The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to return P3.001 billion in an unauthorized bank account to the national treasury.
In the course of an audit of PS-DBM for the period January to December 2021, COA discovered the money held by the agency in a high-yield savings account at the Development Bank of the Philippines.
State auditors said the bank account was created more than five years ago and officials at PS-DBM were unable to specify the source of the funds.
COA recommended that PS-DBM instruct the head of its Treasury Division to close the account and remit immediately the balance of P3 billion to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).
“It is not in PS’s mandate to make investments and it has no authority to invest in high-yield savings account,” the commission said.
“The practice of investing cash in a high-yield savings account, therefore, deviates from its mandate of procurement of [common use supplies and equipment] which requires the utilization of funds.”
COA released the above findings in a Management Letter that it published on its website on July 18.
The auditor said that as of June 23, 2021, PS-DBM had still not submitted its financial statements for the calendar year 2021. COA was therefore unable to express an opinion on the financial statements of the agency, and prepared a Management Letter in lieu of an Annual Audit Report.
The commission said that deficiencies observed in the course of the audit had been communicated and discussed with PS-DBM's officials and employees during an exit conference on June 21.
This was not the first time that COA had questioned PS-DBM for maintaining a high-yield savings account. The commission had previously called the procurement office out in 2020 over such an account at the Land Bank of the Philippines.
PS-DBM was also recently questioned over "pricey" and "outdated" laptops that it procured for the Department of Education (DepEd), valued at P2.4 billion. COA had identified the irregularity in its annual audit of DepEd.
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