Audit authority found violations of law at Foreign Ministry

In general, Slovakia handled the EU Presidency well, assessed the Supreme Audit Office.

The ceremonial launch of the Slovak presidency's logo. The ceremonial launch of the Slovak presidency's logo. (Source: Sme)

Slovakia’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2016 (SK PRES) was successfully managed. However, auditors have revealed shortcomings in accounting, public procurement, and in the publication of addenda to contracts in the Central Register of Contracts, the spokesperson for the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) Daniela Bolech Dobáková informed on Monday, February 19. The ministry announced that in response to the findings it has already implemented measures in order to remove the shortcomings and ensure they are not repeated in the future.

“The Accounting Act was violated when several invoices and relevant documents regarding the scope and prices of services provided were not attached,” the NKÚ wrote in its press release, as cited by the SITA newswire. “Auditors found at the Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, among other things, shortcomings in transparency of awarding contracts.”

In two cases, contracts for work worth €9,000 euros were concluded only verbally, which harms transparency and influences the accuracy of outlining the duties of the contracted parties.

In organising the event ‘Europe in Slovakia’, the presentation of the SK PRES logo, it was necessary to conclude several contracts, which could have had a negative impact on the total amount of funds spent on the event, according to the NKÚ.

When examining this event organised by the Evka agency, the NKÚ was not able to ascertain why it was this agency that won the order.

“Submitted concepts elaborated by three companies could not be objectively evaluated as these were proposals of varying idea solutions for this event,” the NKÚ wrote.

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It further notes that the Foreign Ministry has failed to prove unequivocally that it adhered to the principles of transparency and cost-effectiveness when handling public finances, by failing to provide detailed documentation from the contractors for some of the events.

“Several invoices did not specify prices for actual delivered services which concerned the Slovak National Theatre (SND) and the companies KINEMATOGRAF and La Idea, some contracts were not concluded sufficiently in advance, some lacked detailed specification of the subject of the contract, or the content of the contract was not clear. The NKÚ published its complete final report from the audit of SK PRES on Monday 20th February.

The Foreign and European Affairs Ministry fully cooperated with the Supreme Audit Office during its audit of Slovakia’s 2016 Council of the EU presidency and has been implementing its findings in its activities, ministry spokesman Peter Susko told the TASR newswire.

“The ministry provided full cooperation with the NKU while the audit was being carried out, including the submission of relevant documents and the elucidation of individual activities,” said Susko. “Based on the NKÚ recommendations, the ministry approved, within the given deadline, appropriate measures that are due to be introduced into its internal processes in order to prevent future recurrences of formal and administrative shortcomings discovered in the audit.”

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