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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, July 14, 2024


An audit of low-income housing grants administered by the Virgin Islands Housing Authority has found overall compliance with grant terms, appropriate charges made against grant funds and correct deposits of grant funds via electronic transfer.
But the audit, conducted by the U.S. Interior Department's Office of Inspector General and released last month, also discovered inadequate internal controls of purchasing orders, electronic transfer recording and other areas.
As a result, in one instance a VIHA contractor received 14 duplicate payments totaling $145,307.
The Inspector General's office made eight recommendations to rectify the problems it found in its audit, which covered fiscal years 1998 and 1999. In late July, VIHA Executive Director Conrad Francois II responded that the authority has complied with all the audit's recommendations but one: In addition to more than 6,000 purchase orders totaling $11.7 million, the audit determined another 877 purchase orders were not recorded in the logs.
According to the audit report, a VIHA official said orders processed from June 1998 to January 1999 "were lost because of computer failures and could not be reprinted."
"Because the logs of purchase orders were not complete," the audit stated, "there was no assurance that all purchases were properly accounted for."
In the VIHA response, it was noted that hard copies of the purchase orders were being used to complete the log, and all missing orders would be re-entered in the log system by Sept. 30.
According to Roger La Rouche, the acting Assistant Inspector General for Audits who signed the executive summary of audit findings and responses, the purchase order log issue will be forwarded to Interior's assistant secretary for policy, management and budget to track VIHA compliance.
Francois did not return a call requesting comment on the audit.

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