GEORGE TOWN: The George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) has been ticked off for its weaknesses in the management of its activities and governance in the 2nd series of the Auditor General's Report 2016.
GTWHI, which is chaired by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, is set up by the Penang government to oversee the management, monitoring and promotion of the George Town World Heritage site.
Among its weaknesses include the direct appointment of contractors without approval from the board of directors; delay in completion of projects without being penalised; inadherence to the conditions in the George Town Festival programme; unavailability of standard operating procedures in management of projects and programme; and absence of an audit committee.
"Checks by the audit team on 20 of the 38 development projects between 2014 and June this year, showed that there were direct appointments of contractors for 16 projects worth RM3.03 million.
"Further checks showed that the appointments of contractors were carried out by the management without the approval of the board of directors and with no prior discussion by GTWHI board of directors," according to the report which was released today.
The report also said that the approvals were only sought from the State Finance Department.
According to the audit report too, three of the 20 development projects within the stipulated time frame, failed to be completed on time.
It noted that one of the projects also did not have approval for extension of time — the preservation of cemeteries at the Protestant Cemetery site worth RM118,680.
"There was a 100-day delay . Although the contractor wrote to GTWHI for extension of time on Sept 10, 2015, there was no written reply from the latter.
"Based on the contract too, a 10 per cent monthly fine from the amount of the project would be imposed on the contractor. However, checks showed the RM39,560 fine for the 100-day delay was not imposed on the contractor. This is a loss to the state government.
However, a reply received from the GTWHI on Sepr 8 this year said it had taken actions to further improve on the appointments of contractors.
It also said that the official involved in the preservation of the Protestant Cemetery project had been served with a notice by the general manager on Aug 30 this year.
When contacted, GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee told the New Straits Times that she was currently overseas and would comment once she obtained the formal version of the report from the Auditor General.
The George Town World Heritage site measures 259.42ha with 5,013 buildings. A grant, totalling RM11.72 million, from 2014 until 2016 had been utilised for the management, monitoring and promotion of the George Town World Heritage site.