Audit report issued for DPS motor vehicle and records divisions
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Territorial Audit Office (TAO) made five specific recommendations for the Police Commissioner to implement following unannounced cash audits in February of the Public Safety Department’s Office of Motor Vehicle (OMV) — located in Tafuna — and the Records Division, located at the DPS headquarters in Fagatogo.
According to TAO, the audit was to determine whether the OMV and Records Division: complied with policies and procedures on cash collections and whether those policies and procedures were adequate; cash receipts transactions were complete, accurate, adequately documented, recorded and deposited timely and intact; and physical safeguard of cash, checks and unused receipts maintained.
Citing figures from the OMV office manager, TAO audit report says that last year’s OMV collection amounted to more than $1.33 million or a monthly average of $111,500. OMV is designated to administer and monitor cash collections of vehicle registration fees, driver licenses permit, inspections of vehicles and vehicle weights.
OMG has two scheduled cashiers assigned for the day during regular business operations, with the first shift from 7:30a.m. to 12noon. At the end of the shift the cashier totals all cash collections for the day that will also include the end of shift collections from previous day’s second shift. Paperwork is then prepared for timely daily deposits to ASG Treasury Revenue Division.
The second shift runs from 12noon to 4p.m. with instruction to date all incoming cash collections receipts for the next day to follow the process — as explained — in the first shift, according to TAO, which conducted the OMV audit on Feb. 2nd this year.
For the Record Division, which was audited Feb. 3rd this year, it monitors cash collection of public safety services such as employment clearances, fingerprints testing, traffic violations records, clearance for visa application, USA Job Corps clearances and other private business requirements.
No information was cited in the TAO audit as to how much was collected by Records Division last year but it does say that cash collection must follow ASG Cash Receipts Policy Manual, which states that “all deposits should be made daily” and “All cash deposited daily and intact”.
TAO audit report cited only one finding for the OMV and that is the “lack of physical safeguards on cash collection and unused receipts”.
“Based on our observation”, TAO said it “found out that cash collections from the previous day’s second shift were kept in the Supervisor’s desk drawer unsecured and could easily be opened by another employee in the office.”
“Furthermore, we found that the unused cash receipts were kept in a metal cabinet drawer that has a lock,” according TAO and points to provision of the ASG Cash Receipts Policy Manual, which states in part that, during the day “all cash collections will be kept in locked drawers, cash boxes or cash registers.”
And if a safe is available, all cash kept overnight will be placed in the safe and key to the cash register and/or safe is kept on the person or in a secured drawer.
TAO recommends OMV to follow their own internal controls for cash policies and procures including safeguarding cash collections and unused receipts during operations.
RECORDS DIVISION FINDINGS
For the Records Division, the TAO audit report cited four specific findings, which includes “untimely deposit of daily cash collections”. TAO reviewed cash collection receipts sequences ranged from Feb. 1st to Feb. 3rd, 2021. TAO cited a provision of the ASG Receipts Policy Manual that states, “All deposits should be made daily and intact - no cash should be retained or expended”.
TAO recommend to the Supervisor of the Records Division to follow the ASG Cash Treasury Manual guidelines in performing daily deposits without exceptions.
Another finding is the “cash count overage” of $5 and TAO said the cashiers couldn’t determine the reason.
Based on interviews with staff members, TAO said the Records Division does not have an approved change fund from ASG Treasury, and the “cashiers have no choice at times, but to use their own personal cash to provide change to the public when necessary.”
TAO recommends the Police Commissioner to have the Records Division submit a formal request for a change fund from ASG Treasury to be utilized as needed for business operations.
In its audit, TAO also fund that Records Division does not have any departmental cash collection policies and procedures. Additionally, the entire staff has not seen the ASG Treasury Cash Policy Manual or Treasury’s Cash Procedures Memo signed by former Treasury, Ueligitone Tonumaipe’a.
“This may have caused some confusion at the handling of the cash by almost everyone at the office,” said TAO and recommends that the Police Commissioner work in conjunction with ASG Treasury to establish and implement this division’s own written policies and procedures for cash collection.
TAO suggested that Records Division could mirror OMV’s own cash procedures already in place and apply only what is specific and necessary for their division.
Also found by TAO is that the Records Division uses “a cash box to secure daily cash collection with no lock” and has no safe or vault to safeguard cash.
“At the end of the day of each shift, we were told by staff that the daily cash collections were kept in a drawer with previous day’s collections, to be deposited as scheduled,” said TAO, and cited ASG Cash Receipt Manual that all daily cash collections will be kept in locked drawers, cash boxes or cash register.
TAO recommended that DPS procure a safe, vault or a locked cash to ensure funds on hand and unused receipt booklets are safeguarded to strengthen control and accountability of cash collection.
TAO also recommends the installation of a Point of Sale (POS) system to streamline the cash collection process”. And the system “will instantly account for revenues received and will default each transaction to the right revenue account and summarizes all its transactions on a daily basis.”
The final TAO finding is that there is “no segregation of duties” among the cashiers at the Records Division. Based on interview conducted, TAO said “we found that three employees with cashier duties share the responsibility together serving the public and collecting cash.
While this could be a good effort in helping to move the line forward, TAO said it also poses a problem of cash accountability at the end of the day.
“We found out that there was no segregation of duties amongst the staff,” said TAO and cited provisions of the ASG Treasury Cash Policy Manual which states in part that “cash handling duties should be segregated from recording and reconciling duties.” It explains that the person who collects cash and issues receipts should not be responsible for reconciling daily receipts or preparing a daily cash deposit.
“Similarly, the person who makes the deposit should not be responsible for reconciling daily receipts and preparing the deposit,” it says, noting that the number of persons handling the cash should be kept to a minimum to ensure accountability”.
TAO recommends that the Police Commissioner “keep the number of persons handling the cash to a minimal.”
“It’s our recommendation to assign one cashier and one assistant to alternate in carrying out cashiering duties,” TAO recommends. “This will limit the access to cash by staffs that are not directly performing cash handling duties.”
TAO held an exit meeting on Mar. 24th with the Police Commissioner, deputy police commissioner for administration and operations and the finance manager to present the audit report, its findings and recommendations.
Under local law, the audited agency — in this case DPS — is required to submit a response to TAO within 15-days after receipt of the proposed findings before the audit report is made final and published.
However, TAO said there were no written comments provided by the DPS finance manger.