The results of the audit of the consolidated financial reports of the Ministry of Environment (MoE) for the year ended December 31, 2021 were examined during the meeting of the Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova, today, June 29.
Following the reorganization of the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment, the Ministry of Environment took over the fields of governmental environmental policy, subordinating 8 institutions, of which 2 institutions are founders of 27 state-owned enterprises and a joint stock company.
In 2021, the MoE and its subordinate institutions managed resources amounting to 282 million lei, expenses and non-financial assets amounting to over 1.6 billion lei, the level of income being 95.5%, of expenses and non-financial assets - 82.1%.
At the same time, according to the balance sheet data, in 2021, the patrimony managed by the MoE had a total value of over 1.7 billion lei, the largest share belonging to buildings.
In the context of the audit, the most significant deficiencies that formed the basis for issuing the qualified audit opinion were:
- the lands of the forest fund and in the field of hydro-improvement, transferred to the management of the state-owned enterprises whose founders are the subordinated institutions, have not been assessed and accounted for in the established manner, the balance of the group of accounts "Shares and other forms of capital participation within the country" being undervalued by over 24.8 billion lei.
- the value of 17 plots of land, with the surface of 25.83 acres in the amount of 48.5 million lei, was not evaluated and was not accounted for;
- the value of 40 plots of land, with a total area of 525.08 acres, was registered illegally in the accounting records, although they belong to third parties;
- the value of 8 real estates was recognized in the accounting records, which belong to third parties according to the documents from the Real Estate Register, amounting to 12.9 million lei, but the norms of recognition and evaluation of real estate were not applied, thus not registering in the accounting records the value of 46 buildings, of which 8 have a cadastral value of over 20.7 million lei.
During the audit mission, some deficiencies were highlighted which, although they do not have a financial impact and did not influence the audit opinion, imply the non-compliance of the activity of registration and administration of public patrimony with the relevant laws and regulations. Thus:
- the non-registration by the MoE of the patrimonial rights on 28 real estates, of which 20 are accounted to the value of 4.1 million lei, as well as on 4 plots of land, presupposes a situation that can affect the integrity of the managed assets or determine their uncontrolled alienation;
- The Inspectorate for Environmental Protection, due to the formation of savings of the salary fund, did not comply with the legal provisions and paid unique prizes amounting to over 2.4 million lei;
- the MoE established the existence of a significant number of unused annual leave days (10903 days), which would impose legal obligations on the staff, which contributes to the emergence of financial commitments in future financial years;
- the MoE does not use 33 information systems worth over 3.6 million lei, and 2 of the total of 149 information systems are non-functional;
- the intersection of the policies in the field of public patrimony management whose responsibility is attributed to the Public Property Agency and of the policies in the field of hydro-improvement, field assigned to the Agency “Apele Moldovei”, by derogation from the general rules, conditioned the “Apele Moldovei” Agency to subsidize with almost 4.8 million lei the state enterprises whose founder is the Public Property Agency;
- the Moldsilva Agency, in the absence of a contract or regulation and without arguing the need for subsidization or proving the monitoring of the destinations of financial resources, allocated to the forestry enterprises, of which it is the founder, the amount of 10.8 million lei.
The principle of performance was not observed when allocating the financial means for making capital expenditures:
- in 2021 from the National Ecological Fund (NEF) was approved for financing the investment project "Creating sustainable solutions for recycling glass shards", amounting to 14 million lei, the beneficiary of which is a public association that did not have an environmental permit for waste management. It was found that the goods were purchased by the public association from the only economic operator participating in the tender procedures, at a much higher price than the purchase price paid by the previous economic agent. At the same time, both the equipment for cleaning and sorting the shards of glass and the special waste collection vehicles are used by the same economic agent, which delivered the goods to the public association, being also the holder of the environmental permit for glass waste management;
- "Apele Moldovei" Agency has not undertaken, for several years, measures to maintain the dams managed by state-owned enterprises of irrigation technology stations, whose founder since 2018 is the Public Property Agency, causing the growth of trees and shrubs on protection dams, which represent the forest fund outside the forest fund. In 2021, the Agency contracted repair works for protection dams worth over 9.9 million lei, of which tree deforestation works worth over 0.3 million lei. As a result of these works, 140 trees with a diameter of 20-100 cm were cut, the collected wood mass not being reflected in the accounting records, and at the time of the audit it was found that it was missing.
The Court of Accounts, on the basis of the audit evidence obtained, made recommendations to the audited entities aimed at improving the areas audited.