Audit Office found no crime, but flaws in Slovakia’s EU Council’s presidency

NKÚ announced that there were no crimes committed by the Slovak organisers of the country’s presidency of EU Council, but added mistakes were made, including incomplete invoices, flawed accountancy and a formal financial inspection.

Federica Mogherini and Miroslav Lajčák at their joint press conference in Bratislava, during Slovak presidency of EU Council.Federica Mogherini and Miroslav Lajčák at their joint press conference in Bratislava, during Slovak presidency of EU Council. (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

The Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) did not reveal any suspicions of committed crimes when checking Slovakia’s EU Council presidency, said its head Karol Mitrík on December 18.

The office found several mistakes, though, Mitrík added, as quoted by the TASR newswire. NKÚ completed one part of the audit at the Foreign Ministry led by Miroslav Lajčák, he added. Checks are still taking place at the Environment Ministry.

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For example, the invoices did not contain all items and attachments. It seems that the law on accountancy was violated and the basic financial inspection was only formal, Mitrik added.

A number of errors could have been avoided, which would have made preparations for the presidency in the second half of 2016 more transparent. “We didn’t find any facts at the Foreign Ministry that would have led to the suspicion of a criminal offence, but I don’t deny that there were errors and mistakes,” the head of the audit office said.

The mistakes and neglect of FAM

NKÚ found that invoices for individual contracts did not always properly observe the requirements, for example. “It turns out that the law on accounting was violated,” Mitrík explained.

Moreover, according to NKU, basic financial checks at the ministry demonstrate signs of great formality. “Therefore, if basic financial checks at the ministry had been working at 100 percent, such documents couldn’t have gotten into the accounting process,” he added.

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The audit office recommends that the Foreign Ministry take several measures. For example, it should make sure that addenda to contracts always contain detailed price specifications for goods and services, and part of the invoicing to be a signed copy of the original contract with addenda and supplements. The legal clarity of contracts and contractual relations should be secured, as well as the effective functioning of an internal control system – and not merely a formal one.

Neither were the contractual relations determined transparently, the head of NKÚ noted, adding that only framework contracts were concluded with very specific conditions, one or two bidders and in practice, these conditions were not fulfilled in the end.

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