The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) has qualified his audit opinion on the regularity of the National Employment Savings Trust Corporation’s 2012-13 Annual Report and Accounts, on the ground that the Corporation incurred fraudulent expenditure in the year.
A small number of payments to a supplier were fraudulently diverted, resulting in a loss of £1.446 million being incurred by the Corporation. The fraud was of a type known as a mandate fraud and was directed at the Corporation. The Corporation has explained the circumstances of the fraud, including the fact that no money was taken from Pension Scheme members’ retirement pots, in the governance statement in its annual report (section 4.17).
The C&AG considers the fraud led to a material loss of public funds and that the circumstances that gave rise to this fraud were a significant control failure for the Corporation. He has concluded that the expenditure incurred in respect of the fraud has been used for purposes other than that intended by Parliament, and is, therefore, irregular.
The C&AG does also recognize that the Corporation has undertaken the necessary work to investigate the incident and initiated steps to strengthen controls over the payment process.