MDA slapped for funds mismanagement

Failed to repay license fees, did not collect production monies

SEOUL -- Singapore's Media Development Authority has been criticized in a government report for failing to correctly administer funds.

The rebuke came in a study by the country's Auditor General's Office which examined six ministries and eight statutory bodies and which was presented to parliament last week.

The report said that the MDA had not refunded S$6 million ($4.1 million) in overpaid and unused radio and TV licenses, and that it had not monitored the compliance of some TV companies with their license conditions. It said that in other cases the MDA had failed to collect another $6.7 million of revenues from 46 completed projects by production companies funded through its Media 21 Blueprint scheme.

The AGO also detailed how the MDA had granted funding to several new media ventures that were founded by, co-owned by or in business with people the MDA employed as mentors, even though mentors' projects were clearly ineligible for funding. It called this a "conflict of interest."

In each instance the MDA agreed to tighten up its procedures.