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COA orders Occidental Mindoro to liquidate P49M cash advances

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) cited the failure of the provincial government of Occidental Mindoro to monitor the grant of cash advances to its officers and employees, resulting in unliquidated cash advances totaling P48.8 million.

“The failure of the accountable officers to return/refund the unliquidated cash advance exposes the government funds to the increased risks of possible loss and misuse,” COA stated in its 2018 annual audit report.

Section 5 of COA Circular No. 97-002 prescribes the periods for liquidation of cash advances, up to a maximum of 60 days, which is allotted for officers and employees engaged in official travel.

“Failure of the AO to liquidate his cash advance within the prescribed period shall constitute a valid cause for the withholding of his salary and the instruction of other sanctions as provided for in this Circular,” the report stated.

State auditors also flagged a portion of the cash advances, P34.73 million, which were allegedly granted to 23 accountable officers (AO) despite previous unsettled balances, contrary to law.

According to audit records, cash advances ranged from a measly P2,380 to up to P4.95 million.

Sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3 of the same circular prohibits the grant of cash advances to any officials or employees unless previous accounts have been settled, or a proper accounting is made.

Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 12, s. 2012 even states that an AO’s failure to properly render his accounts constitutes the administrative offense of Gross Neglect of Duty, punishable by dismissal.

COA ordered the Provincial Accountant to demand all AOs to settle their outstanding accounts, and Occidental Mindoro’s legal officer to enforce sanctions against those who fail to do so.