Indications of payroll fraud & other HR deficiencies at CH&PA

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO

To: Board Members, Central Housing & Planning Authority

From: Mark Jacobs, Chair Land Allocation Committee

Date: 11th October, 2016

Subject : Indications of payroll fraud & other HR deficiencies at CH&PA

 

Dear Members:

As a board member I have always been perplexed at the low productivity of the various Central Housing & Planning Authority. As chair of the land allocation committee, the inefficiencies of this agency became even more glaring to me.

With a staff load of approximately 27 persons, it was difficult for me to comprehend why so little gets done in the Land Development section. Interestingly, the staff seem to believe they are doing a lot. I attribute this to them being reared in an era where job security was not tied to performance and evaluation.

I first undertook to examine the punctuality of staff in the Land Development section, to ensure persons were actually coming to work before I made a judgement. It quickly became clear that persons were regularly late for work and sometimes not at work at all.

I subsequently contacted the HR Director Laverne Benfield-Sanscoulotte for a printout of a monthly time report and was given one for June 2016. Below I examined the numbers presented in more detail, but I immediately noticed a glaring anomaly.

On the HR report total time lost to lateness was broken down by departments and totalled 2512 minutes (41.86 hours). However, on the same page the breakdown by individual employee only shows 1150 minutes (19 hours) lost to lateness.

It’s possible internal records can explain what happened to more than 50% of the minutes and this would be welcomed. However, the primary purpose of this analysis is to strengthen a very weak HR record keeping system.

The cover letter explains how the system works, but the attached report contradicts the cover letter.

Examples:

Paragraph 1 : …implemented to monitor employees’ time of arrival and departure on a daily basis.
Time of departure is not enforced and persons within the agency said when they were briefed by the HR director it was explained that time of departure is not mandatory.

Paragraph 4 : a Time Report is prepared. The report indicated the amount of minutes late and unrecorded time for each employee.
The monthly attendance clock table does not track unrecorded time. There are hundreds and possibly thousands of times over the period examined where persons did not record time and none of it is listed on any of the 17 months of reports examined. Persons were cautioned for not using the clock in a few instances but those minutes unrecorded do no feature in the reports.

A strange thing happened in the midst of exercise, CH&PA time machine ‘burned up’. The following day I received a call from Head of IT Mr. Andre Ally who informed me about the machine and that he was proceeding on two weeks leave the coming Monday.

Since it was a Friday I asked him what plans did he have in place to replace the system and if he should not cancel his leave to deal with  this emergency. Mr. Ally informed me that he had planned his leave the year prior and could not cancel it. He went on to say that he discussed and finalised a paper system time in/time out system with the HR Director.

The machine in question, SKYLY SK-C3, is a stand alone and not connected to CH&PA network. Once a month someone from the MIS department download the information via flash drive. This is then taken back upstairs, extracted to an excel sheet and forwarded to the HR department. I had extensive discussions with the Head of IT about such an ancient system but he didn’t see anything wrong with the system.

A proper and more robust time management and security system would see ALL employees of CH&PA, to include the CEO, use and employee only entrance and scan their badges or fingerprint each time they enter and leave the building. This would be discussed in more detail in a separate memo to Board Members.

When asked where the current system came from and how it got to CH&PA, Mr. Ally said he could not recall.

The finance record shows Mr. Andre Ally in a memo dated March 12, 2014 to then CEO Mryna Pitt recommended the purchase of this machine.

In an effort to improve the human resource management of the agency through technology, we are recommending the installation of a biometric fingerprint scanner. This device will capture and record the daily attendance records of every staff. Records of time will then be stored in excel format for easy analysis and reporting.

Three suppliers submitted quotations, namely MDT; Microspan Technology; and CCS. Microscan Technology met our requirements as the most favourable price at six hundred and twenty five ($625,000), and we therefore recommend them for the purchase.

For your information and guidance.

Regards,

Andre Ally

Heat of ICT

Receipts from the Finance Department shows that $625,000 was paid via checque #40034 to one R. Manbodh and not in the name of the supplier Microscan Technology.

A new SKYLY SK-C3 machine is currently selling on Amazon.com for $28,000.

CH&PA staff were registered into the biometric machine by Mr. Ally in the IT department.

