An audit of the financial transactions of the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (S.R.O.S.) in 2014-2015 has uncovered breaches of policy relating to alcohol purchase and parties.
A report from the Audit Office's comprehensive spot check on the organisation for the period July 1, 2014 –February 28, 2015 stated that the auditors came across a few transactions that involved the purchase of alcohol.
“This was during the Board's end of year function and one of the organisation's farewell parties. The funding of these activities from public monies are strictly prohibited under government policies, as stipulated in F.K. 08, and was further stressed in FK (92)50 and Cabinet Circular dated 27 November 2009, unless proper approval from the Cabinet is obtained,” the report stated.
The report also stated that the auditors found it inappropriate for the organisation to fund corporate tables, dinners and staff farewells from its budget.
The S.R.O.S. management, in response to the concerns highlighted by the auditors, said they noted the concerns and will advise the Board accordingly.
Furthermore, the auditors noted that it is considered reasonable to record that funds expended for the farewell party (including alcohol) were not from public monies or budget appropriations to the organisation, but from additional consultancy revenue generated by one of those who was given the farewell.
“Nevertheless, management will comply with the above-mentioned Cabinet directives for future official and social events involving the purchase and consumption of alcohol,” the report stated.
The auditors, during their checks, also found that the organisation purchased lace, wreaths and ribbons for staff relatives’ funerals.
“Payments of such nature are not allowed under F.K 13 (06) and so should not be funded by the organization. Management has noted the issue raised and will be addressed accordingly for future transactions. There were expenses that are considered inappropriate such as end of year functions, corporate tables, dinners and staff farewells being funded from the organisation’s budget.”
In response to the concerns highlighted by the audit checks, the organisation said
the funding of these activities should come from a staff social fund and not from public monies, as per government policies as stipulated in FK 08 Faapitoa (06), which was further emphasised in FK (92)50 and Cabinet Circular dated 27 November 2009.
“Management has noted the issues raised and will advise the Board accordingly.
“It is reasonable to note here that the expenses incurred on most corporate tables in the past were invitations from either private sector organisations in which S.R.O.S. is a subscribed member for work-related purposes (Chamber of Commerce) or colleges’ fund-raising activities, whereby one of the reasons for fund-raising include a science-related development project (construction/renovation of a science laboratory). Nevertheless, management will comply with the above-mentioned Cabinet directives going forward,” stated the report.