In the context of the press release distributed on August 29 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI), picked up by some media sources, the Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova (CoARM) comes with clarifications regarding the audit recommendation, which is referred to in the MAFI’s press release.
In the Compliance Audit Report on the granting of compensation and humanitarian aid to farmers affected by natural disasters on the 2020 harvest, approved throughout the Decision No. 64 from December 22, 2022, the Court of Accounts submitted the next recommendation to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry “when developing new regulations, to include in the files the documents certifying the ownership or use of agricultural lands, in order to ... exclude the risk of double granting of subsidies/compensations, including to the owners and managers of agricultural lands”.
This recommendation derives from the finding regarding the imperfection of the normative framework, which does not provide for the requirement to present confirmatory documents regarding the ownership or use of land when requesting compensation. The presentation of the confirmatory documents would allow the verification of whether the respective land is owned or is used by third parties in various forms (lease). The stated situation may create conditions for the emergence of the risks of double payment from the state budget of compensations for the same areas for the same purposes, the requests for granting financial aid being submitted by both the owner and the real user thereof.
We mention that initially, according to point 6 of the G’sD no. 582/2020, one of the conditions to benefit from the respective aid was that the agricultural producer "owns or uses the land", which could be confirmed by the documents certifying the right of ownership or use. Later, these conditions were replaced with the following criteria: "to actually own or process the agricultural lands that were affected by the natural calamities provided for in this Regulation", being materialized the risk identified during the audit.
The Court of Accounts specifically mentions that the audit recommendations aim to achieve the final objective - avoiding situations of risk of double payment of compensations, and the identification of the instruments and actions through which the audit recommendation is to be implemented is the exclusive competence of the audited entity, in the given case - of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry.