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MDA rapped for failing to monitor project deliverables: Auditor-General's Report

SINGAPORE: Among the three statutory boards cited in the report for lapses in the administration of grants and the commitment of public funds, the Auditor-General's Office (AGO) highlighted the Media Development Agency (MDA) for being lax in monitoring the submission of project deliverables by recipients of grants.

In five out of 28 projects audited, the deliverables were not submitted to the MDA up to 12 months past their stated deadlines, while deliverables for two other projects were submitted two to six months late.

"There was no evidence that MDA had taken prompt actions to follow up on these cases, which defeated the purpose of requiring grant recipients to meet specified milestone deadlines," the AGO said in its report for Financial Year 2013/14, released on Thursday (July 17).

In 14 per cent of projects checked - 23 out of 159 - excess grants totaling S$39,500 were not recovered, the AGO reported.

In response, the MDA has since implemented changes to tighten controls over the management and approval of grants, including updating guidelines and measures to closer review the progress of projects. A grant management system will be launched this December, it added.

The Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board was also cited for lapses in the appointment of former staff engaged for projects, while the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority had weaknesses in the evaluation of research projects.