SAN JUAN – The Comptroller’s Office of Puerto Rico issued on Tuesday a qualified opinion of the fiscal operations of the Municipality of Maunabo.
The Report reveals that the Municipality paid $ 200,410 without profit for a feasibility study, design and engineering, and the lease of a property for the construction of an urban market, theater-cinema, bowling alley and a skating rink among other projects, which they were estimated at $ 2,146,000. Since the initial estimate of $ 715,339 in 2013, the Municipality did not have the resources, but continued its development based on the expectation that the central government would allocate the funds. This situation is attributed to the fact that the mayor did not plan adequately before investing resources, nor did the Municipality have the economic resources. The development sites of these projects are deteriorated and in disuse (see photos in annexes 1 and 2 of the Report).
The audit of eight findings indicates that the Municipality disbursed $ 672,730 to a corporation for the purchase, installation and maintenance of air conditioning units without requiring the certificate of work performed as provided by the Puerto Rico Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technicians College. In addition, the Municipality made the undue payment of $ 8,422 to a contractor for the services of an excavator operator who did not provide to clear roads after the passage of Hurricane Maria. This work was carried out by municipal personnel.
The auditors of the Comptroller’s Office identified that the Municipality does not have centralized purchasing functions, and had not established regulations for the contracting of mechanical and repair services for municipal equipment. In addition, for the purchases of the Diagnosis and Treatment Center from 2017 to 2019, they did not request three quotes from at least three representative suppliers of the market. This situation does not allow adequate control of purchases, which leads to mistakes.
Maunabo’s internal auditor position was vacant from 2017 to 2019, and the Internal Audit Unit was inoperative from 2017 to 2018. The mayor appointed an employee to internal audit functions, but she did not meet the legal requirements to fill the position .
Contrary to Regulations for the Municipal Administration of 2016, the annual physical inventories of the property were not carried out from 2018 to 2019. This situation does not allow to maintain an adequate control of municipal property and can lead to misuse or loss.
The Municipality registered and submitted contracts to the Comptroller’s Office, up to 11 months after their date of grant. This situation does not allow these contracts to be available as public documents to the public. From 2015 to 2019, Maunabo awarded 785 contracts and 359 amendments for $ 31,942,348.
The Report comments that the fiscal operations of the Municipality have accumulated deficits of $ 1,278,669 for 2016, $ 2,376,358 for 2017 and $ 1,017,357 for 2018. In the budget for fiscal year 2019, the Municipality only allocated $ 40,000 to reduce the deficit . Operating with a deficit reduces the resources available for the following year because the amount of the same has to be consigned preferentially in the next budget.
The audit recommends that the Office of Management and Budget ensure that the Municipality complies with the Corrective Action Plan established by the Comptroller of Puerto Rico.
The Maunabo Report covers the period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2019, and is available at www.ocpr.gov.pr.