Thursday, September 27 16:41:56
The Report of the C and AG published today has uncovered a "litany of errors" by public bodies that will cost the State millions of euro, according the Dail Committee of Public Accounts.
As an example it quotes the case where the National pension fund was duped out of over E3 million: The oversight systems in place did not detect this payment and it was only uncovered by chance. Luckily the NPRF did get the money back.
The Report will be examined in detail over the coming months by the Committee as Accounting Officers and senior officials are called before it to account for the failings that have been outlined by the C and AG.
Chairman of the Committee John McGuinness, TD, said: "Once again, there has been a series of lapses by public bodies and ultimately it's the tax payer that is losing out".
He said he was especially concerned about the probation and welfare service in the Department of Justice and Equality, which is leasing a building that it cannot occupy, while the staff were housed in other buildings that were deemed unsafe and of a poor standard.
"We have incurred expenditure of over E2 million just because senior civil servants did not check the planning requirements before signing a lease."
The Committee also cites overpayments of salaries to teachers amounted to over E1 million. This should not happen with modern payroll systems and recipients of the fuel allowance that were overpaid E1.2 million.
"There are huge concerns over the way the rent supplement scheme operates. The State is distorting the market and also supplementing slum landlords. The C and AG has raised concerns about the efficiency of motor tax collection and of how funds such as the broadcasting fund are being monitored to ensure that they are making a real difference."
"What I have outlined above are just some of the headline issues that are in this Report. There are serious questions to be answered by public bodies such as Revenue and Social Protection as to how effective they are in the work they have been assigned to do. Limitations on computer systems are hampering Departments and after all the years of investment and advances in technology, one would question why this is so. Some of the decisions announced in the budget appear to cause endless problems in implementation. This should not be the case," said Mr McGuinness.
"I am disappointed at the range of findings in this Report because it shows that things are not getting better and that the reform process is not delivering when it comes to ensuring that tax payers' money is handled with probity and efficiency. And it is the tax payer that is the ultimate loser in this Report."