Audit: Embassy in China owed more than $40,000

Audit: Embassy in China owed more than $40,000
Auditor Terrance Bastian

Report concluded the embassy was generally operating satisfactorily

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Embassy of The Bahamas in the People’s Republic of China was owed over $40,000 in account receivables as of July 2017, according to audit report.

Some of the outstanding funds dated back as far as 2013.

This included $13,795 for shipment of personal items on March 7, 2017; $8,319.67 for ‘tuition and dormitory fees – Dalian University’ on September 8, 2015; and $3,442.62 for ‘rent deposit refund’ on January 20, 2016.

The audit completed by Auditor General Terrance Bastian was tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.

The review was conducted between January 2017 and September 30, 2018.

At the end of July 2017, there was an outstanding balance of RMB 266,888.57 or US $41,115.91.

“We noted that the account receivable increased by RMB 99,782.87 or approximately two percent,” the auditor said.

“It was noted that outstanding receivable dated far back as November 6, 2013. The embassy had prepared letters to this effect.

“It is recommended that the embassy continue its efforts to collect all outstanding amounts. It is further recommended that if amount is deemed to be uncollectible, then attempts should be made to have the outstanding receivables written off the books.”

The balance of the revenue account as of October 8, 2018 was $1,553.58.

The operational account bank balance as of October 18, 2018, was $350,481.57.

At the end of the fiscal year dated June 2017, the operational account had an unexpended balance of $186,928.05. The unexpended balance as of June 2018 doubled to $371,961.36.

The auditor recommended that unexpended funds at the end of June be reported by the administrative attaché, approved by the councilor and signed-off by the ambassador for distribution to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report said: “It was noted that the revenue earmarked for the Consolidated Fund Account was not always remitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a timely basis,” the report read.

“However, we observed improvements in the transmittal of revenue for the period under review…”

The embassy has two accounts, an RMB account that is used to pay operating expenses for the embassy, and a U.S. revenue account. Any revenue collected by the embassy in deposited in the latter account and subsequently remitted to the Public Treasury.

The report recommended controls surrounding the accounting functions, including ensuring supporting documents be attached to all payment vouchers; travel clearance reports be completed and handed into accounts within 21 days of completion of travel and virement register will continue to be maintained for record keeping purposes.

The auditor concluded the embassy was otherwise operating in a satisfactory manner.

The report noted the revenue was being collected and deposited in a timely basis and was properly account for and recoded in the accounting records; revenue and official receipts were being remitted to the ministry of a timely basis; revenue collected was being accurately recoded in the ministry’s records and were being deposited to the Consolidated Fund in a timely manner and expenditures were being accurately recorded in the underlying records.

The embassy in Beijing opened in January 2006.

The embassy has formal responsibility for the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Korea.

At the time of the review, there were eight personnel at the embassy, including the ambassador Sterling R. L. Quant.