“The Foundation should completely change its governance culture by applying the good practices and procedures required by the rules of good administration and sound financial management”, the Audit Office states in its Special Report on “Radio Foundation – Cyprus Foundation year that ended on 31.12.2019 “, which, among other things, identifies a scandalous case of embezzlement of public money.
Although the RIK continues to depend, to a large extent, on state sponsorship and although staff costs form a large part of its budget and studies show the need to reduce it, the RIK “not only does not take action to address the problem, but on the contrary it acts in a way that constantly inflates the problem and in fact without observing the good practices and procedures required by the principles of good administration and good financial management “, states in its general conclusions the EV.
From the audit we also found that RIK, in many cases, presents weaknesses and omissions in terms of compliance with the relevant legislation / Regulations, she adds.
Below are the most important findings of the audit:
Delay in submitting financial statements for the year. Working capital deficit of € 7.43 million and total liabilities exceeding total assets by € 131.65 million. These data show that the Foundation's ability to continue as an ongoing activity is based on the continuation of state sponsorship. Rapid annihilation of the value of the Pension Fund and creation of an actuarial deficit on 31.12.2019 amounting to € 125.6 million. No action taken, based on the recommendations of the study conducted for the Strategic and Business Planning for RIK.
On the contrary, the Foundation takes actions in the exact opposite direction, such as:
Signing of agreements with the Trade Unions of RIK employees for:
-Upgrading of the ranks of permanent employees who hold university qualifications regarding the duties of their position from the scale A4-7 (ii) to the scale A8-10-11 or A9-11-12.
– Inclusion of all Indefinite Full Time Associates (SSC) with university degree and / or professional title in the scale A8-10-11 or A9-11-12, in exchange for vacant permanent positions or as supernumerary and upgrade of employees of indefinite time who hold a diploma of at least three years of study in the scale A5 + 2nd degree-7-8 (i).
-Providing the possibility to RIK to renew the employment contracts of fixed-term employees. In the event that these individuals become SSC, then they will have the same treatment in the new organization chart as the existing SSC, as provided in the agreement of 27.10.2020.
-Creating new positions and committing to request an exemption from the ban on filling vacancies for promotion.
According to the approved Budget of RIK for the year 2021, the organic positions of the Foundation increased from 181 in 2020 to 266 and most of the positions were upgraded. With the commitment to fill the 29 permanent vacancies immediately and the creation of 20 additional promotion positions (A11 (ii) and A12 (ii)) (a total of 49 promotion positions) it is obvious that very soon, dozens of SAHs serving in the position of Assistant Officer of scale A4-7 (ii) will have been upgraded to scales A8-10-11 or A9-11-12 and many of them to scales A11 (ii) and A12 (ii). This is obviously a scandalous case of embezzlement of public money. At the moment, the Foundation employs 58 journalists / editors who are either permanent employees or employees for an indefinite period of time, new collaborators are constantly being hired as journalists / editors, and in fact with opaque and unacceptable procedures. We record the case of two such recruitments. Non-compliance with Service Forms for Indefinite and Fixed Time Partners. Satisfaction of a request of permanent employees for recognition of their previous service during the period they served as Indefinite Time Partners as retired, with consequent increase of their retirement benefits.
The table below presents the staff employed by the Foundation in recent years (data for December 31 of each year).
The jump in payroll costs by 28% in three years, is typically shown in the graph below.
Incorrect calculation of rest permits. Recruitment of service providers without the announcement of offers. Arrival time of employees:
-Transfer of deficit / surplus time from 2018 to 2019 and use of surplus time on leave of absence.
Irregular distribution of surplus time of 247 hours and 56 minutes of an employee who left RIK as a leave of absence to six employees.
– Non-observance of schedule by all RIK staff
It was found that a senior official A13 (ii) who was seconded to the public, never showed up at work. For the said official, three disciplinary investigations were carried out by the former Board of Directors of RIK, during which he was found guilty but the procedure was not completed. Eventually, not only was he not sentenced by the current Board, but a few days later he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff (A14 (ii)). Overtime and shift allowances:
-Calculation of the amount of hourly compensation paid as shift and / or overtime allowance depending on the degree of the scale, instead of the average hourly compensation of the scale.
-Do not stroke an employee card during their break when leaving and returning to the Foundation.
– Overtime payments to a Senior Officer for the preparation and presentation of a weekly show, without checking the actual hours worked.
Incorrect way of calculating, by some Departments, the hours that are credited to employees who work with the shift system during the days of their absence with sick leave. Payment of shift allowance during business trip flight hours. Marginal benefits:
-An amount of € 146,195 has been paid irregularly to the Management Staff.
-An agreement was signed between RIK and Trade Unions, regarding the final settlement concerning the Marginal Benefits Fund (TFO) (a) for the transfer of the amount of € 3.6 million to the account of the Welfare Fund of RIK Employees (b) exemption of RIK from the accumulated debts to the TPO and this amount to be allocated for the improvement of the working conditions of the employees and (c) inclusion from 1.1.2021 of the indefinite time associates in the existing Welfare Fund of the RIK employees.
Delay in the collection of awarded legal fees, for cases awarded in favor of the Foundation. Lack of transparency and equal treatment for program / show sponsorships. The actors-collaborators of a certain period of time, are treated as fixed-term employees and in their earnings all the foreseen employer contributions and employee cuts are made. Conversion of a contractor with the status of purchase / lease of services to an employee of indefinite duration.