Cash Advance Payments

Traffic worker sweeps P492K from Mandaue funds, sued

A JOB order worker assigned to the Mandaue City Traffic Bureau has been fired and sued by the city government after allegedly making ‘double payments’ of the wages of other contract workers in their bureau the year last, which caused the government to lose 492,000 pesos of funds.

The additional payments, however, did not go to the contract workers but only to the commissioned worker, who used them to finance his lifestyle.

The controversy was uncovered when the Commission on Audit (COA) opened an investigation after finding discrepancies in the payroll records and supporting documents provided by the Mandaue Traffic Enforcement Agency (Team) for the periods from May 16 to June 16, 2021 and from June 16 to July 15 of the same year.

State auditors then recommended that the City investigate its payroll staff and also strengthen its controls in processing payroll and disbursing wages.

In response to the COA report, the Mandaue city government launched its own investigation and then prosecuted the labor order worker involved in the case.

Forged signatures

In their 2021 audit report, state auditors found that from May 16 to June 16, 2021 and from June 16 to July 15 of the same year, labor order workers assigned under the team were paid twice.

When state auditors questioned Team about this, they found out from one of Team’s senior officials that their staff’s payroll processing was handled by a labor order employee.

They also found that the second request for both pay periods was allegedly processed by the same work order employee without the knowledge of the team officials and that some of the officials’ signatures were allegedly forged in the documents. of pay.

State auditors also found that the second claim for both pay periods was not recorded in the individual records of the affected Team personnel.

“If the payments had been correctly indexed, it could have detected these double payments,” they said.

Disbursement practices

State auditors also found that city disbursement officers were paying work order (JO) workers’ wages through cash advances or remitting the cash equivalent or the amount of the payroll to the JO worker in charge of processing the payroll of the team and not directly to the individual applicants.

State auditors recommended that city officials investigate staff involved in payroll processing and determine those responsible for the double payment. They also demanded the immediate return of the P492,000 to the city coffers.

“Out of Town Trips”

On Friday, July 15, 2022, Mandaue City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan told SunStar Cebu that after the COA disclosed their findings to them earlier this year, they immediately conducted their own investigation and were able to confront the worker involved.

The JO worker was eventually fired and sued at the Mandaue City Attorney’s Office earlier this year for robbery and estafa.

But before he was fired, the order clerk told Calipayan and Mandaue City Legal Office officials that he used the money to fund personal trips outside of Cebu.

SunStar Cebu is withholding the identity of the order worker until their comment is secured.

Not alone

Calipayan added that while the JO worker immediately admitted to orchestrating the double payment of Team contract employees’ salaries, he believes the suspect may have had accomplices in the commission of the crime.

“Given the huge sum of money he pocketed and the audacity with which he committed the crime, it is possible that he was working with another person and could have shared the spoils with this accomplice” , Calipayan told Cebuano.

Repayment

In addition to Calipayan, members of the city’s management team also pledged in their response to COA to seek reimbursement from the order worker.

“Regarding the reimbursement of double payment, the city administrator said that in the event of failure of the work order personnel to settle their liability, the persons responsible for the disbursement will assume responsibility,” the official said. city ​​management team in their response. to the COA report.

Calipayan added that they have also put measures in place to ensure the incident does not happen again, including appointing four people, all regular employees, to handle payroll for their JO employees.

In January of this year, Calipayan issued a desk memorandum instituting changes to the city’s payroll system.

Calipayan added that they are also ensuring that all order workers hired by the city get ATM cards to avoid using cash advances for their salaries.

As of Friday, only 1,000 of the city’s 3,000 workers had yet to obtain ATM cards.