Financial Management:

BIA's Tribal Trust Fund Account Reconciliation Results

AIMD-96-63: Published: May 3, 1996. Publicly Released: May 3, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) efforts to reconcile and certify tribal trust fund accounts.

GAO found that: (1) BIA has spent over $21 million over 5 years in its attempts to reconcile and certify Indian trust fund accounts; (2) BIA and its reconciliation and certification contractors modified their contracts and procedures numerous times because of missing records, lack of an audit trail, and cost and time constraints; (3) in January 1996, BIA provided each tribe with a report package on the results of the reconciliation procedures performed; (4) BIA did not fully disclose in the report which procedures specified in the reconciliation contract were not performed, scope limitations, or changes in methodologies for procedures that were performed; (5) BIA issued reports to 112 tribes regarding their portions of multitribe judgment awards for claims against the federal government, but may not issue reports to all tribes involved because some are no longer recognized by the federal government and it may not be able to locate the tribes or their descendants; and (6) at a February 1996 meeting with BIA, tribal representatives expressed concerns about the adequacy of the reconciliation objectives and scope, the effect of missing documents on account balance accuracy, and the thoroughness of procedures for accuracy testing.

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