Failure to Maintain Accountability over Physical Assets
micropurchase limit were not properly authorized. To test for proper authorization, we looked for evidence of prior approval, such as a contract or other requisition document. For purchases above the micropurchase threshold, we also required evidence that the cardholder either solicited competition or provided reasonable evidence for deviation from this requirement, such as sole source justification.
Of the 34 transactions that failed proper authorization, 10 transactions lacked evidence of competition. For example, one Army cardholder purchased computer equipment totaling over $12,000 without obtaining and documenting price quotes from three vendors as required by the FAR. The purchase included computers costing over $4,000 each, expensive cameras that cost $1,000 each, and software and other accessories—items that are supplied by a large number of vendors. In another example of failed competition, one cardholder at DHS purchased three personal computers totaling over $8,000. The requesting official provided the purchase cardholder with the computers’ specifications and a request that the item be purchased from the requesting official’s preferred vendor. We found that the cardholder did not apply due diligence by obtaining competitive quotes from additional vendors. Instead, the cardholder asked the requesting official to provide two “higher priced” quotes from additional vendors in order to justify obtaining the computers from the requesting official’s preferred source. In doing so, the cardholder circumvented the rules and obtained the items without competitive sourcing as required by the FAR.
Lack of independent receipt and acceptance. As shown in table 3, we projected that 30 percent of the purchases above the micropurchase threshold did not have documented evidence that goods or services ordered and charged to a government purchase card account were received by someone other than the cardholder.
Our testing28 of a nonrepresentative selection of accountable and pilferable property acquired with government purchase cards found that agencies failed to account for 458 of the 1,058 accountable and pilferable property items we tested. The total value of the items was over $2.7 million, and the
28 We performed work to determine whether accountable property totaling $350 or more and pilferable items that could be easily converted to personal use were accounted for and could be located. For details on our methodology, refer to app. II.
GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards