Lawmakers getting fuel audit

An internal Cayman Islands government audit of fuel usage has revealed
numerous instances of potential abuse by government employees who were
improperly using the Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services fuel depot
over a period of 15 months.

The audit,
which covered the period between January 2008 and March 2009, is being
reviewed by Auditor General Dan Duguay and will be sent to Legislative Assembly
members, who do not receive internal audit reports of this nature as
standard practice.

Mr. Duguay
declined to discuss specific details of the fuel audit when contacted
about it. 

“I would
say that the internal audit report raised some serious concerns that we thought
should be brought to the attention of the Legislative Assembly,” Mr.
Duguay said.

Mr. Duguay
said his staff did not do its own auditing on the issue, and the internal audit
office review of the matter was extremely thorough. However, he noted that his
office would make additional comments on what was documented in the report.

“The
impetus for our reaction was the internal report,” Mr. Duguay said.

The first
inkling that there might have been a problem with fuel usage over at the
vehicle services dept appeared in mid-May, when Department of Vehicle and
Equipment Services Director Dale Dacres warned government employees in an
internal memo.

The Caymanian
Compass has learned the memo was sent out shortly after the first draft report
of the internal audit on fuel usage was released.

“Daily as
I pass the pumps, I see fuel being pumped into vehicles AND CONTAINERS
(capitals used in original memo), sizes ranging from five to 900 gallons,”
Mr. Dacres wrote.

“While it
would be presumptuous for the DVES fuel sales assistant to assume or question
customers who are purchasing the service, it is absolutely necessary for the
responsible officer(s)…to ensure control and compliance with rules and
regulations.”

Mr. Dacres
then listed a number of steps to be taken by those responsible for monitoring
fuel usage should have been undertaking. He advised responsible officers to
watch for what appeared to be fictitious numbers on odometer readings – such as
numbers ending in ‘666’ or ‘999’ that appeared on invoices as mileage readings.

“This
could be a warning signal,” he wrote in the memo. “It could also mean
that drivers are swapping each others’ fuel cards and using the same vehicle,
or vice versa.”

He also warned
that fuel being purchased for containers – particularly small ones – may be
required to confirm the fill up is for official use.

“(Be
sure) that monthly invoices for fuel purchased by your agency are checked
carefully,” the memo continued. “Compare current with previous
monthly purchases and analyze the trend.”

Details of the internal audit will be made public once
Mr. Duguay presents the report to Legislative Assembly members.

DanDuguay

Mr. Duguay
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