12 Feb 2013

Marshalls auditor deplores lack of resources

1:32 pm on 12 February 2013

The Marshall Island Auditor General, Junior Patrick, says his Office's newly established investigations division needs to beef up its operations after reports of fraud and abuse of power by government officials.

Mr Patrick says they need more staff in the division to meet the demand for investigations.

About 10 people have been charged in court since 2011, and several convicted, with theft involving nearly half a million dollars in Ministry of Health grants.

But Mr Patrick says a lack of funding for staff is a roadblock to expanding audits and investigations.

11 of the 21 positions in the office remain vacant and until recent just one staffer worked in the investigations division.

Mr Patrick says the additional fraud discovered by his Office's re-audit of Marshall Islands financial data going back five years requires action, but no new criminal cases have yet been filed.