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OPA: DPS audit of confidential informant funds still unresolved

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THE Department of Public Safety’s audit of its confidential informant funds remains unresolved, according to a Jan. 15, 2020 report of the Office of the Public Auditor.

Although DPS responded to OPA’s recommendation letter on Sept. 19, 2019, OPA was unable to determine if the recommendations were implemented due to scheduling issues.

But OPA said it will be in continuous communication with DPS for updates on its actions to resolve the recommendations before the issuance of the next follow-up report.

The report, which was released on Sept. 30, 2019, was the result of OPA’s inspection of the DPS confidential informant or CI funds that covered all confidential fund advances from Feb. 26, 2019 through July 12, 2019.

The inspection was conducted to determine if CI funds were being accounted for and utilized in accordance with DPS-CNMI Drug Enforcement Task Force standard operating procedure or SOP for CI funds.

In his letter to DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero, Public Auditor Michael Pai said: “Although a thorough review of the records and a cash count revealed an undetected shortage of three dollars, OPA finds that CI funds are being accounted for and utilized in accordance with major control features of their SOP.”

OPA noted that DPS did not detect one voucher that was unintentionally overstated by three dollars due to an unclear receipt, but OPA considers the amount immaterial and easily recoverable.

The report added, however, that DPS does not adhere to several requirements that would further strengthen its accountability of the funds.

“Audits of the CI fund are not conducted,” OPA stated, adding that although some reviews are performed, the lack of documented audits of the fund indicated that required audits were not being conducted.

OPA recommended to DPS to recover the $3 caused by an overstated voucher and return it to the CI fund.

OPA also recommended that DPS adhere to all requirements set forth by the standard operating procedure and focus on the following:

• Conduct and document required internal audits of the CI funds;

• Require all sworn personnel authorized to request for advances from the CI fund to sign confidential fund certification;

• Enforce the 48-hour limitation for settling all cash advances, and document all approvals for extensions to the 48-hour limit;

• And verify the completeness of each informant case load report.

As for the previous recommendations regarding improvements to the DPS evidence facility, OPA said it applauds the department for selecting a contractor for the evidence room.

In a March 11, 2015 report, OPA stated that the physical security of DPS’ evidence facility was inadequate.

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