Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry staff have been misusing corporate credit cards, travelling without approval and improperly awarding multimillion-dollar contracts, including one last year that was deliberately split to avoid going to open tender.
The details have emerged from internal audit files that also show in the past three years there have been more than 392 breaches by the department of the Financial Management Act or its regulations.
Jodi Gatfield, a department spokeswoman, said three senior executives were investigated in 2009-10, not eight.
This is directly contradicted by a fraud report filled out by Edward Stanmore, the department's head of audit. This document, released under freedom of information, stated eight ''senior executives/managers'', each with more than nine years' tenure, had been the target of internal fraud investigations.
Consecutive internal audits of procurement identified systemic issues and warned of a need for ''substantial change in behaviour from those executing and approving procurement processes''. A 2009 audit file said there were ''high levels of non compliance'' in procurement, and the department might not be able to show ''that tenderers were treated fairly and consistently''. This was followed by a memo in June last year that cited ''widespread evidence'' of continued problems including ''inadequate procurement processes''.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/fraud-audit-finds-flaws-in-department 20110918-1kg2g.html#ixzz1YMwUsV6V
Fraud probe targets top bureaucrats
In November 2008 a legal services contract was extended for 12 months and included a decision to increase its annual value by 42 per cent to $2,817,072.00.
The department requires legal advice for variations worth more than $500,000 but ''this policy was not complied with'', and there were no documents to show the variation represented value for money.
Last year a troubling purchase related to a conference event was found, which was ''split into two parts even though the intention was to select a single provider''. This avoided an open tender.