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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (November 11, 1999 – The Marshall Islands Journal)---The Marshall Islands Development Bank (MIDB) operated at loss of more than $600,000 in fiscal year 1997, according to the latest report of the RMI Auditor General.

It shows that MIDB’s net loss for the year increased by almost $200,000 from 1996 to 1997.

Of a total of $21,460,242 in loans and interest due to the bank, more than 70 percent is considered uncollectable ("doubtful loans" in auditor’s language). The audit reported that just $6,016,159 of this total is considered collectable.

Overall, "bad debts" increased by more than $230,000 from 1996 to 1997, to a total of $1.2 million in FY97, the audit said.

It also noted that employees of MIDB had loans outstanding in 1997 of $377,485 and board members of the bank had loans of $90,630 outstanding.

In terms of MIDB’s use of Compact funds, the audit reported that there were no instances of noncompliance," nor any reportable conditions regarding internal controls.

The audit did, however, identify several areas needing attention, including:

The audit said this was a finding pointed out in fiscal years 1994 through 1996. MIDB replied that a review of loans will be conducted on a quarterly basis.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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