The time machine had 162 registered users but CH&PA payroll only shows 124 employees. This is additional cause for concern and investigation by the internal auditor. Especially since the the HR Director informed the Board some months ago that not all persons paid by CH&PA are listed on the employee register.

2015 Monthly attendance clock table presented by CH&PA Human Resources Department

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
By Dept
2704
1923
3276
2952
3370
2463
1862
1160
N/A
2058
2125
4687
Breakdown
528
566
717
1681
2002
1175
529
219
N/A
961
1045
3285
Variance
2176
1357
3059
1271
1368
1288
1333
941
1097
1080
1402

 

2016 Monthly attendance clock table presented by CH&PA Human Resources Department

 

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
By Department
1442
1429
1515
2774
2322
2512
2021
1477
Breakdown
402
316
360
1273
1232
1150
732
788
Variance
1140
1113
1155
1501
1090
1362
1289
689

 

This reflects 17 months of time recording in the HR department that are all incorrect by wide margins. Records were not presented for September 2015.

The average variance in the records for 2015 is 22.7 hours. In 2015, 16,372 minutes (272.87 hours) are unaccounted for in the records presented.

So far in 2016, the time records of the HR department are off by an average of 20 hours per month.

As of August 2016, 9,329 minutes (155.48 hours) are unaccounted for in the records presented. Days on the time machine where persons did not clock in, or leave absence are not part of these numbers. If other factors are at play, the documentation were not presented.

This analysis also does not include minutes where persons do not clock in or clock out. Further examination of those would tell an even more frightening story as to the man hours lost at CH&PA from persons not being at their assigned jobs.

To examine this further I isolated the June 2016 records I received from the HR Director.

The records from the HR department shows that the MIS Department lost 26 minutes to lateness for that month(MIS has two persons required to clock in and out).

Based on the original time machine records, in that same month one employee in the MIS Department (Avishkar) was late 358 minutes. He is not listed in the June summary presented to me by the HR department.

Coincidentally, Avishkar is the person in the IT department who deals with the time machine records and information.

Another employee from Land Admin department (Shevon Moore) according to the HR records did not clock in 4 times and was issued a letter.

The time machine records for that month shows Shevon Moore being late 8 times, clocked in and didn’t clock out 6 times and had 11 working days where she did not clock in. For the times where she did use the machine, her total lateness is 574 minutes (9.56 hours). This employee according to finance records was also paid $65,727 overtime for the month of June 2016. Records do not indicate she was docked pay for being late or disciplined in any manner.

The HR department has a number of employees who are also frequently late or not using the time machine. A quick glance of the time records shows that it is the second most delinquent department of CH&PA.

I isolated one employee from the HR department named Onica Abrams and examined the reported information. I then did a comparison to the original records from the time machine.

Of the 20 working days for the month of June, Onica Abrams was late 18 times for a total of 909 minutes. She did not clock out on any of the 22 working days in June 2016.

The HR department summary shows all employees of the department were late for a total of 195 minutes and Onica Abrams is listed as being late 9 times for a total of 60 minutes.

849 minutes or 14.15 hours of lateness recorded by the biometric machine for Onica Abrams disappeared without explanation. If Abrams falsifying her own time records, it’s fair to assume she is doing the same for others within the agency.

Abrams is the person in the HR department who handles the time machine data passed on to her via CH&PA network system by Avishkar of MIS.

The records I have examined clearly show that both Onica Abrams and Avishkar are guilty of tampering, falsifying and altering these time machine records which in effect has cost CH&PA millions. These are criminal offences and the Guyana Police Force should be notified once the internal auditor confirms these findings.

My recommendation is that both of these person be sent on immediate administrative leave and the internal auditor do a further analysis of the time records examined.

The immediate and senior supervisors of these two persons are at a minimum guilty of dereliction of duty, willful or otherwise. If the former is the case, immediate termination should follow. If the latter is the case, termination on the grounds of incompetence should seriously be considered.

If time records are being tampered with for such a prolonged period, Board members should ask the next relevant questions, what other records are being tampered, altered and falsified within CH&PA?

The HR and MIS departments are critical to the smooth functioning of this agency. A clear message must be sent to management and staff that lawlessness, corruption and fraud will not be tolerated or go unpunished when discovered.

All for your information and guidance.

Humble regards,

Mark Jacobs

 

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