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Auditor-General Office detects housing grants given to ineligible candidates, possible irregularities in quotations by HDB


The Auditor-General Office (AGO) has launched its auditing report on authorities ministries and statutory boards for the yr 2020/2021 on Thursday (22 July) and has flagged quite a lot of lapses regarding the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

The first lapse that it highlighted was on housing grants being distributed to ineligible functions. The report defined that CPF Housing Grants, which embrace Family Grant, Single Grant, Enhance CPF Housing Grant and Proximity Housing Grant, are distributed to eligible households for the acquisition of HDB flats.

However, AGO performed information evaluation on resale functions with Family Grant and Single Grant from 1 April 2018 to 30 September 2020 and came upon that 1,152 candidates “might not be eligible” for the grants.

“Of the 1,152 applicants, AGO test-checked 97 applicants and found that HDB had distributed Family Grants or Single Grants totalling (S$405,000) to 13 ineligible applicants (or 13.4 percent),” it mentioned, including that these candidates failed to meet the eligibility standards resembling non-ownership of personal property and revenue ceiling.

To this, HDB mentioned to AGO that it’s going to “improve the controls over processing and assessments of CPF Housing Grants”.

It added that it’s going to recuperate the grants given to the 13 ineligible candidates and take enforcement motion towards those that had suppressed materials info.

Moving on, AGO additionally discovered lapses in worth reasonableness of single bids. It defined that 4 restricted tenders (procurement worth amounting to S$18.47million) of the 13 restricted tenders awarded from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020 had been “inadequate”.

For the three restricted tenders (procurement worth totalling to S$16.3million) with related scope of works and necessities, AGO detected that though HDB had in contrast the only bid acquired by every tender towards its personal estimates, however HDB failed to “take into account the volume of services which the tenderer was expected to handle”, which is a vital issue that would have an effect on tender pricing.

If that’s not all, no assessments had been additionally accomplished by HDB to decide any good causes on why two of the only bids had been priced a lot increased than the third bid.

“HDB explained its estimates were computed using another factor which would indirectly take into account the volume of services expected. HDB also informed AGO that there were limitations in trying to make detailed price comparisons between the single bids because of differences such as the operating environment for each tender,” the report acknowledged.

As for the fourth restricted tender, HDB issued one contractor a young paperwork with particulars like as-built drawings and technical necessities for enhancement works to roof fixtures, and has additionally requested a second contractor to present a citation in order to get a comparability quote.

However, it failed to present the second contractor with any written specs on the requirement of enhanced works, ensuing in “inadequate assurance” of worth quoted by the second contractor, which is used to assess the reasonableness of the worth given by the only bid.

To this, HDB famous that it couldn’t give the written specs due to “urgency of the works”.

“AGO recognised the operational constraints faced by HDB. Nevertheless, adequate assessment should be carried out to ensure that single bids received from limited tenders were reasonably priced. HDB should ensure a robust assessment of price reasonableness of single bids, based on like-for-like comparison, was conducted,” it mentioned.

Irregularities in quotations

AGO test-check 194 quotations for 53 contract variations and one work order authorised between July 2017 and November 2020, involving star gadgets amounting to S$3.88 million below 9 building contracts.

Out of this, possible irregularities had been famous in 40 quotations.

Star charge gadgets refer to gadgets the place the charges should not listed in the contract.

HDB had appointed consultants to handle its building contracts in addition to to supervise contractors.

For contract variations and work orders involving star charge gadgets, the consultants had been supposed to assess the “price reasonableness” of the charges listed in the contractors’ invoices or quotations utilizing completely different strategies like verifying towards a number of quotations from different sources, the report famous.

However, AGO checks came upon that 40 quotations might need been “created or altered to give the impression that they were obtained from other suppliers and were reflective of fair market rates.”

AGO then advisable that HDB examine this matter. To this, HDB mentioned it has carried out an investigation and filed a police report, including that it might enhance its management over the administration of star charge gadgets.

Inadequate monitoring of automotive park operations

There are 2,048 residential automotive parks in Singapore which are being managed by HDB as at February this yr, with 1,894 automotive parks utilizing the Electronic Parking System (EPS).

Test checks of 4 HDB residential EPS automotive parks discovered that the month-to-month exception experiences acquired by HDB had been “inadequate” for monitoring automotive park operations, the report acknowledged.

In reality, AGO had detected related observations on insufficient monitoring of automotive park operations and enforcement by HDB 5 years in the past.

HDB knowledgeable AGO that it might proceed to discover using expertise to enhance its automotive park operations.

Unauthorised subletting tenanted business premises

The final lapse that AGO report highlighted is unauthorised subletting the place HDB’s business premises might need been sublet to about 7,800 enterprise entities with out its approval. This dangers unauthorised actions occurring at HDB premises and monetary loss due to under-collection of administrative charges.

“AGO’s test checks found that about 7,800 business entities had registered their addresses with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority using the address of HDB premises, even though these entities were neither HDB’s tenants nor sub-tenants. This could mean unauthorised subletting by tenants without HDB’s approval,” the report acknowledged.

It added, “AGO’s site visits to 184 premises between December 2020 and April 2021 found 22 possible unauthorised sub-tenants at 20 premises. HDB followed up on these cases and informed AGO that it would advise the tenants to obtain HDB’s approval accordingly.”

HDB additionally knowledgeable AGO that it’s going to remind tenants to not sub-tenants till it receives approval from HDB.

Additionally, HDB would additionally evaluation and enhance its inspection regime to higher detect unauthorised subletting,” the report mentioned.

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