Recently Released Report

Controls Over Check Writing


This report informs you of our findings and recommendations for the controls over check writing in the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department). The objective of our review was to evaluate the internal controls related to third-party drafts (TPDs) and convenience checks.
We evaluated these programs because of allegations of theft in the TPD program at Great Sand Dunes National Park near Mosca, CO. Our evaluation included TPD and convenience check programs at the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service (NPS), and Bureau of Reclamation.

By law, the Department must pay invoices by electronic funds transfer. There are times, however, when the law allows payments by convenience checks connected to U.S. Government charge card accounts. Until the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011, some bureaus used TPDs to make these payments.

We found that NPS' TPD program had weaknesses in its policy and procedures and its implementation that included improper oversight and segregation of duties. Given our concerns about control weaknesses and allegations of fraud in the TPD program, we support NPS' decision to discontinue the program. With NPS discontinuing its TPD program, all bureaus now use convenience checks connected to Government charge card accounts under certain circumstances. The policy and procedures for the convenience check program are stronger than those that existed in the TPD program. We did find, however, opportunities to further strengthen the convenience check program.

Read the complete report here.