600 Words Were Written About Grass-Cutting Overpayments By MINDEF In AGO Report

To be fair, this was a dry auditing report that no one should have the misfortune of reading.

But since it’s our job, we’ve done the digesting for you and here’s all you need to know about the dirt our Auditor-General dug up this year.

First of all, let’s get right into the case of MINDEF’s mysterious grass-cutting overpayments.

MINDEF overpaid grass-cutters monthly for 6 years

A grass-cutting contract “for a camp” revealed “overpayments of grass-cutting fees” over a period of 6 years.

The overpaid amount was 27% of the total payment of $700,000 — which resulted in $200,000 extra to a presumably happy grass-cutting contractor.

Apparently, AGO uncovered that these monthly payments were repeated and undetected by these parties over 6 years:

  • MINDEF’s facilities management agent (FMA)
  • MINDEF’s contract manager
  • Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA)

The flow of checking usually goes like so:

FMA verifies services rendered and the amount claimed. DSTA checks FMA’s report before paying the contractor.

AGO’s report stated that the “repeated failures” to detect the errors made by the contractor “cast doubts on whether FMA and DSTA” had carried out their duties with due diligence.

What happens now?

MINDEF has rectified the situation following an audit with an “on-site verification”, and found that the grass-cutting contractor really did “overstate the areas in the past”.

DSTA will be imposing “contractual penalties on the contractor” and on FMA for not conducting proper checks.

Verification of “cleaning services and shrub trimming” charges will be completed by July 2018.

And MINDEF has promised to prevent “the recurrence of such overpayments” by enhancing the “contract management processes”.

A more secure grass-cutting payment experience for all

We think the winners in this case are definitely the lucky grass-cutting company that got away with an extra $200,000.

Hopefully, this 6-year lapse, won’t soon happen again, with MINDEF’s new measures.

Or trimming lawns in government agencies, could be way more profitable than we thought.

Featured image from BSG and Auditor-General’s Office.