There is a “moderate” risk of VA employees misusing purchase cards, an IG report has said, although the risk is only low regarding the travel and fleet card programs.
The IG said its reviews “continue to identify patterns of purchase card transactions that do not comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and VA policies and procedures,” a report said.
The purchase card program is the largest of the three, increasing in 2018 over 2017 from 6.7 million to 7.1 million transactions and in value by about $392 million to $4.6 billion. About 13,600 employees, about 4 percent of the VA’s workforce, have cards.
As with similar reports from IGs of other agencies, the main concern involves potential for duplicate transactions and for split purchases—dividing a transaction into smaller parts in order to keep each part below thresholds where greater scrutiny would apply. Auditors identified 1.8 million potential duplicate transactions totaling $412 million and 701,000 potential split purchases totaling almost $800 million, although examining them in detail was outside the scope of the review.
Other issues included instances of an “excessive” number of cardholders for a reviewing official to monitor, transactions that were not reflected in the department’s financial records, and an increase in transactions of 17 percent in the last two months of the fiscal year compared to the average of the prior months.