COA finds unauthorized cash advances for AMLC’s ‘confidential projects’

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) on Wednesday, May 31, said in an audit report that cash advances for 3 of the Anti-Money Laundering Council's (AMLC)  2016 project plans violated existing rules.

The COA said cash advances for the plans, named "Flinstone," "Arlim," and "Alkalde," exceeded the allowable limit set under Joint Circular No. 2015-01. The joint circular was issued by the COA, the Department of Budget and Management, the Governance Commission for GOCCs, and the Department of National Defense.

The Joint Circular said cash advances from confidential and intelligence funds shall be limited to a project’s requirements for only 3 months. The COA noted, however, that funding for the three exceeded the 3-month duration.

The disbursement vouchers for the 3 plans were supposed to maintain the lngth of the project. Those lasting longer than 3 months could have additional funding provided only after full liquidation was made on the earlier cash advance.

In this case, Flinstone was made available for 5 months at P485,000, Arlim was made available for 4 months at P450,000 and Alkalde was set for 6 months at P470,000.

Disbursement vouchers for Flinstone and Arlim were issued on August 16, 2016. Alkalde's voucher was issued on September 28, 2016. The audit report offered no details regarding the nature of the confidential projects.

A fourth project – “North Stone” – also received P130,000 in cash advances on October 4, 2016, despite non-compliance with a required liquidation of an earlier cash advance totaling P200,000.

The COA reminded the council that use of confidential funds and intelligence funds should follow policies under the above-mentioned Joint Circular.

AMLC, however, said the grant of cash advances to special disbursing officers was based on the request of case plan officers and approved by the group head of the Compliance and Investigation Group. The council agreed to observe the rules on submission of liquidation reports to the COA - Intelligence and Confidential Fund Audit Unit (ICFAU) before the release of additional funding.

The AMLC added it has made 30 bank inquiries as of December 31, 2016. Eighteen were backed by court orders. The remaining 12 cases did not require court orders, with 10 being related to drug trafficking, one to kidnap for ransom activities, and another to terrorism. –