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State Audit Bureau discovers financial irregularities at Ministry of Awqaf

Report full of suspicions on Hajj convoy tickets and hotel bookings

KUWAIT CITY, July 3: While the widely reported ‘hospitality’ issue at the Interior Ministry is still being looked into by the court, the Audit Bureau (AB) has discovered another ‘hospitality’ case at the Ministry of Awqaf, reports Al-Jarida daily.

The preliminary AB report is full of suspicions and financial irregularities in the areas of hotel bookings and Hajj convoy tickets last year.

According to the report, 13 suites were booked in the Four Points Hotel, while the suites are supposedly reserved only for the head of the convoy and his deputy, as well as two general guides, which means that 9 more suites were booked which cost more than 318,000 Saudi riyals.

It is revealed that the pilgrimage convoy booked 150 rooms for its members, while the need was for only 91, which resulted in more 1.5 million riyals expenditure of public money, noting that suites and rooms were booked in the name of same members and the ministry did not provide Bureau with the names and nationality and nature of the work of the users, who have been accommodated at the expense of the ministry.

The report shows 350 tickets were purchased worth 87,000 riyals, although the number of members was only 194, which means they bought 156 additional tickets, which caused the loss of 41,000 riyals of public money. The report added that the convoy spent 110,000 riyals cash for the wages of cleaners and guards without showing details of any contracts or providing details about these works, as well as disbursing 87,000 riyals for drivers, although there is no proof they worked for the mission.

The report also stated that 137,000 riyals were paid to one of the real estate offices as a commission to find the headquarters for the mission in Makkah without following the necessary procedures, as no quotations were provided, neither the role of the office in providing the headquarters because it was the ministry that determined the hotel, and received the quotation directly, indicating that the real estate company is not entitled to receive commission. The report also mentioned that the Hajj mission booked two hotel suites for the ministers of Awqaf and Health, but the first did not go to Saudi Arabia, while the second lived in another headquarters.

This is in addition to the report which pointed out that the mission contracted to provide 300 meals for members of the Hajj mission, while the number of its members only 194, resulting in an increase of extra 81,000 riyals.

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