Poor oversight and shaky internal controls on the use of government purchase cards to make relief transactions for victims of Hurricane Katrina led to widespread abuse and fraud, according to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.

A series of audits and investigations by the GAO and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General agreed that that although the DHS’s Purchase Card Manual “generally contained” effective control procedures, it was not finalized due to a lack of leadership by the CFO in resolving disagreements over implementation. That subsequently led to DHS cardholders following a number of different procedures.

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