiatives under the National Mechanism for Women’s Rights, noting that these were made without proper documentation of actual expenditures. The Audit Office is now recommending legal action against recipients of these funds, including possible deductions from future state grants.

One alarming finding was that certain invoices lacked essential details such as the supplier’s name or address, yet were still processed. Additionally, there were instances where the dates of receipt were missing on invoices submitted by beneficiaries. These lapses in documentation raise questions about the ministry’s oversight and financial accountability.

The report also touched on operational issues, such as parole supervisors being overburdened with caseloads, potentially impacting their performance. To address this, a maximum number of parolees per supervisor has been suggested. Moreover, the Audit Office flagged the use of a building without a final certificate of approval as a criminal offense, implicating both the building’s owner and the justice ministry as tenants.

Within the fire service department, there is a lack of dedicated personnel to review invoices before payments are made, a task currently performed by a senior fire officer. This could lead to inefficiencies and errors in financial management.

Concerning prison finances, the report uncovered a discrepancy between individual inmate account totals and the amount reported to the state treasury. This issue has been unresolved since 2015 and is particularly troubling given past abuses of these accounts. Additionally, overpayments to two retired prison guards were identified, with efforts to rectify the situation ongoing.

The police force was not included in this report as it was subject to a separate review published in November 2023. As the Justice Ministry works to address these findings, stakeholders are encouraged to follow updates and developments closely.

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