COA flags DepEd over P362M deposits in ‘unauthorized, unnecessary, dormant bank accounts’

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The Commission on Audit (COA) said the Department of Education (DepEd) has more than P362.7 million in "unauthorized, unnecessary, and dormant bank accounts" that violate the General Appropriations Act of 2022.

In its audit report, COA said that DepEd has a total of P362,760,156.45 cash in banks under the accounts of its central office and nine regional offices and the funds have not been reverted to the national treasury.

"Results of audit, verification, and validation of cash accounts revealed that some bank accounts were maintained without specific authority or legal basis, contrary to the pertinent provisions of laws, rules, and regulations," it said.

"Furthermore, these bank accounts include collections/receipts from various sources still retained in the said unauthorized current accounts as standby funds and are kept available at their disposal," it added.

COA expressed apprehension that the funds in the bank accounts could be exposed to misuse or misappropriation, when instead these could be used to augment the financial requirements of unprogrammed activities and settlement of valid obligations.

It pointed out that one law violated is Section 10 of the General Provisions of the General Appropriations Act for 2022, which states that all departments, bureaus, offices, and instrumentalities of the government are mandated to close and revert all balances of special accounts, fiduciary or trust funds and revolving funds to the general fund.

It noted that there are three conditions on the reversion to the general fund, namely: when there is no legal basis for its creation, when its terms have expired, and when it is no longer necessary for the attainment of the purposes for which it was established.

COA recommended that DepEd should initiate the closure of "unauthorized, unnecessary, and dormant" bank accounts, discontinue the practice of transferring unutilized Notice of Cash Allocations (NCAs) from the Modified Disbursement System (MDS) account to their bank accounts, and remit the balance to the national treasury.