By Desmond Ng
SINGAPORE - Don't waste food. That's what our parents always tell us. But now, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) has been rapped by the Auditor-General for letting food go down the drain.
The Auditor-General's annual report, which was released yesterday, noted that the ministry had inadequate controls over meal indents (orders) and the recording of meal consumption.
And test checks showed that there were 63 instances of excess meal orders.
This was covered up by the personnel managing the cookhouses or by servicemen who had falsified the meal consumption records.
The meal wastage resulted in about $22,000 worth of unnecessary expenditure.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) provides meals to servicemen in its camps.
The meals ordered and consumed are usually recorded at each camp to determine the payments to be made to the meal supply contractors, said the report.
The Auditor-General's Office had conducted an audit at two randomly selected SAF camps between June and August 2008.
Inadequate controls over meal orders and recording of meal consumption had allowed the irregularities to occur, said the report.
Board of inquiry
Following the findings, Mindef said a board of inquiry was formed, which identified gaps in the controls over meal orders and recording of consumption, the report said.
The board also recommended the enhancement of procedures to ensure accurate and prudent meal orders. The ministry said it has since conducted checks at the other SAF camps.
It has also taken disciplinary action against those involved in the falsification of records.
The Auditor-General releases a yearly report on accounting lapses found in the books of government agencies, organs of states and statutory boards.
His duties include reporting abuse, excesses, fraud, inefficiency, irregularities and wastage.
The report is also submitted to the President and presented to Parliament.
This article was first published in The New Paper.