How many MINDEF officers does it take to change a lightbulb?
We don’t know that one, but we do know that two MINDEF agencies can’t even get the plot area of land right, resulting in taxpayers’ money being wasted.
MINDEF had hired a contractor for building and infrastructure maintenance, and one of those services was to cut the grass of plots of land.
But over a period of 6 years, S$200,000 of taxpayers’ money was wasted because the size of the plots of land was overestimated.
According to the AGO’s latest report, MINDEF’s Facilities Management Agent (FMA) was supposed to check the contractor’s estimation of the size of the plots of land, while the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) was supposed to verify that services had been duly performed and pay the contractor.
Unfortunately, the FMA got the plot-size wrong and didn’t do periodic checks to confirm the size, and the DSTA just signed off and paid the contractor without verifying the plot size.
This took place from 2011 to 2017, and neither the FMA nor the DSTA were aware of the overpayments until the AGO audit.
The AGO said that the “repeated failures to detect the errors by the contractor cast doubts on whether the FMA and DSTA had carried out their duties diligently”.
MINDEF says that fresh on-site verification has been done and will improve its contractual management process.