COA flags ex-general Luga’s hiring of redundant, undocumented consultants in GSIS
The Commission on Audit has zeroed in on a member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) trustee for hiring redundant and undocumented consultants to his office.
In the 2017 annual audit report of the GSIS, COA said the GSIS trustee hired four consultants with a monthly fee of P40,000 to P50,000 per month even though “his office’s plantilla positions is fully filled up and office facilities are provided by the GSIS.”
COA said these consultants did not have sufficient documents to back their appointments and were doing superfluous work which made their total compensation package of P2.28 million invalid and improper based on COA and Department of Budget and Management guidelines.
COA did not identify the GSIS trustee in the report except to describe him as the co-chair of the risk oversight committee. Based on GSIS’ website, the trustee alluded to is retired general Alan R. Luga, current President and CEO of AFP General Insurance Corp.
COA noted that the hiring of the four consultants were considered as “continuous employment” as they were also listed among the recipients of the P17.65 million worth of retainers paid to all of the GSIS trustees’ consultants in 2017.
“Further, the recurring renewals of the contract of the consultants may be construed as quasi-employment of the System or co-terminus with the Office of the Trustee who hired them since deliverables provided in the contract do not have completion period contrary to CSC (Civil Service Commission), COA and DBM JC 1-2017 which states that hiring of consultants shall be limited to undertake special project or job within a specific period,” said COA.
COA said the consultants did the same work as officers of the GSIS and they did not submit monthly accomplishment reports in violation of the contracts.
COA advised the GSIS trustees to ddiscontinue the hiring of consultants performing the same function of the regular staff.
In reply, GSIS mananagement said there was no duplication of functions because its employees dealt with “ordinary , day-to-day operations” while consultants of trustees “advise their respective principals on the propriety or feasibility of the matters being proposed by Management, to equip the latter with the relevant information necessary to make sound decisions.”
Management stressed that the hiring of consultants was necessary even if the trustee’s plantilla has been filled up. Management said the consultants were hired to six-month contracts and trustees were allowed to make renewals. It also said the fees paid to the consultants were “reasonable.”
Management, however, has agreed to limit the consultants to two per trustee starting August 2018.
But COA stood pat on flagging the unnecessary expenses incurred by the trustee. It also reiterated its findings that the trustee hired four consultants and two as he claimed.
“While we note that the Trustee is the Co-chair of Risk and oversight committee, we beg to disagree that there were only two consultants under the office of the said Trustee. The Contract of Services executed between the GSIS and the consultants stated that procurement of their services were for the office of said Trustee on various dates. SAP records disclosed payment for the said four consultants were made for the same periods: December 2016 up to December 2017 and March 2018 to May 2018. Their contracts were also approved on the same dates,” it said.