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January 27, 2023

Court of Accounts report accuses manner in which reserve funds were spent

Premiers Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and Emil Boc allegedly used the emergency funds for other purposes.

‘Adevarul’ daily wrote yesterday that a Court of Accounts report authored at the end of last year shows that the Budgetary Reserve Fund (FRB) and the Intervention Fund (FI) that the Government has at its disposal were spent irrationally during the Tariceanu and Boc Governments by being used to pay for gift coupons, construction of churches and fictitious works. According to the aforementioned source, the auditors noticed that the Funds’ initial character as reserve funds meant to be used only if needed in case of urgent or unforeseen events was lost. Another conclusion of the report was that most of the times the special funds were earmarked on the basis of political criteria.

While in 2007, back when the Government was led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the Reserve Fund grew 22 times over the size initially stipulated (RON 128 M or EUR 36 M), in 2008, during the same Government, the Fund grew 593 times from RON 6.2 M (EUR 1.5 M) to RON 3.6 bln (EUR 900 M). The Intervention Fund reported significant hikes as well. According to the Court of Accounts, the government decisions through which the funds were earmarked failed to observe the law. The funds were also distributed through emergency ordinances, a manner not provisioned by law.

The actions noted by the Court of Accounts report fall under the jurisdiction of the Penal Code: illegal payments for fictitious works, the procurement of inexistent materials (in Alba, Prahova and Tulcea Counties) and the changing of the financing’s purpose (in Botosani, Buzau and Ialomita Counties). In some cases the special funds were used to pay for gift coupons offered to the employees of various state institutions (in Alba and Tulcea Counties).

The report noted that monitoring and control were basically inexistent. The report’s general conclusion was that the management of public funds was not transparent and lacked clear criteria for evaluating the necessity of earmarking funds.

The Court of Accounts inspectors have recommended a series of measures, including the establishment of clear earmarking procedures, respecting the stages provisioned by law when it comes to adopting government decisions, monitoring the way the funds are spent, point-by-point financings following the evaluation of their urgent character, filling out the legislative vacuum in what concerns earmarking funds from the FRB and the FI.

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