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Incorrect MOH pay-outs: IT vendor was at fault, says Gan

The Health Ministry is seeking a full reimbursement for funds wrongly paid out under the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly, in a lapse highlighted by the Auditor-General.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health is seeking full reimbursement from its IT vendor over funds that had been wrongly paid to beneficiaries of a disability assistant programme, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Tuesday (Aug 5).

The Auditor-General had earlier pointed to a lapse in which the ministry continued to pay S$64,000 in financial assistance to 99 people, even after their deaths. These 99 were beneficiaries of the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE), and their pay-outs should have ended upon their deaths.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Gan said the mistake was made by a vendor, which the ministry had engaged in 2002 to administer IDAPE. He said the errors arose due to migrations in the vendor's IT processing system, which resulted in the demised list not being updated in specific months.

Mr Gan said this has since been rectified, and his ministry has required the vendor to make improvements in data processing to prevent errors from recurring. This includes system enhancements to trigger alerts when there are errors in data uploading and processing.

He added that under the terms of the IDAPE tender, the vendor is obliged to reimburse MOH the full amount for such over-payments.

"MOH views all AGO findings seriously and institutes measures either through changes in operating procedures or establishing new standard operating procedures to ensure similar mistakes are prevented in the future," said Mr Gan.