24 October 2011

Audit Report - Price of binoculars zooms 28 times...

NONEThe Malaysian Marine Parks Department (JTLM) spent a whopping RM56,350 for a pair of night vision Marine binoculars, 28 times more than its market value of RM1,940, the Auditor-General’s report revealed.

The department paid the same amount for another pair of night vision Bushnell binoculars, 1,893 percent more than its actual price of RM2,827.

According to the report, it also overpaid RM38,470 and RM13,918 for a Colour Marine radar set costing RM8,255 and an LCD TV with DVD player costing RM16,100 and RM2,182 respectively.

“An audit found no evidence that JTLM performed the required market research. However, JTLM had a price estimation which the department is unable to verify its basis of calculation,” it said.

To add salt to injury, the department did not receive the overpriced items as in the agreement for its newly-built boat, which was contracted to Kejuruteraan Kapal Masai Sdn Bhd for designing, building, outfitting and testing at RM7.51 million.

For example, The overpriced RM16,100 LCD TV with DVD player was replaced with a RM195 Philips DVP3560K, while the overpriced RM56,350 night vision Marine binoculars was replaced with a RM1,069 Marine 137507 binoculars, without night vision.

Also, the boat’s outboard engine that was delivered was a two-stroke 15 horse power engine costing RM6,549 but the contract had specified a four-stroke 15 horse power engine which the report estimates to cost RM11,553.

This, it states, cost the government an estimated lost of RM114,912.

‘Lives of boat’s crew at risk’

The boat which was delivered also failed to adhere to the desired specifications, with its 1,000 litre water tank being downgraded to 600 litres.

Its emergency doors which should be accessible from both sides can only be opened on one side and the doors are attached with 18 screws.

“From a check by the auditors with the ship’s crew, it was found the time taken for the emergency door to be opened in the deck house is approximately 20 minutes. This increases the risk of loss of life of the crew if an emergency occurs,” says the report.

It further noted that the boat was not delivered by the contractors until 42 days later than the delivery date, which is subject to a fine of RM1,252.24 a day totaling RM52,594.08. However, only RM23,792.56 was collected, with the remaining RM28,801.52 being unaccounted for.

NONENSC found to be 'horsing around' with funds

Eighteen out of 23 specially bred horses bought by the National Sports Council (NSC) for equestrian and endurance contests failed to meet criteria set by the Federation Equestre Internationale.

These horses - costing RM3.94 million - were also rejected because they were injured.

The other five horses - named Edenfels Zephyr, Blue Bronco, Amira Alborada, Navidad, Brookleigh Kentara - were fit to be entered in the World Endurance Championship.

The selection was carried out by the World Endurance Championship directorate committee members, headed by the NSC director-general, and including a veterinarian, technical officer and project officer.

The 23 horses had cost RM5.66 million when bought in 2008 via direct negotiations that did not obtain the Finance Ministry’s approval, says the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report which was tabled today in the Dewan Rakyat.

They were bought from the:

• Equine Centre Sdn Bhd (six horses) at RM1.98 million
• El Ranco Country Club (13) at RM2.48 million
• Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (two) at RM0.58 million
• Toft Endurance Pty Ltd (two) at RM0.62 million

All 23 horses have since been 'assigned' to several government agencies:

- Police horse unit (three horses)
- Kuala Lumpur City Hall mounted unit (three)
- Army equestrian centre (two)
- Universiti Putra Malaysia (three)
- Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (two)
- Terengganu Sports Council (two)
- Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (eight)

More misdirected spending

The audit report also highlights that the NSC has used a big portion of funds allocated for the development of athletes for other purposes.

Of the RM3.65 allocated, RM2.25 million or 61.6 percent was used for advertising in the electronic and print media to promote the main sports.

“In our opinion, the NSC should use the grant for its main purpose of developing budding athletes and not for advertising,” states the report.


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