Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (335)

Niall Collins


335. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52408/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development was established on 19th July 2017. The Department issued two corporate credit cards in June 2018; one to the Minister's Office and the second for use by the Department's Finance Unit. Total expenditure on the cards amounted to €7,777.12 in 2018 and €19,621.92 to date in 2019. No interest expense has accrued to date as the account has been cleared on a monthly basis.

Robust internal financial control procedures are in place in the Department to ensure that expenditure on departmental credit cards is strictly limited to official expenditure in accordance with a departmental credit card policy. Approval is required from the relevant budget holder prior to incurring expenditure. Credit card statements are closely monitored to ensure that cards are used for official purposes only and that any expense is necessarily incurred in the performance of official duties. Receipts are retained and matched against individual credit card transactions following receipt of the monthly statement. Finally, credit card expenditure is subject to both internal audit, and external audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

With regard to agencies of the Department, the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies requires that effective systems of internal financial controls are established as part of governance arrangements within each body. This requirement has been brought to the attention of agencies under the aegis of the Department. In line with the Code of Practice, the development of and compliance with effective internal control procedures, including policy on credit card expenditure, is a matter for each agency.