Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2012) - The Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Tony Babauta, has authorized a Technical Assistance grant in the amount of $110,500 to recruit a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

The request comes as part of a coordinated effort of the RMI's Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) and the Ministry of Finance in their attempts to bolster and improve on-going reviews of alleged fraud and embezzlement of public funds.

"I am pleased to be supporting efforts to improve the RMI's capacity to reduce the incidence of fraud and implement processes that prevent it from occurring in the first place. I commend President Loeak and the RMI leadership for emphasizing the development of effective protocols for carrying out fraud investigations and unethical conduct," said Babauta.

"Additionally, this assistance is in-line with discussions I have had with the Department of the Interior's Office of the Inspector General and our concerns for adequate oversight of the use of Federal grant funds," he added.

The Technical Assistance grant will assist the OAG in developing a comprehensive approach to its review process and strengthen investigations through CFE expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence.  Additionally, the staff of the OAG will receive needed hands-on training in order to better recognize "red flags", weaknesses in internal controls and procedures that may leave the RMI Government open to fraud, waste and abuse of public funds.  Improved procedures and training to build the capacity of the local workforce will help to ensure that improved processes continue as part of the normal course of daily activities.