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By Giff Johnson For Variety

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (September 23, 2002 – Marianas Variety)---For the ninth year in a row, Marshall Islands embassies abroad are not accountable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in petty cash funds.

The Marshall Islands government-wide audit for 2001 reports that the six embassies did not provide required financial reports for $298,700 in petty cash funds.

The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu audit, issued last week to the Nitijela, the local legislature, criticized the "lack of formal rules and regulations governing the reconciliation of petty cash impress funds."

The audit said there are "inadequate controls over petty cash and bank reconciliation’s," which could result in "misappropriation" — theft — of money, and the misstatement of cash balances.

The money involved includes:

• Washington Embassy, $50,000 • Fiji Embassy, $19,700 • Tokyo Embassy, $100,000 • U.N. Embassy, $50,000 • Taipei Embassy, $40,000 • China Embassy, $39,000

The audit noted that the China Embassy was closed in 1999 but the balance is still recorded in the Ministry of Finance’s general ledger.

The lack of bank reconciliation’s for petty cash funds for Marshall Islands embassies is a problem that has been identified in every annual audit since 1993.

As in previous years, the Ministry of Finance said that it agreed with the finding and would formulate a set of accounting guidelines for overseas embassies.

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/ Marianas Variety.

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