Several issues identified in COVID-19 compliance audit of NDMA

The COVID-19 compliance audit conducted on National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has identified several issues in the COVID-19 expenditure undertaken by the authority.

The audit report of NDMA for the expenses undertaken by the authority between January 1 and June 30 have been published by the Auditor General’s Office. The report states NDMA had spent USD 15.2 million for COVID-19 response and relief efforts, leaving USD 46.9 million in the budget after deducting the expenses. The expenses undertaken by the authority include the expenses for transport, food and medical consumables as well as expenses on medical, quarantine and isolation facilities.

The audit report revealed several issues in the expenditure undertaken by NDMA. As such, the report highlighted irregularities in paying accommodation facilities arranged in the Greater Male’ Region, such as the lack of signed agreements with some facilities and paying in excess of the agreed rate. The report also highlighted incomplete documentation and inconsistencies in settling the food expenses of facilities.

Furthermore, the audit revealed a proper record of all items received under grant assistance had not been maintained, while some of the ordered items had been recorded as received without confirming its arrival. The report also highlighted the property and items purchased by NDMA or received as aid had not been properly registered and accounted for, in accordance to regulations. The report added some items had also been purchased at a rate which exceeded the market rate, including items for which the government had set a price control.

One of the main issues highlighted in the report was the establishment of Hulhumale’ Medical Facility in a plot which was not owned by the government. The report revealed the facility was established in a private plot which had been mortgaged by the owner under a loan agreement.

The Auditor General’s Office has advised NDMA to rectify the issues identified in the compliance audit. The Auditor General’s Office also instructed NDMA to request Ministry of Economic Development to take action against businesses which sold items above the price cap set by the government. NDMA has also been instructed to undertake expenses for a specific purpose using a special budget code allocated for that purpose in the public accounting system and to register all property purchased by the authority in accordance to regulations.

With regards to the issue of the plot used for Hulhumale’ Medical Facility, the Auditor General’s Office has instructed NDMA to formulate a plan for future use of the plot and the building.