29 Nov 2006

Audit of Northern Marianas Public Lands Authority uncovers travel rorts

10:28 am on 29 November 2006

An audit of the Northern Marianas Public Lands Authority has revealed that eight ranking officials of the now defunct organisation spent half of the agency's 1.3 million US dollars total travel costs from 2001 to 2005.

The Saipan Tribune reports that the 8 individuals took 102 of the 195 trips included in the review of the authority's travel expenditures by the Office of the Public Auditor.

The audit found irregularities in the trips of these eight individuals.

It noted that on some trips, more than one additional day was added before or after the scheduled conference or meeting, and no justification was provided by the traveller or the official who approved the travel authorization.

For other trips, the authorized purpose of the trip was not accomplished or the

traveller decided to accomplish a different purpose, again, without the proper justification.

The report said that the eight travellers may have received excess travel benefits, worth more than 50,000 US dollars.