NAO highlights “serious concerns” in Gozo road works Directorate
|Email item||Print item||
A Report has been presented by the Auditor General, Charles Deguara, to the Speaker of the House, the National Audit Office (NAO) Report on ‘Maintaining and Repairing the Arterial and Distributor Road Network in Gozo.’
The NAO said these roads fall under the responsibility of the Directorate for Projects and Development (DPD) within the Ministry for Gozo.
It noted that the audit team’s review yielded “significant concerns” especially on the Directorate’s “overall lack of good governance in the scoped areas.”
Among others, that NAO said, were that “the procurement related files forwarded by the Directorate featured, to different extents, missing documentation,” which the Audit Office they considered as “pivotal.”
The NAO said that from the review, it further concluded that DPD “does not consistently ascertain that contractual and performance safeguards are in place in managing road-related projects, thereby exposing itself to evitable and obvious risks.”
The NAO explained that the DPD, for its assigned function, is allocated with an annual capital financial sum averaging €1.5 million, apart from other funds intended to cover other related, yet substantial, recurrent expenses, mainly personal emoluments.
This Office observed that, “while the annual financial capital allocation may not be sufficient for the Directorate to fully address its road-related responsibilities, it allows significant inefficiencies to prevail in the human resource element which is assigned to this function.”
Specifically, the NAO reported that while DPD said that its staff complement was “considered sufficient in terms of quantity, even if several of these workers lacked significant skills for the job, the Department nonetheless effectively continued to substantially increase this workforce.”
The NAO also reported that during the audit, “reports that information was reaching the team itself inconsistently, and either in a piecemeal fashion or altogether significantly and impractically late.”
It was acknowledged by the NAO that the separate, albeit related, ongoing police investigations on the Directorate, “may have presented some difficulties for the audited entity.”
The NAO concluded by saying that it was its considered opinion that “most of the problems and challenges faced by the audit team would not have materialised if the audited entity was clearer in its replies and approached this audit exercise more proficiently.”
The full Report, is available for download here.