EMPLOYEES of the Office of the Main Auditor of Košice Region have confirmed corrupt and wasteful spending of €79,000 at a Košice school.

The audit report confirms the claims of Oto Žarnay, a teacher at the Business Academy in Polárna Street in Košice, that the school wasted €79,000, and not a mere €2,400, as was stated by a previous audit organised by regional governor Zdenko Trebuľa (Smer party).

Neither the school nor the region has commented on the audit report, the Sme daily wrote on February 18. Žarnay said he is now waiting to see who will be held accountable for the wasteful spending, which involved a former colleague of the regional head of the schools’ department.

The audit examined Žarnay’s allegations. He blew the whistle on non-transparent spending and nepotism in May 2013, and lost his job in September, allegedly due to organisational reasons, the SITA newswire reported.

Žarnay brought attention to a contract with a Košice lawyer who charged €550 a month for her services, according to Sme. The first audit showed that the competition for legal services held by the school was done within the financial limits. The school was allowed to use state money for common expenses, including external legal services. According to the first audit, only €2,400 of €12,000 was used non-transparently. The school had until October 30 to fix the errors found in the audit, SITA wrote.

Regional deputies accepted the proposal of Rudolf Bauer, a regional parliament deputy (and a candidate in last year’s regional governor race, according to Sme) who wanted the chief inspector to re-examine the case and look into whether the school had observed the labour legislation. He said the report does not state which services the school paid for, and criticised the inspectors for not looking into whether the external legal services were actually necessary, and whether the headmaster, Peter Ivan, was entitled to issue an internal regulation stipulating that teachers do not have the right to receive overtime pay or rewards for substituting their colleagues’ classes, which he later dismissed, SITA wrote. Bauer also submitted a proposal to dismiss Ivan from his post, but the deputies rejected this.

Košice Region spokesperson Zuzana Bobríková told SITA that the headmaster will be held accountable and disciplined as is usual in similar cases. Bobríková added that it is common for errors to appear during public procurement, and that changing to a more central organisation of public tenders is being considered. The main auditor, Vojtech Farkaš, is not considering filing a criminal complaint, saying that he sent the audit report to the Financial Audit Administration in Košice instead.

(Source: SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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