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Housing construction project for socially vulnerable groups, examined at the meeting of the Court of Accounts

  • 16.07.2021
  • 463

On July 16, the Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova examined during an online meeting the Compliance Audit Report on the implementation of the Housing Construction Project for the socially vulnerable groups.

The purpose of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance on the compliance of the implementation of the Housing Construction Project for the socially vulnerable groups.

In order to achieve the proposed goal and accumulate sufficient and adequate evidence, checks were performed at the Implementation Unit of the Housing Construction Project for Socially Vulnerable Groups within the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment and the II level Local Public Administration (LPA), participants in the Project. Also, information from the Public Services Agency and from the information system of the State Fiscal Service was analyzed.

The project aimed to build about 700 social housing units for 2,500 people from poor and vulnerable families, who are unable to access satisfactory living conditions, as well as young families with children.

The total cost of the Project amounted to 21.3 million euros or 426.0 million lei. The Project involved 3 private partners in the objectives of Briceni, Nisporeni and Ialoveni districts, which in collaboration with nominated LPAs, brought financial and non-financial contribution in the form of unfinished buildings or land, ultimately benefiting from housing in built-up buildings.

According to the Implementation Unit of the Housing Construction Project’s information, during 2013-2021, 14 II level LPAs participated in the Project, one being excluded along the way, being completed 525 social housing units in 11 districts. Currently, 121 homes are under construction within the Rezina district and Cimișlia district.

Generalizing the findings and conclusions formulated in the audit process, the following identified non-compliances are presented:

The audit attests to ambiguities of the normative framework, as well as the lack of mechanisms related to the implementation process of the Project, which conditioned the distribution of social housing to beneficiaries who do not meet the criteria established by the legal framework.

Insufficient monitoring by the responsible persons within the Implementation Unit of the Housing Construction Project determined the reception and payment of some unexecuted construction works, in 4 out of 6 verified cases. Thus, works not executed and confirmed by the contractor were found to be unexecuted in a total amount of 85.0 thousand lei at the objective in Briceni district, as well as works that the contractors claim to have executed in a total amount of 159.5 thousand lei, but which were not actually found by the audit team at 4 objectives, including: in Briceni district - 40.3 thousand lei; in Călărași district - 78.9 thousand lei; in Singerei district - 23.1 thousand lei and in Soroca district - 17.2 thousand lei;

The committees within the II level LPAs that participated in the Project, in the evaluation of the applications for social housing, in some cases, did not comply with the legal provisions, benefiting from housing ineligible persons, who have considerable salary incomes and own real estate

The Nisporeni District Council, contrary to the legal provisions, as well as contrary to the purpose of the Project, distributed in 2018, as an exception, 5 social housing to officials with management positions within the budgetary entities in Nisporeni district, they are not eligible according to income criteria and regarding the lack or existence of real estate

Contrary to the legal provisions, in 16 cases out of the 139 verified, the Commissions within Briceni district (4 cases), Singerei district (2 cases), Nisporeni district (3 cases) and Soroca district (7 cases) distributed social housing to some beneficiaries, who did not meet the eligibility criteria;

The legal framework does not provide for regular monitoring of the economic and social conditions of people who have benefited from social housing. As a result, the audit found that in 30 cases out of the 139 examined, the beneficiaries and their family members, after receiving the social apartments, obtained incomes that are above the limit established by the legal framework as well as obtained real estate (land, apartments).

The accounting services within 5 II level LPAs did not ensure the compliant registration in the accounting records of the value of the social housing received in ownership

The Briceni District Council did not review and adjust the conditions of the collaboration and joint investment contract concluded with the private partner, as a result making additional expenses in the total amount of 765.9 thousand lei.

The Court of Accounts notes that, although the purpose of the Project to ensure access to social housing for vulnerable and low-income families throughout the Republic of Moldova was generally achieved, the organization, implementation and monitoring of its implementation was carried out in some cases with the non-compliance with the legal provisions, which affected the objectives of the Project, the public interests, as well as the compliant accounting of the public patrimony. Thus, summarizing the findings and conclusions, the CoARM submitted recommendations for remedying the vulnerabilities identified during the audit.

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