Capitol’s P65M cash in bank ‘doubtful’

By: Gerome Dalipe

State auditors doubt the veracity of the Iloilo Provincial Government’s cash in bank amounting to P65.19-million as of Dec. 31, 2018.

This, after the Provincial Treasurer’s Office (PTO) and the Provincial Engineer’s Office (PEO) failed to forward disbursement vouchers and letters of credit for the purchase of equipment, respectively.

Thus, adjusting entries for cash reconciling items were not drawn, delaying the preparation of bank reconciliation statements.

“There should be proper monitoring and control of all transactions affecting government funds. It is the primary responsibility (of a provincial treasurer) to ensure that all government funds and transactions are accounted and documented,” read the COA report.

Sect. 74 of Presidential Decree 1445 (Government Auditing Code of the Philippines) requires local government units (LGUs) to reconcile the balance shown in the reports of depositories and the balance found in the books of the agency.

Likewise, Sec. 3.0 of COA Circular 96-011 mandates the local accountant in 10 days from receipt of the bank statements to reconcile the general ledgers.

A verification of the Capitol’s bank reconciliation statement showed that all the Province’s bank accounts were filed only on March 8, 2019.

The Capitol representative said there is an on-going reconciliation of the Province’s General Fund Proper.

Based on a review of the Capitol’s bank accounts, the reconciling items totaling P65,199,114.35 includes P53,211,682.40 and P11,987,431.95 reconciling items for 2018, and 2017, respectively.

The provincial accountant told auditors that they already requested credit memoranda and debit memoranda from the Landbank of the Philippines, but had yet to receive reply.

About P19.8-million in debit memoranda was due to the letter of credit for the purchase of heavy equipment.

But the provincial treasurer and the provincial engineer have yet to submit the supporting documents, thus understating the equipment account and overstating the cash in the bank account, the auditors said.

“It appeared that the Provincial Treasurer’s Office was not able to implement the audit recommendation to strictly comply with their duties and responsibilities to promptly forward to the Accounting Office paid vouchers or payrolls together with its supporting documents,” read COA’s annual audit report on Iloilo in 2018.

Likewise, the treasurer’s office has not reconciled its cashbooks with the accounting records, thus copies of debit or credit memoranda were not requested on time from the concerned banks, thus increasing the reconciling items.

“The accumulation of the unidentified debit and credit memoranda and unbooked disbursements exhibited laxity and disregard of these functions, which posed risk of possible loss or unauthorized disbursements of government funds,” the auditors said.

In the report, the auditors asked the governor to direct the provincial accountant to regularly prepare and draw adjusting valid entries.

The provincial treasurer is also urged to locate the supporting documents for reconciling items since 1995 and request for a possible write-off of affected accounts or transactions.

The auditors also asked the provincial treasurer to submit a monthly report of disbursement vouchers to the accounting office for timely recording of cashbooks’ balances with the subsidiary ledgers.