Mileage Allowances: Officials in the Viewfinder of the ICAC
7 November 2013 - Le Matinal
Many officials abusing mileage allowance (mileage allowance). It is revealed that an investigation of the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) on the claim and reimbursement of travel expenses of employees on board their own vehicle for the purposes of their business.
The Anti-Corruption Commission emphasizes that those engaged in such a practice, that benefit from the money that does not belong to them, are at risk of prosecution under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PoCA).
" The area of refund of mileage allowance is prone to corrupt practices, such as abuse of office, bribery and conflict of interests, resulting in public officers pocketing government money to which they are not entitled," the report said.
" Hence abuses and malpractices in this area may involve a breach of Sections 4, 5, 7 and 13, amongst others, of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PoCA)" notes do we in the ICAC report on the claim and reimbursement of mileage allowances of civil servants. In 2012, reimbursement of mileage allowances cost Rs 145.6 million to the government. And from January to July 2013, Rs 87 million have been disbursed.
The findings of the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Commission on claims and reimbursements of mileage allowances in the Public Service show that some officials use and abuse of this benefit. "The claims far exceed the actual cost of travel," according to the statement made by the ICAC investigators.
" A desk review was conducted to understand existing provisions for the eligibility and refund of mileage allowance in the public sector. Site visits were conducted with a sample of four institutions (a Local Authority, a Parastatal body, a Ministry and a Department) and officers involved in the processing of claims were interviewed, "reads the report of the ICAC.
The Anti-Corruption Commission unveils the shenanigans of some officials to benefit from the highest standard allowance Rs 10.30/km. "In order to gain maximum benefit from the provisions of the Existing PRB Reports, refund of mileage for official traveling is kept Within the 800 km ranks at the higher rate of Rs 10.30 per km and Remaining works are scheduled for the Following month," said the report.
In some cases, claims are made even if there was no movement, said the ICAC. The Anti-Corruption Commission scratches the passage of Supervising Officers who put their signature on claim forms without checking the data. Worse, there exists, according to ICAC, complicity in some departments, facilitating the manipulation of figures.
" In certain public bodies, weak monitoring and supervision leads to unethical behaviour, poor compliance to systems, procedures and practices for processing claims for mileage allowance and refund of same, thus resulting in a perception of malpractices, abuse and corruption."
Completing a review of the current system for dealing with complaints, the Anti-Corruption Commission said note a lack of control over the exercise. " The study has established that one of the major shortcomings in the refund for mileage allowance is the lack of control in the processing of claims. Most of the malpractices are due to weak monitoring and supervision "
To remedy this situation, the ICAC recommends more stringent control by the Head of Departments. " Management should ensure that proper records are being kept in a timely manner. (Log books, movement books, notes of minutes, site visit reports, attendance book on site, etc). Management should also ensure that periodic reports in relation to field work, claims and payments for mileage are prepared and submitted to management for proper monitoring and control."