Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General - Press Release on the 1995 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Press Release on the 1995 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General

The Comptroller and Auditor Generals Report on the Appropriation Accounts for 1995 is a composite commentary on the results of his audit of the various Government Departments and Offices financial transactions for that year. The volume also contains the Appropriation Accounts themselves which show the years outturn against the moneys provided by Dáil ?reann for the range of services delivered by Government Departments and Offices.

Nowadays, the Report is only one of a range of reports published by the C&AG on matters concerning financial control and value-for-money across the wider public sector; nevertheless, it still constitutes the most important published output of the Office and serves as a basis for further examination by the Public Accounts Committee of the issues raised.

This Report contains material which is critical of Departments but also draws attention to matters of a financial nature which have a public interest. Attached is a quick reference guide to some of the more noteworthy items in the Report.

Reference Guide

Dept/Office

Taoiseach

  • Section 10 (see pages 12-15) Weakness in the procedures followed by the Department in distributing ?873,000 of grants to 37 local development projects.

Revenue

  • Section 17 (see page 20) The summary of tax outstanding under the various tax heads and the total estimate expected to be collected show that of the ?1,950m tax outstanding on the books, Revenue reckons that it will collect ?553m.
  • Section 21 (see pages 24-26)A Revenue audit disclosed underpaid taxes of ?490,000 and there was evidence to suggest that there had been fraudulent evasion of tax. However the case was not brought to Court due to delay in finalising the investigations. In the meantime, a bank who had a lien on the taxpayers property, disposed of it and apparently there are now no assets against which the tax debt can be satisfied
  • Section 22 (see pages 26-28) Revenue Audits
    • (a) While the audit of self assessed taxpayers revealed a high level of inadequate record keeping, no prosecutions have been taken for this offence.
    • (b) Doubt expressed whether the low level of penalties imposed by Revenue was a real deterrent against tax evasion
    • (c) No detailed study has been carried out to try to establish the indicative level of tax evasion.

Office of Public Works

  • Section 23 (see pages 29-32)The estimated ?10m cost for refurbishment of the Ship Street Section of Dublin Castle was exceeded by some ?2.4m. The overall management of the project left something to be desired.
  • Section 24 (see pages 32-33)Internal fraud to a value of ?177,000 was involved in the payment of property rents by the State.

Transport, Energy & Communications

  • Section 25 (see pages 33-36)The promotion of Shannon Airport by Shannon Airport Marketing overran its budget of ?1.8m by ?985,000 due to poor financial management.

Prisons

  • Section 27 (see pages 38-40) The new kitchen at Mountjoy Prison, substantially completed in September 1994 did not become operational until March 1996. The overall cost was ?2.8m.

Education

  • Section 29 (see pages 41-44) Irregularities of ?140,000 were discovered at two schools.
  • Section 31 (see page 45)Finalising the affairs of the former Carysfort Training College, who may owe the Department ?847,000, has been somewhat slow.

Marine

  • Section 32 (see pages 45-46)A computerised accounting system acquired in 1992 at a cost of ?36,000 has not been used and the manual system is still operational.
  • Section 33 (see pages 46-49)The Trout and Coarse Fisheries Development Societies, set up following the resolution of the Rod Licence dispute, have not operated successfully.

Agriculture, Food & Forestry

  • Section 35 (see pages 51-54)?825,000 was advanced in late December 1995 to 1,378 staff for overtime which generally was not worked until well into 1996. The overall control over this arrangement was unsatisfactory and, even by June 1996, 80 staff had worked less hours than the advances paid.
  • Section 38 (see pages 56-58)Some ?3.5m has been lost in EU moneys due to delays by the Department in making payments to farmers within the specified time limits.
  • Section 39 (see pages 58-60)EU in respect of export refunds to Iraq and Yemen as the EU was not satisfied with the documentation supplied by these countries.
  • Section 40 (see page 60)The Exchequer lost ?250,000 in interest due to a delay by the Department in making claims for refunds of EU moneys.

Equality & Law Reform

  • Section 41 (see pages 61-63)Details the estimated costs of ?3.5m. incurred in holding the Divorce Referendum.

Tourism & Trade

  • Sections 43 and 44 (see pages 64-65)Undue delay has arisen in recovering moneys due to the Department under the export credit insurance scheme.

Social Welfare

  • Section 45 (see pages 66-69)?16m of detected Social Welfare overpayments were recorded during 1995 while recoveries totalled ?6m. The Department attributed some ?11.5m of the detected overpayments to fraud or suspected fraud by claimants.
  • Section 46 (see page 69)Though ?26m was paid to dentists, opticians and doctors under the Treatment Benefit Scheme, tax clearance certificates were not sought before payments were made.
  • Sections 48 and 49 (see pages 71-74)The Equal Treatment Arrears are expected to cost ?289m. This includes ?429,000 which was overpaid and has yet to be recovered.

Health

  • Section 51 (see pages 76-77)Accounting for the ?60m compensation provided for Hepatitis C victims.

The contents of this page were last updated on 26/09/03