13 gas cards more than five years out of date

Although a summary of its report was released by the auditor general’s office earlier this week, a government audit of fuel usage at the North Sound Road fuel depot has identified specific instances where gas cards may have been abused by public sector employees.

The Internal Audit Unit report, actually completed in August 2011, but made public by the auditor general’s office on Wednesday, does not point at any individual instance where it believes the government fuel card system was defrauded. However, information contained in the report raises serious questions about what may have occurred during some of these transactions.

The report looked at a period between July 2009 and June 2010 and considered fuel usage by 10 different government departments or statutory agencies. It found in most cases that the use of those employee and vehicle fuel cards was not being monitored properly by management, leaving the system open to “potential abuse and fraud”.

For instance, the report found that close to half – 43 per cent – of the 378 active employee gas cards used during the period either belonged to individuals who were no longer employed by the department responsible for the fuel card or had no “business need for the card”.

“We were concerned that allowing driver cards of ex-employees and employees who do not have a business need for a card to remain active in the GASBOY system [the computer system used by the 
Department of Vehicle and Equipment Services to track fuel usage] might result in unauthorised usage,” the internal audit report stated. “This risk increases in situations where fuel consumption is no adequately monitored.”

The lack of monitoring had been going on for quite some time, according to information contained in the internal audit report.

Of the 97 ex-employee cards identified as still active within the 10 government entities as of July 2010, 13 of those employees were shown to have left their respective department before 2005. One employee that had a gas card assigned to them had left the Planning Department in August 2001; another who left the Health Services Authority in November 2002 still had a card assigned to them.

In addition, dozens of employees within the various government agencies had no effective termination date for their employment listed within the IRIS computer system. However, they had since left those departments, officials confirmed.

Internal Audit Unit work also identified instances where vehicle cards were used to purchase fuel twice within a 24-hour period or where an employee gas card was used for multiple fill-ups within the same hour.

“We understand that some of these transactions may be caused by legitimate business needs such as dollar limits on the cards causing employees to have multiple consecutive fuellings in order to fill the tank to capacity,” the audit report stated. “However, without proper monitoring and internal controls in place, it is difficult to determine whether fuel is being used for legitimate business purposes.”

A number of examples are listed with specific vehicles in the audit report. One example occurred with an unnamed vehicle being used by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

Audit records revealed that a vehicle, using card No. 2241, filled up 27.7 gallons at 2.43pm on 7 December, 2009. At 2.48pm of the same day – five minutes later – the same amount of petrol, 27.7 gallons was filled. Roughly the same thing occurred at different times on 21 December, 2009 and 7 January, 2010. Then the card No. 2241 was used at 9.27am on 29 January, 2010 to fill some 26.5 gallons and again at 9.32am the same day for the same amount. Then, three minutes later at 9.35am, the same card was used again to fill 9.3 gallons of petrol.

Although not referring to the same card used by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, the Department of Agriculture provided a possible explanation for why this scenario could have happened in the audit report.

“… Fuel cards have a fixed dollar value limit and in these cases the fuel dollar value limit is exceeded before the tank is filled. The only way to complete the filling is to immediately do another transaction with the same card.”

Under the GASBOY system, separate cards are issued for vehicles and employees – so users have to swipe two cards before fuelling up.

Making the problem even more difficult to tackle for auditors, very few transactions recorded had odometer readings entered. The vehicle mileage should be entered for each fuelling, auditors said.

For the month of June 2010, only 112 odometer readings had been entered for 491 transactions.

“It was also noted that, on some fuel purchases, an incorrect odometer reading was entered; as evidenced by a decrease in odometer reading from one fuel purchase to the next,” the internal audit report read.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. The Buddy system is alive and well in Grand Cayman. This is just one of many government allowed abuses on the dysfunctional system currently in place. When will a real leader step in, step up and right the wrongs? How hard can this really be to fix? Opps, I forgot the buddy factor, never mind my logic.

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  2. When corruption set in, its almost an impossible job to root it out…and this is a classic case.

    Did not this story first surface in 2008 ?

    This audit and its report is one of the reasons, along with the Operation Tempura/Cealt and the schools contracts audits…that cost Dan Duguaay his job.

    According to the exhalted premiere Mr. Bush…he was grandstanding for press attention by publicly releasing these findings.

    Now, is the current auditor general also grandstanding for the public and press ?

    Mr. Bush has been notably silent these last few weeks…

    Anyone care to guess why ????

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  3. Until Caymanians become willing to hold other Caymanians accountable the sweep under the rug mentality will remain firmly in place. And to be clear this has nothing to do with Expats, it is solely a Caymanian issue.

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  4. How can this continue without attention from someone in the government? Is there no end to poor supervision and checks and balances?

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  5. How could someone keep a gas card for almost 10 years. Were they still using it. To me that is abuse, and the persons who issued these cards are also at fault. There is and has been mounds of corruption going on at that RED GATE PLACE, Check out what is going on at nights after 11, and 12 midnight. No lackie either, big big big people.

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  6. If a non-government employee walked into a government office every week, went to the supply cabinet, filled up a box with pens, copy paper, printer toner and envelopes and ran out the door he would be arrested for theft and thrown in jail. Someone please explain to me how this should be treated differently.

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  7. I am just wondering how long it’s going to be before they find people who officially left the civil service years ago but are still getting their salaries paid.

    When I left the UK civil service in 1980 my desk had to cleared in the presence of my manager and all official material (particularly my ID card) had to accounted for – if I had taken anything with me that belonged to the department it would have been a criminal offence. Surely the GASBOY cards are CIG property so retaining them after leaving public service is theft even if they are never used? It makes you wonder what else in the way of official property has walked out of the doors over the years.

    This is all insanity. One of the clear problems emerging from this and other audits is that the Auditor General is in reality little more than a temporary advisor who can be removed at will and whose reports can simply be ignored by everyone from the Governor downwards.

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  8. Gee, heres an idea. Cancel ALL gas cards currently in circulation. Have each department issue new gas cards for existing staff that qualify to have them. Set realistic maximum amounts of gas that could be used by that person on their respective government vehicle (F-150 truck with a 20gallon tank filling up twice per month)so 40 gallons max. Use tighter controls to ensure employees are not using the card to fill up their personal vehicles. ITS NOT THAT HARD PEOPLE!!!

    We all know that NO ONE will be held accountable for this, thats the Caymanian way it seems. But at least stop this CRIMINAL THEFT before it gets worse.

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