Oct 20 2011
Pacific Daily News - by Steve Limtiaco
The University of Guam returned nearly $37,000 in federal grant money after several employees allegedly falsified time reports in connection with a grant from the National Science Foundation to renovate the university's herbarium.
One university employee was fired and others were either reprimanded or suspended in connection with the incident, according to the university.
The university has added layers of grant training and oversight as a result of the incident.
The problem at the university happened more than two years ago, but it was noted in a recent semiannual report by the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General, and confirmed yesterday by university spokeswoman Cathleen Moore-Linn.
According to the inspector general's office, it received a report that a university employee who had been working on a National Science Foundation grant had quit, but continued to receive a salary through the grant.
After being contacted by the Inspector General's office, the university conducted its own investigation and "determined that the subject had been paid for five months after she quit, that two other employees erroneously charged time to the grant, and that a third employee created false time and effort reports to support the fraudulently claimed time," the report states. It does not name the employees involved or their positions.
The employee who created the false time reports was fired and the university returned all of the improperly charged salary and related indirect costs, according to the inspector general's office. The university returned $36,863.
Findings given to FBI
Moore-Linn said the university conducted its internal review in January 2010, and employees were either terminated, reprimanded or suspended, "depending on the severity of the act."
As far as the employee who quit is concerned, the university reported its findings to the Federal Bureau of Investigation late last year, Moore-Linn said.
Moore-Linn said the grant was for the renovation of the Herbarium, which specializes in research on the insular flora of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia and contains over 57,000 specimens. The project was completed, she said.
"UOG has developed a corrective action plan, which was submitted to the (National Science Foundation), but is broader in scope than this investigation," Moore-Linn said. "The plan includes policy and procedures review and revision, external review by a third party, and federal grant compliance training, and oversight and compliance management. The plan was developed in order to ensure compliance on grants."