HPB Finds 341,000 Unused Fitness Trackers Worth Over $5 Million
Government audits are there to ensure that agencies are running effectively and that there are no lapses especially when it comes to finances.
Unfortunately for several agencies, the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) flagged a number of lapses in its Annual Report for 2020/2021.
Among them was a lapse by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) involving unused fitness trackers worth over $5 million.
HPB had excess fitness trackers worth $5.39 million
AGO found excess fitness trackers from HPB that weren’t given out.
It said that the fitness trackers were bought for the National Steps Challenge seasons 1 to 5.
A test check by AGO revealed about 268,000 excess trackers.
Following this, HPB found about 341,000 excess trackers in total, worth $5.39 million.
These were unused and AGO said HPB’s processes weren’t enough to ensure the proper movement of trackers or that the stock was taken care of.
The trackers cost between $10.38 and $24.90, with the warranty expired for some of them since they were already there for more than 2 years.
HDB lapses included incorrect housing grants
The Housing Development Board was another agency flagged for lapses by AGO.
The lapses included:
- Housing grants given to 13 ineligible applicants
- Assessment of reasonable prices of single bids inadequate
- 40 possibly altered quotations
- Inadequate car park operations monitoring
- Unauthorised subletting of commercial premises
Regarding the 40 potentially falsified quotations, HDB said it has carried out an investigation and made a police report.
There were also lapses in HPB’s loyalty programme between Apr 2018 and Jun 2020.
They resulted in individuals managing to game the system and a total of $14,900 worth of health points were accumulated using accounts belonging to deceased people.
HPB has blocked the 594 accounts.
PA lapses included 34 possible falsifications of quotations
The People’s Association (PA) is another board where lapses were found.
- Contract management lapses
- 34 possible falsification of quotations
- Lapses and irregularities in the management of term contracts
- Critical tender requirements not explicitly incorporated into tenancy agreements
PA may also have paid more than necessary for some works done.
PA has completed investigations into the potentially falsified or altered quotations and lodged a police report.
It has also set up a task force to strengthen governance and term contract management processes, AGO noted.
HPB overestimated demand for trackers
HPB said on Thursday (22 Jul) that it has remedied the lapses and strengthened its processes.
An over-estimation in demand had led to too many fitness trackers ordered for past seasons.
It said it’ll be more conservative in projections for the next time the programme happens.
Processes must be strengthened to prevent lapses
For full details on the lapses, you can check the AGO report here.
The AGO report helps to strengthen processes and ensure that no irregularities or lapses occur.
As these are public boards, they have to be run efficiently so as to not waste public resources.
It’s rather concerning that some lapses have constituted potential criminal breaches. One always has to be responsible when it comes to public projects.
This includes making processes that can detect potential lapses.
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