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CoARM reports on the management of public funds during the pandemic period, examined by the profile Committee

  • 15.09.2021
  • 2457

The Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova (CoARM) presented today, September 15, in the Parliamentary Public Finances Control Committee (PFCC), the results of two audit reports, namely, the Audit Report on the compliance of management and use of resources for health preventing and combating the spread of COVID-19 infection and the Financial Audit Report of the Supplementary Grant to the Project “Emergency Response to COVID-19 in the Republic of Moldova”.

During the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee, Marina Covali, Member of the CoARM and the auditors involved in the audit, presented the results and findings found in the above-mentioned audit reports.

According to the findings of the reports, given the epidemiological context and the importance of taking timely measures dictated by the dynamics of the evolution of the national and international epidemiological situation, determined by the spread of Covid-19 virus, the authorities have established procedures to facilitate public procurement, including derogations from the legal framework. Thus, in order to ensure the continuity of the provision of sufficient and qualitative medical services, it was disposed that medical institutions independently purchase, by concluding low value contracts, goods, works and services to reduce the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The public procurement necessary for the prevention and control of Covid-19 infection was carried out through two complex processes, including the procurement by the Center for Centralized Public Procurement in Health and public medical institutions that include institutions with separate attributions and responsibilities, as well as with different levels and subordinations.

During the compliance audit of the management and use of health resources to prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 infection, some difficulties and non-compliances were found in the process of public procurement of goods to prevent and combat this infection. Thus, the audit verified the management processes of public financial means used in the public procurement system at all levels, in the amount of 347.3 million lei.

Emerging from the evolution of the pandemic situation under the pressure of the effects produced and the financial constraints, the financial means amounted to 147.0 million lei were not sufficient to provide the medical system with protective equipment during the 3 months of the declared state of emergency. Thus, within the procurement procedures were purchased small quantities of equipment, namely, 11.7 million units less compared to the estimated need of 13.4 million pieces. Consequently, by way of derogation from the legal framework, it was disposed that medical institutions should independently conduct public procurement procedures for medicines, protective equipment and other medical products to combat the pandemic.

In the public procurement procedures of protective screens and respirators it was found that the working group within the public contracting authority did not negotiate the offer of the economic operator, in particular - the price, requirements of the Regulation on public procurement using the negotiation procedure. This situation determined the inefficient use of financial means amounted to 7.7 million lei.

At the same time, there were some deficiencies in the process of centralized procurement of protective equipment, generated by the urgent need to contract goods, as well as the complex system of collecting needs from medical institutions. So,

  • the contracting of 90.0 thousand overalls and suits of maximum protection in the amount of 6.4 million lei, was carried out in the absence of the needs submitted by the medical institutions;
  • the modification of the needs and the increase by 75.0 thousand of the quantities of overalls and suits of maximum protection initially presented by the medical institutions, not being argued and documented this aspect;
  • within the procurement procedure of respirators, gloves, protective screens, it is found that more than 3 months have elapsed since the request for these necessities and until the award of public procurement contracts. As a result, the realization and capitalization of the contract was not ensured by requesting 4.5 million gloves and respirators amounted to 8.4 million lei.
  • the process of awarding and contracting medical supplies (17.08.2020) was carried out after 3 months from the request and the collection of needs from medical institutions (27.05.2020). Also, it was found that the goods were not valued in the amount of 13 million lei, due to the late conclusion of the contracts, non-solicitation by the medical institutions of the contracted goods, as well as the reason that economic operators at that time did not have them in stock.

The audit also identified deficiencies at the stage of making and delivering medical devices. Thus, although the mobile radiography units were requested to be purchased in an emergency regime, the economic operators delivered these medical equipment for 14 district medical institutions with delay, not being calculated and collected the regularly penalties (100.0 thousand lei).

The findings of the audit stated the need to intensify internal control processes, especially for public procurement, at all stages and for all public entities involved in the process, with the development of a systemic action plan, which would reduce possible risks and non-compliances.

Concerning the Financial Audit Report of the Supplementary Grant to the Project “Emergency Response to COVID-19 in the Republic of Moldova” the audit did not identify significant deviations from the established requirements. All records were confirmed by primary documents, including annexes thereto, which confirm the purchase, delivery, receipt and distribution of the goods necessary for the protection and prevention from the COVID-19 infection.

The Court of Accounts found that the financing institutions reflected correctly and faithfully in the reports on the execution of the Compulsory Health Insurance Funds and the financial reports of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection the means allocated for the emergency procurement of the tests for detection of COVID-19 and protective equipment.

We mention that, in the context of the pandemic situation and the expenditures made in connection with its evolution, between the Republic of Moldova and the International Development Association, part of the World Bank Group, was concluded an Additional Financing Agreement for the Project “Emergency Response to COVID-19 in the Republic of Moldova ”, being allocated the amount of 3.48 million US dollars.

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