Burecaucrats employed by one federal department misused their corporate credit cards 172 times over 26 months, the government has admitted. According to a report by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, there were a further 16 instances of card misuse across its portfolio agencies, including Comcare, Safe Work Australia and the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Safe Work Australia and Comcare credit card misuse revealed
In a written response to a question tabled at Senate estimates, the department detailed instances of when staff used their corporate credit card instead of a personal one between July 2009 and last September.
In 68 cases, funds were found to have been withdrawn inappropriately, and in 79 cases spending by employees was explicitly rejected by their superiors.
A department spokesman played down the significance of the misuse.
“The total number of instances of corporate credit card misuse represents a tiny fraction of all claims and converts to less than three per 100 cards issued,” the department spokesman said.
“Repayments are made quickly and misuse commonly involves accidental charges of very low value.” (yeah…accidental…!)
An estimated 4120 cards were issued to the department’s employees, 159 to ABCC staff and 638 to employees of the Fair Work Ombudsman.
There were nine instances of misuse at Comcare, five at the ABCC and one each at Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Asked what action was taken if a card was misused, the department said the employee was initially “reminded” of the requirements of department policy.
Depending on the nature of the misuse, the matter could result in a code of conduct probe or fraud investigation.
In all cases, full reimbursement was sought, it said.
The department did not say if the misuse had resulted in any fraud investigation.
[Source: The Australian - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bureaucrats-credit-card-misuse-revealed/story-fn59niix-1226265189104]