By Rolynda Jonathan
The Marshall Islands Auditor General’s office has expanded its fraud investigations with the newly established Investigations Division.
Since establishing the new division, adiposity thirteen complaints have been filed alleging theft and fraud within the government.
Auditor General Junior Patrick says the office has received a number of complaints and allegations via the fraud hotline, emails, phone calls and even walk-in visits. Complaints received ranges from allegations of embezzlement, unethical conduct by public officials, abuse of power and lack of compliance with procurement policy and grant agreements.
With a single investigator working under the new division, additional staff is needed to meet the demands of investigations and response to complaints and reports. Despite the demand, Patrick postponed hiring a new Deputy Investigator due to budget constraints.
At the meantime, Patrick is working with the U.S. Department of Interior of the Inspector General to schedule trainings focusing on fraud investigation and auditing for the current staff.
Since 2011, several people have been charged in court and convicted of theft foreign grants in the Ministry of Health.