Insider / ΚΥΠΕ
With the slide of Cyprus in the Corruption Perceptions Index of the World Bank for the perception of the citizens as to whether the public power is used in favor of the public or private interest, the presentation of the Budget of the Audit Office for 2022, the Auditor General Odysseas Michael .
Speaking before the Parliamentary Finance Committee during the discussion of the Service Budget, Mr. Michailidis initially said that worldwide the Audit Services are considered the leaders in the effort of each state to promote and ensure the transparency of accountability in the exercise of public power. and stated that from May 2020 to February 2021, society experienced an unprecedented war against the Service.
He expressed the view that there can be no convincing position on the will to combat corruption and entanglement, without the support expressed in words and proven by deeds, instead of undermining the Audit Office. He added that the aim was to change the image of our country, and as he said, the general statement that there is a will to change is not enough, but we need substantial support in the Service.
On the subject of the Corruption Index, the DISY MPs pointed out that this concerns the perception that the citizens of each country have about corruption and this is influenced by the revelation of scandals. As they reported, if the video of Al Jazeera was not published, then the picture would possibly be positive. They also said that the revelation of a scandal, such as that of Dromolaxia, affects the Government that reveals it and not the Government during which the scandal took place.
Elsewhere in his presentation, referring to the issue of the staff of the Service, Mr. Michailidis referred to unbelievably accumulated distortions, and noted that with the help of the Ministry of Finance the problem of base auditors was solved and soon 20 auditors and 3 auditors will be hired. technical inspection on the basis of the new Service Plans. He also said that in the 2022 budget an attempt is made to solve the problem of multiple levels of hierarchy. To this end, 5 vacancies of Senior First Auditor (Scale A14) are abolished and 2 new positions of Audit Directors (Scale A15) are created, to become a total of 5. Also, 2 new positions of Senior Auditor (A13) are created within the new structure.
Mr. Michailidis said that the Budget for 2022 concerns a total expenditure of 7.3 million euros compared to about 7.5 million euros for 2021, ie reduced by 2.7%. About 92% of the costs relate to staff costs.
The Auditor General then referred to suggestions to the Finance Committee for intervention in serious matters. In particular, he suggested the horizontal cross-cutting of funds related to the purchase of buildings by the state and the granting of sponsorships or the realization of expenses in the form of advertising to any media. As he explained, for these funds that may be related to campaigns, the percentage that will be given to each media should be determined in advance so that these media do not feel that they should be liked by the Government in order to receive the fund as well as the percentage they will receive. He said that the way of distribution of any fund can not be decided ad hoc by Ministries or services and the percentages should not change.
Four of the Presidencies became extraordinary
Another issue raised by Mr. Michailidis was the conversion of four employees of the Presidency into Temporary Employees. For this issue, the AKEL MPs asked the Auditor to mention the names of these employees. However, the names were not revealed at the open session of the Commission, as it was decided that the names will be revealed at the end, with the journalists leaving the room.
Concluding his position, Mr. Michailidis noted that there is an insurmountable need for the reform of Local Government and the reform of the public sector. He stressed that the recruitments should be made with examinations in order to close the tap for the introduction of extraordinary without examinations and which in the end are made permanent. In addition, the leveling of the evaluation of civil servants should be abolished and this should be linked to their objectively measurable performance and performance, while modern tools for measuring and increasing the productivity of each Ministry and each Department should be introduced.
Internal Audit Service
The budget of the Internal Audit Service for 2022, which amounts to 2.5 million euros, was analyzed today before the Finance Committee of the Parliament, which started the discussion of the state budget, by the Internal Audit Commissioner Anna Zavou Christoforou.
Analyzing the budget, Ms. Zavou said that it amounts to € 2,500,055 for 2022, an amount that does not exceed the ceiling set for the Service and is equal to € 2,583,000. In 2021, the approved budget of the Service amounted to € 2,639,477. Actual expenses until October 11, 2021 amounted to € 1,449,127.
Salaries amount to € 1,826,865 compared to € 1,760,082 in 2021, rents for 2022 remain at € 209,200, the service market amounts to € 330,000 compared to € 315.00. The budget for trainings / conferences amounts to € 31,510 for 2022, significantly reduced compared to 2021 which was € 270,000. Examination costs amount to € 20,000 compared to € 9,000 in 2021, the amount for technical assistance reaches € 30,000 compared to € 25,000 in 2021 and operating costs are budgeted at € 52,480 compared to € 51,195 in 2021.
Explaining the role of the Agency, it was mentioned that the Agency functions as the Central Authority for conducting Internal Audit in the Public Service as well as the independent audit authority for a number of programs co-financed by EU funds and other Financial Mechanisms in the country.
The mission of the Service is to provide independent, objective and consulting internal control activity, designed to add value to the audited body by improving the operation of management and control systems and the effectiveness of risk management and governance procedures as well as compliance with the Regulatory Framework. regarding the control of the Programs co-financed by EU funds and other Financial Mechanisms in Cyprus.