The office of the Auditor General has reported that the Labour and Social Security Ministry wrongfully paid out $5.4 million to 776 people under its Programme of the Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), in May.
The discovery came following an audit of the Government’s CARE programme which assists those severely affected by the coronavirus.
According to the Auditor General, Pamela Monroe Ellis, the people who received the funds were not eligible for such benefit.
In her recommendation, she said that the ministry must review its systems to ensure the efficiency of the eligibility process for those seeking to benefit from the programme PATH and ensure that they satisfied all the requisite criteria to receive paid COVID-19 PATH grants.
However, according to the ministry, the 776 terminated individuals were inadvertently included on the May 2020 PATH payment list due to a glitch in the Beneficiary Management Information System (BMIS).
The Auditor General’s report was tabled in parliament on Tuesday, June 24 where she said her office found that an additional 8,933 beneficiaries were added to the May payroll for PATH beneficiaries resulting in an increase of $58.7 million in approved benefits over April 2020.
She also said her office’s “review of the beneficiary information in the BMIS revealed that only 3,145 or 35 percent of the 8,933 additional beneficiaries had a ‘registered’ status, indicating that they had met all criteria for the PATH Programme and had submitted the required documents and signed the requisite agreement.”
A hold has been placed on the payment for the 8,933 beneficiaries by the Labour Ministry and a review was conducted to determine the actual eligibility status of each additional person.
According to the ministry, 4,354 new beneficiaries did not sign the Agreement Letter as required by the PATH Operations Manual but said they satisfied the other requirements, which would make them eligible.
Nonetheless, arrangements are currently being made for the beneficiaries to sign the Agreement Letter.