FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2017
CONTACT: Teresa Plant, firstname.lastname@example.org, 303.328.8225
Jen Neville, email@example.com, 720.962.7054
LAKEWOOD, Colorado – Western Area Power Administration's self-initiated audit in 2014 unveiled misuse by a handful of employees and weaknesses in the government purchase card program. Due to the seriousness of the suspected misuse, WAPA referred the activity to the Department of Energy Inspector General for further investigation and prosecution. In addition, WAPA strengthened its controls including how the program is implemented, monitored and managed.
WAPA's first round of internal audits in 2014 and referral of results to the DOE IG resulted in the prosecution of one former employee who was convicted and sentenced with $168,417.86 in restitution and five years' probation. The DOE IG also recovered $25,023.94 in items purchased for personal use. WAPA also completed formal disciplinary actions against several employees for misuse of purchase cards.
"We take seriously the results of all of our audits," said Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Mark A. Gabriel. "It is our duty as public servants to be good stewards of resources. Our commitment to best business practices means continually examining how we do things, making improvements and holding those accountable who do not comply."
The DOE IG conducted a review of the status of WAPA's corrective actions and issued its Information Report titled Actions Taken by Western Area Power Administration to Address Internal Review Findings on its Desert Southwest Region's use of Government Purchase Cards (OIG-IR-17-01, March 2017) that recognized WAPA's corrective actions. WAPA continues to work with the DOE IG on investigations of individuals referred.
WAPA's corrective actions increase accountability and include: designating an organizational program coordinator in the Procurement Office; implementing new guidance to ensure consistency and clarity in purchase processes; delivering and tracking new mandatory training; reviewing cardholder monthly transactions; reducing the number of cards to minimize exposure; evaluating credit limits; conducting business case analyses for all new account requests; suspending cardholder accounts for failure to comply with policies and procedures; and executing disciplinary actions for misuse.
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About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov.