The process of wasting financial resources from the state budget has become a considerable one, however, so far as the ‘responsibilities’ column is concerned, the court hasn’t yet found anyone guilty. There are no minister’s name written on the official reports and this is the reason why no one knows who is responsible for the violations detected by the court.
After the Court of Accounts’ findings, hundreds of resolutions have been made in detecting several violations, however, only nine cases have been handed to the legal authorities, out of which, one has been given to the General Prosecutor’s Office and eight to the Centre for Combating Economic Crime and Corruption. According to the declaration of the Court of Accounts’ President, Ala Popescu, which was made during the July 3 parliament’s plenary meeting, proceedings began in eight criminal cases, while three files are under examination.
The amount of financial violations in 2007 was estimated at 219 million lei, out of which, according to Popescu, only 128 million has been restored following action by the Court of Accounts. “According to the report, the control on the administration of special funds reflects the inefficiency in using public money and the existence of a high degree of fraud. Although collegial fund administration authorities have been established, the transparency in the process of distribution and usage of means is at a low level,” the court’s president mentioned.
Also, according to the document, the volume of payment for the execution titles constituted 18.6 million lei in 2007, out of which 14.4 million lei was used for payment of European Court of Human Rights decisions, is considerable.
Leaders of Violations:
The Ministry of Finance
According to the report, in 2007 government resolutions were issued for the allocation of 62.6 million lei from the government’s Reserves Fund, while the budget limit set by it was of 61 million lei. Certain actions financed from the government’s Reserve Fund with about 2.5 million lei do not correspond to their allocated destination.
The Court of Accounts has also established the violation of the legislation items in the process of allocation of financial resources by the Ministry of Finance on the grounds of some government decisions, approved long time before the approval of these rectifications.
The Court of Accounts has conducted investigations upon the management of funds throughout 2004-2007 (nine months) of six diplomatic delegations: Turkey, China, Latvia, Israel, USA, and the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the UN Office. Later, eight diplomatic delegations in the following countries have been investigated for the period 2005-2006: Russian Federation, Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, General Consulate of the Republic of Moldova to Frankfurt-am-Main, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the Council of Europe and the Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the European Community.
Therefore, according to the report, 11 delegations have not ensured conformity to accounting records, seven delegations have discounted the fuel used for the available means of transport without the route sheets nor the speedometer data to the amount of 773,000 lei, including five missions verified in 2007 at 366,000 lei. At the same time, five delegations spent 483,000 leis on the purchase of material goods and services that were not provided by the established norms, including two delegations verified in 2007 for 213,000 lei.
Another five delegations have admitted cases of unjustified returns of daily fees, transportation and housing expenses, out of which three delegations verified in 2007 the amount of 63,000 lei.
Diplomatic delegations in France, Turkey and China have unjustifiably issued free or reduced cost visas to certain people.
The Ministry of Justice
In 2007, the Ministry of Justice has used, against rules and regulations, special resources in the amount of 7,842,000 lei or 70% of the total resources meant for the central body, for purchase of technical equipment, food products and other goods for which certain institutions have different budgets, approved separately by Law nr. 348-XVI (Department of Penitentiary Institutions – 383,960 lei; courts – 2,091,400 lei; execution Department – 432,900 lei and other institutions subordinated to the Ministry – 524,200 lei).
For the central body’s staff, except the leadership functions (up to 72, 3%), salary categories lower than the ones provided by the personnel have been established. As a result, for the reported period, there was recorded a 485,500 lei saving in the salary fund, as well as from the registered vacant positions – 1,227,000 lei, that were reported as bonuses for the employees, thus revealing the risk of their non-conforming distribution due to the lack of repartition criteria.
The Ministry of Education
Some institutions have not followed the existing legal framework concerning the fee for hostel housing, which generated cashing increased fees from pupils for housing, thus four colleges obtained unauthorised income to the amount of 385,500 lei and six secondary vocational education institutions to the amount of 327,200 lei and lowered fees for five colleges and seven secondary vocational education institutions, resulting in the non-cashing of 590,000 leis and 397,300 leis respectively.
The execution discipline of certain persons in charge, as well as their acts against rules and regulations has caused the non-conform conduct of operations concerning pupils meals. (At Vocational School nr. 10 in Chişinău and at one in Leova City, 265,200 lei and 116,200 lei respectively were collected for fees, supplemented by the students from their allowances, and these are sums that have not been taken as entries at the institution’s cashier and have not been registered in the accounting records, thus being used against regulations).
Asked by Ziarul de Gardă reporters to offer an explanation on the frauds committed within the institutions they are leaders of, the ministers avoided revealing the names of the people responsible for financial abuses.
The ministers avoided giving names
The Minister of External Affairs, Andrei Stratan, has mentioned that MAEIE has an agreement with the Court of Accounts’ management, establishing a calendar of inspections by the court’s examiners of Moldova’s diplomatic delegations. “We are highly interested in knowing the real situation concerning the management of public financial resources. However, no crimes or abuses are committed, just some violations concerning the re-usage of financial resources from one article to another, strictly limited within the financial resources that have been allocated for financing one or another diplomatic delegation.”
According to the Minister of Finance, Mariana Durlesteanu, “the responsibilities of the Court of Accounts is to show the state clerks the drawbacks in records within the execution process. As far as the 2007 budget execution report is concerned, we agree with certain aspects. We have conducted meetings with workers during which we created an action plan to eliminate them. There are no such violations as money disappearance or waste, so there is no need to look for guilty ones,” the minister declared to Ziarul de Gardă.
Valeriu Prohnitchi, executive director of the Expert Group Independent Analytic Center, believes that the public institutions repeat the same mistakes annually and the main cause is the parliament’s political irresponsibility.
“The legislative has all the necessary instruments to request the resignation of the people involved in public funds embezzlements. The legal framework does exist; it is the political responsibility that is lacking, because every year we notice the same ignorance on the part of parliament towards these violations.”
According to the experts from the Center for Corruption Analysis and Prevention, in some states, the Court of Accounts is empowered with jurisdictional functions and may give fines or other sanctions to corrupt clerks. “In Moldova’s case, it seems that the entire executive and legislative committees should be sanctioned, as well as all of the legal authorities: the prosecutor’s office, the justice, the police, the CCCEC, in other words, the ones that have the task to control the unconditioned observance of the law.”
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