Pingelap government still struggling with financial issues audit shows

By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
November 30, 2017
Pohnpei—Pohnpei’s Office of the Public Auditor has released the results of an audit to help the then new Mayor to determine the cash status of Pingelap as of September 30, 2016. The audit says that the total budgetary revenues available for the Pingelap Municipal Government (PMG) in fiscal year 2016 amounted to $124,232. The review found that as of September 30, 2016, Pingelap had approximately $12,943. The figure is approximate because management was unsure of the amount due to unreliable financial reporting, because of un-updated records and balances and lack of review and reconciliation of the Municipal books with the bank records.
OPA had previously been engaged to audit PMG financial and accounting activities for the period October 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014. But due to the lack of financial and accounting records, they declared PMG to be un-auditable at that time.
“PMG has made some progress and improvement in the management of its financial records,” the summary of the audit said. “Our auditors are now able to trace and verify financial transactions presented in the combined journal of deposits and cash disbursement.”
The auditors noted that there still is much room for improvement in the cash receipt and cash disbursement activities. They were still not making receipts for every cash payment received and accounts were not reviewed and reconciled in a timely fashion. Filing and retention of records was apparently still a problem. Issuance of checks was not always supported by documentary evidence to properly justify disbursements of funds.
It said that a detailed review of available cash receipts showed that $305 of the cash collections had not been deposited and that the Treasurer could not provide any explanation. It also said that auditors had found that one check had been erroneously processed through the bank twice incurring an unnecessary service charge of $25. Due to insufficient funds in the Municipality’s bank account the bank did not pay the amount of the check out again. Had the PMG been reconciling their bank accounts in a timely fashion they would have detected the error but they did not.
Auditors chalked up the difficulties to the Treasurer’s lack of training and also a lack of oversight by management. They recommended that PMG provide personnel with relevant training.
The audit also found that PMG has not taken corrective measures to fully resolve the findings and recommendations identified in the Management Letter dated June 29, 2015 when they found the government to be un-auditable.