The IG’s office at Veterans Affairs has found that once a contract for restroom supplies within a Veterans Integrated Service Network expired, purchase card holders made 18 split purchases valued at about $73,000 on Federal Supply Schedule orders for such supplies from the same vendor.
Splitting of purchases to keep them below the thresholds allowable for purchases on the cards has proven to be an ongoing problem at the VA and other agencies, and a frequent focus of IG audits.
“These split purchases resulted in unauthorized commitments as well as improper payments. This occurred because purchase cardholders continued to act as if they were still operating under the contract for restroom supplies after it had expired … Although the GSA FSS orders were similar to the orders allowable under the terms of the expired requirements contract, they were now considered split purchases under the terms of the Federal Acquisition Regulation because they were no longer governed by the contract,” the audit said.
Further, it said, “purchase cardholders did not have a clear understanding of what constituted a split purchase,” and management’s oversight of purchase card transactions was “ineffective”; approving officials “did not question what appeared to be the same routine purchases of restroom supplies, which had been occurring year after year subsequent to the expiration of the contract.”