The MoD has been told by the National Audit Office that controls against fraud in property management is ‘unacceptably low’. In some of the most robust comments ever made in an NAO report Sir John Bourn criticised the MoD and its management of the defence estate. He said #135m could be at risk from fraud and that measures are required to combat weaknesses in the department’s procedures. Sir John listed at least five key recommendations he said would improve response to fraud at the MoD. These included a risk assessment to be the basis for a department-wide anti-fraud strategy; incentives for contractors to detect fraud; simplify fraud reporting procedures and improve the design of controls. The criticism is unlikely to draw attention away from the MoD’s involvement in the crisis stricken Sierra Leone (above) but Sir John’s remarks come as a reminder that the MoD has responsibilities other than fighting wars. Sir John said: ‘The risk of fraud in property management is intrinsically high, and despite a number of departmental fraud management initiatives, remains at unacceptable levels after operation of the department’s existing controls. ‘By implementing the recommendations in my report the department could reduce significantly the risks of fraud in this important area of expenditure.’ Property management includes maintenance work and building up to the value of #300,000.
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