OIG: DHS May Not Have Detected Fraudulent or Wasteful Purchase and Travel Card Transactions

The Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 and OMB Memorandum M-13- 21, Implementation of the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act, require the Office of Inspector General to conduct periodic risk assessments of agency Purchase and Travel Card Programs. The audit objective was to determine whether DHS Purchase and Travel Card transactions for FY 2017 were appropriate and complied with relevant laws and regulations.

To help fulfill the audit responsibilities, OIG contracted with the independent public accounting firm of CohnReznick. Except for identified questioned costs, reported DHS Purchase and Travel Card transactions for FY 2017 were appropriate and complied with relevant laws and regulations. CohnReznick identified 17 control deficiencies within DHS Purchase and Travel Card Programs related to:

DHS Purchase Card Program

  • Maintenance of purchase documentation
  • Application of required procurement policies
  • Price reasonableness determinations, price quotes/competitive bids, required sourcing
  • Tax exemptions
  • Split purchases

DHS Travel Card Program

  • Maintenance of travel documentation
  • Allowability of transactions per regulations
  • Credit balance refunds
  • The prudent traveler standard
  • Improper use of a travel card

These deficiencies occurred because DHS did not always ensure compliance with internal controls for its Purchase and Travel Card Programs. As a result, DHS may not have detected potentially fraudulent or wasteful Purchase and Travel Card transactions. For FY 2017, OIG identified $43,508 in questioned costs out of $7.9 million in Purchase and Travel Card transactions tested (from a universe of $1.1 billion).

OIG made 12 recommendations which, when implemented, should ensure that Purchase and Travel Card transactions are appropriate and comply with relevant laws and regulations. The DHS Office of the Chief Financial Officer concurred with six of them.

Read the OIG report

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