The Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 requires the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to conduct an annual risk assessment and periodic audits of agency charge card programs. OIG and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently conducted an audit to determine to what extent the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) implemented internal controls to ensure that its Bankcard Program is managed and maintained to prevent illegal, improper, and erroneous purchases and payments, as required.
OIG found that while S&T had internal controls in place to ensure it managed and maintained its Bankcard Program as required, it did not always adhere to DHS and internal purchase card policies and procedures. Of 421 purchase card transactions selected for review, OIG identified 394 transactions that did not have the required supporting documentation, separation of key transaction duties, approvals and other required signatures, or did not comply with other risk-based procedures.
According to S&T officials, these issues occurred due to shortfalls in program oversight and training, as well as outdated policy. As a result, OIG identified $63,213 in questionable costs associated with purchase card transactions for which S&T personnel could not provide supporting documentation.
Ultimately, OIG found an increased risk of loss and vulnerability to fraud. In addition, the watchdog said S&T has less assurance its internal controls are effective in mitigating the risk of fraud and inappropriate charge card practices.
OIG made four recommendations to improve S&T’s adherence to regulations and DHS policies and procedures for the Bankcard Program to ensure it is managed and maintained as required. S&T concurred and was able to argue that some of the work required to meet the recommendations has already been undertaken.
In addition, S&T will review all FY 2018 purchase card transactions and take appropriate action to resolve any transactions determined to have questionable costs by the end of February 2022.