Municipal audits: Spent on employments and seedlings, not known where the money went
Kisela Voda spent most of the money on temporary employment, although there was no need for it. In Makedonski Brod it is not known which clubs the mayor gave money to. Municipality of Bogovinje gave out subsidies to a public company, but it is unclear what the money was spent on
by Svetlana Unkovska
Municipal funds under the control of the State Audit Office. The latest analyses were made in the Municipality of Kisela Voda, Makedonski Brod and Bogovinje for 2017. Kisela Voda spent most of the money on temporary employment, and it is not known why and which non-governmental organizations and sports clubs were financed by the municipality. The same thing happens in Makedonski Brod where it is unknown which clubs the mayor gave money to. The municipality of Bogovinje gave out subsidies to a public company, but it is unclear what the money was spent on. Seedlings were purchased, and there is no sign of them having been planted at all.
Kisela Voda unnecessarily spent over 170 thousand Euros for temporary employment
In 2017 municipality of Kisela Voda spent 10,655,000 denars or just over 170,000 Euros for temporary employment for about 34 people per month, which it hired through the Agency for Temporary Employment, the analysis by the State Audit Office showed. It states that they were engaged neither because of the increased workload, temporarily absent workers, nor for working on projects or seasonal work, but for performing regular work tasks, which is contrary to law. When their legal deadline of one year engagement through the Agency expired, contracts were concluded again.
“In order to comply with the Law on Public Sector Employees and the Law on Temporary Employment Agencies for engaged persons continuously working in the municipal administration, after the expiration of a period of one year, new contracts were concluded and the persons were employed with another title or to another post within the municipal administration”, the SAO report says.
Auditors say that such a way of employing has reduced transparency and subjectivity in the selection of persons who will work, but also their privileged position during the procedure for their engagement.
147 thousand denars or about 2,400 Euros of municipal funds were spent on representations and catering services, but there is no data what exactly the money was actually spent on.
“No explanation has been given on the basis of the representation, i.e. whether it has been spent for official purposes”, the auditors point out.
In 2017 the municipality transferred 89 thousand denars (about 1,500 Euros) to accounts of non-governmental organizations, cultural-artistic associations, citizens’ associations and sports clubs, but there is no valid evidence that the funds were intended and legally used. The municipality has not adopted an act on the manner, the procedure and criteria for financing, and the selection of organizations and clubs, as well as the amount of funds that were awarded, were not carried out by a competent Commission. The funds were paid upon individual requests, without an advertisement, and those who had received the funds did not submit a report on their intended use.
It is similar with paying prizes for talented students, for which 1,150,000 denars (about 18,700 euros) were allocated in 2017, but the audit cannot determine that the funds were used intentionally and legally. A year later, in 2018, instead of the Municipal Council, the new mayor of the municipality of Kisela Voda adopted a procedure for conditions and criteria for awarding prizes for talented students from the primary schools in the Municipality of Kisela Voda.
To maintain the streets in winter conditions, the municipality hired a company through a tender for which 4,000,000 MKD or about 65,000 Euros was paid, although the company did not have a full bank guarantee.
An audit was also carried out on the municipality’s budgeting for which it was concluded that there was no transparency in the process of budget adoption. It also states that in 2017 revenues and expenditures were more than doubled compared to the previous year.
Municipal employee – director of a kindergarten in Makedonski Brod
In the municipality of Makedonski Brod auditors determined that the Council had been adopting decisions detrimental to the property and the municipal funds. This is shown by the latest analysis of the State Audit Office on the municipality’s work for 2017, when by the end of October was the previous mayor, Milosim Vojnovski and Zivko Siljanovski took office on November 2. The audit also states that there is no established system of internal control and control of accounting documentation. The municipality has not provided insurance for the funds it has available, and in the use of the official vehicles there are no orders issued. There is no rulebook for using representations, therefore it is not known who and how much can be spent for representation. Fuel consumption is also unclear.
“No documents have been presented to the audit from which it is possible to perceive the justification of spending the purchased fuel for official vehicles in the total amount of 254 thousand denars. Part of the accounts refer to payment of fuel for the use of vehicles that are not owned by the municipality”, the auditors noted.
A contract on public-private partnership for public lighting was concluded, but although the obligation of the contract was not fulfilled, the municipality did not request either compensation, or extension of the deadline for full implementation of the contract.
“In October 2017, there were several annexes for unforeseen and additional works for construction of objects from the communal infrastructure, concluded after a long period of time from the basic contract and during the election period”, the audit states.
There is also lack of transparency in the allocation of funds to assist sports clubs. 256 thousand denars (about 4,200 Euros) were transferred to football clubs and associations which did not submit reports on how the funds were used. At the same time the money was awarded without an internal act on it, hence there is a suspicion of subjectivity in the decision-making and misuse of funds. During 2017, the account intended for other transfers recorded expenditures of 837 thousand denars in the field of social protection. But out of the projected 13 activities in the social protection program, payments were made only for one-time assistance for a newborn child. The head of the Human Resources Management Department of the municipality, at the same time for a period of less than 2 years, was named as the director of the kindergarten in Makedonski Brod, and the former mayor says that he was appointed to this post due to lack of staff.
In Bogovinje everything was bought without documentation
The audit does not have a favorable opinion about the work of Bogovinje municipality either. In this municipality there is no internal control system for payments, there is no comprehensive and verified payment documentation, no sectors and departments managers, as well as a responsible accountant. There is no Rulebook on the use of funds from the representation, and part of the invoices for performed catering services do not have a proper specification for the expenditures incurred. Payments were made for office supplies, magazines, newspapers, fuels and oils, for maintenance of the street lighting network after invoices which are not supported by the required documentation.
“In the course of 2017, payments were made in the total amount of 2,138,000 denars without supporting documentation for: spent fuel and oil in the amount of 744 thousand denars, for procurement of office supplies in the amount of 509 thousand denars, magazines, newspapers and other publications in the amount of 150 thousand denars, maintenance of other buildings in the amount of 324 thousand denars, representation in the amount of 411 thousand denars according to invoices for catering services, but without description of services and the occasion”, it is stated in the audit.
18 persons were employed in the municipality under the Temporary Employment Agency for over a year, which is contrary to the law. About 5 million denars (81,300 Euros) were paid for these employments. The municipality paid a million denars to the company “Shari” for subsidies, but there is no report on the use of the funds. The decision on the allocation of funds was borne by the mayor, instead of the municipal council. The tenders for winter maintenance of the streets were given to firms that did not deal with it at all.
“In both procedures the selected operators according to the submitted certificates for registered activity from the Central Registry do not have a registered general business clause, and their priority activity is production of metal doors and windows as well as installation of wall and floor coverings, which is not in accordance with the tender documentation”, the auditors found.
The municipality also implemented a public procurement procedure for seedlings, 200 in the amount of 300 thousand denars (5,000 EUR), but instead 180 seedlings were delivered from other types of trees, and there was also a procedure for procurement of seedlings for green areas of a million and 195 thousand denars (about 3,200 Euros), but there is no record of whether and where they were planted.