COA also flagged over ₱12.3-M unliquidated cash advances

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 30) — State auditors have questioned their own colleagues at the Commission on Audit Central Office over unliquidated cash advances amounting to over ₱12.3 million.

The independent audit led by COA Director Pearl Ramos found that 99% of the agency’s cash advances for foreign and local travel remained unliquidated as of end 2020.

“Interview with the accounting staff disclosed that a memo was sent to respective accountable officers regarding their outstanding cash advances, but still some cash advances remain unliquidated as of Dec. 31, 2020,” the report reads.

According to the report, some COA officials also failed refund excess cash advances on time.

Auditors also observed that 42 additional cash advances amounting to over ₱13.6 million were granted to officers and employees despite the non-liquidation of their previous advances.

They recommended that management follow existing rules on the granting and utilization of cash advances.

“Require from officials and employees a certification from the accountant that their previous cash advances have been liquidated and accounted for prior to granting another cash advance,” auditors said.

In its reply, COA management said over ₱11.3 million cash advances for foreign and local travel were liquidated by April 2021.

Overstocking of office supplies

The audit report also flagged the COA’s supposed continuous overstocking of office supplies amounting to over ₱9 million.

Based on the report, the purchases consist mostly of IT supplies such as toners and ink cartridges.

Auditors said COA failed to monitor stock availability as many of these items remain unused.

“The recurring practice of bulk purchasing and overstocking demonstrated the lack of meticulous and judicious procurement planning of office supplies requirements...resulting in significant wastage of government resources through obsolescence,” auditors said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier vowed to audit COA should he be elected as vice president next year. In his weekly address last week, Duterte claimed that he was a “victim” of COA’s reports.

However, Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said it’s not the vice president’s job to conduct an audit on agencies.