By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A NEWLY released auditor general’s report is calling for more staff to be hired at the post office in San Salvador to ensure appropriate staff segregation of duties after it was discovered that all postal transactions were being performed by only one staff member.
The audit report, tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday, portrayed the local post office as being riddled with a number of deficiencies, including inadequate staffing. According to the report, this can be seen in the number of duties performed by one employee.
In the report, the district’s postmistress was revealed to be sole performer of all postal transactions, “which includes but not limited to the following: Savings Bank transactions; postal duties; and mail bag inward and outbound services.”
The auditor general said: “We further noted that when the district postmistress is on leave the post office engages the services of a retired officer to manage the postal operations.”
In view of this, the report recommended “that management seek to hire additional staff and properly train them in all areas of postal services.”
He further added: “It is recommended that senior management ensure that proper segregation of duties exist at the post office in an effort that errors or irregularities are prevented or detected on a timely basis in the normal course of postal operations.”
The report said that while conducting their investigations, officials were initially informed that the post office funds were being deposited in the bank three times a week, but instead found that monies were being deposited monthly.
To this, the auditor recommended for public funds to be deposited daily as is the policy.
The report also noted that the office’s safe appeared to be at risk due to its door not being properly secured.
“It is recommended that management seek to have the door repaired,” it added.
The report found that the office hours were reduced from 9am to 4pm as a result of the district postmistress not being able to take her lunch break on time.
“It is recommended that postal operations be extended to ensure that services remain relevant to all residents in the district; thus the need to hire additional staff becomes a necessity so that the post office fulfil its mandate,” the report continued.
The report also recommended that postal remittances be forwarded to the General Post Office in Nassau monthly after it found that that the last remittance was sent in August 2019.
The report said this is an effort to ensure “that accounts can be reconciled, and errors detected before issuing additional saving bank documents.”
The report also noted some inefficiencies with the post office telegraph and domestic money order registers, saying they were not being properly maintained.
“We noted that telegraph and domestic money transactions were not recorded for the period of January 2020. Additionally, it was observed that the connected day sheets were not posted up to date. At the time of the audit, the accounts were updated. It is recommended that transactions relating to telegraph and money orders and their connecting day sheets be maintained on a daily basis.”
The report subsequently said it found accounts of the San Salvador post office not being maintained “at a satisfactory standard in all respects,” and said internal controls needed to be “strengthened to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the financial operations.”