The Auditor General has pointed out several accounting deficiencies and management inefficiencies in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), including failure to credit millions of rupees into members’ personal accounts.
The disclosures are contained in the AG’s report on the financial statements of the EPF. These statements were included in the Fund’s 2010 report, which was presented to Parliament recently.
The AG had found that more than Rs. 62 million recovered during the period 2005-2008 as EPF members’ contributions and surcharges recovered by courts had been credited to the government revenue in 2010, without being credited to the members’ personal accounts. The reason was the “non-availability of information of the relevant members of the Fund,” the report said.The AG also found that applications of beneficiaries in now dormant EPF client institutions, which are referred to a committee consisting of members of the Central Bank and the Department of Labour to make the necessary payments, were delayed for a long period. “Due to the inefficiency of that committee, benefits valued at over Rs. 49 million in respect of 430 applications of members, elapsed for more than one to two years, and had not been paid even by June 2011,” the report said.
The AG also noted that the ledger of the EPF in the Department of Labour, had not been properly maintained, and a journal to identify the entries in the ledger, clearly and in detail, had not been submitted for audit.
The final accounts of the EPF, submitted for audit, had also failed to disclose receipts and payments made to and by district offices on court orders. This amounted to more than Rs. 219 million and Rs. 178 million respectively.
There had also been lack of evidence made available for the audit on the fixed assets of the EPF estimated at more than Rs. 610 million in 2010.
Several uneconomic transactions had been made by the Fund, such as the purchase of an offset printing machine in 2008, for the printing of forms, at a cost of more than Rs. 21 million, despite which, in 2010, the EPF had paid more than Rs. 4 million to the Government Press for printing specimen forms.
The EPF office had also bought 15,000 memory chips valued at more than Rs.10 million, for the issue of identity cards under a project for re-registering members, but these had been lying idle.
Similarly, five kiosk machines and related accessories bought at more than Rs 7.4 million had not been installed and utilised even by June 2011, the report revealed.
Meanwhile, in the 2010 Report, it was revealed that the gross income of the Fund for that year increased by Rs. 11.7 billion to Rs. 121.3 billion from Rs. 109.6 billion in 2009.
By the end of 2010, the total value of the EPF stood at Rs. 900 billion, with a total membership of 1.3 million.
By Chandani Kirinde