A University of Washington audit has uncovered at least $74,000 in falsified expenses, fake receipts and fake expense reports in a UW program on global health that operates in Africa, the state auditor reported Monday.
The investigation was initiated by the UW’s executive director of internal audit, and involved the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH), a program in the UW’s Department of Global Health.
The university found that two finance assistants in Tanzania recorded falsified expenses and inserted fake receipts to misappropriate funds through travel advances at I-TECH Tanzania. The misappropriation totaled $18,358. Another $9,807 in questionable transactions was identified, but the auditor could not determine if a misappropriation occurred, according to the report
I-TECH was able to recover the money, but decided not to pursue legal action because of the length of time it would take to prosecute the case in the local legal system.
Separately, the auditor found that the financial accountant at I-TECH Namibia recorded fake vendor expenses so that she could wire payments to herself and family members. The fraud led to a loss of $56,000.
That case has been referred to the Namibian court system, and a trial is underway.
State auditor Troy Kelley has recommended that the UW strengthen internal controls over travel advances and wire payments. The UW must also submit restitution agreements to the state auditor and state attorney general, as is required by state law.