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Financial report prepared by the Court of Accounts on the National Agency for Research and Development, audited by the relevant parliamentary committee

  • 17.02.2022
  • 1234

The results of the audit of the financial reports of the National Agency for Research and Development (NARD) concluded on December 31, 2020 were presented by the auditors of the Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova (CoARM), today December 16 in the Public Finance Control Committee (PFCC).

According to the financial reports, the NARD’s budget for 2020 was executed in the amount of 94.7 million lei, the actual expenditures registering 97.2 million lei, and the value of the assets managed on December 31, 2020 amounted to 6.89 million lei.

During the meeting, the CoARM’s auditors reported on the gaps and shortcomings identified during the audit engagement and the context of the contrary opinion. This opinion was determined by the deficiencies found within the financial reports, which affected the balance sheet by 100.3 million lei and the expenses - by 89.5 million lei. The most significant deficiencies identified are:

  • The increase of the value of the expenses related to the scientific research services by 89.51 million lei, determined by the decrease of the value of the capital investments in intangible assets under execution by 88.98 million lei. The decrease was caused by the non-capitalization of the expenses incurred by NARD in conducting scientific research, as well as receivables amounting to 0.53 million lei (ECO 419), the equivalent of non-compliant expenses allowed by self-managed institutions to execute scientific research contracts.
  • The decrease in the value of the “Intangible assets” account by 10.09 million lei, due to the non-capitalization of the expenses incurred by NARD in 2019 concerning the conducting of scientific research by the self-managed institutions that were contracted.
  • The decrease of the value of the lands with the amount of 496.94 thousand lei, as a result of the non-accounting of the land with the surface of 0.3847 acres, from the village of Crihana Veche, Cahul district.

During 2020, within NARD out of 34 approved personnel units, 13 units or 38% were vacant, of which 6.5 units were cumulated, being granted supplements for cumulating in the amount of 420.94 thousand lei, in the absence of tabulation cumulative hours.

At the same time, 11 NARD employees were paid 1322.64 thousand lei from projects financed from external sources, of which 4 people were already ccumulating positions, and 4 people were employed in several projects. We mention that the salary payments were to be calculated, based on the actual working hours worked within the European projects. However, the timetable tables, related to the nominated projects, are of a formal nature and do not allow to establish when the paid activities were carried out (during or over the working hours). Based on the above, there is a risk that some staff units within NARD are exaggerated, that the cumulating of functions is only formally fulfilled and that the remuneration from the sources of projects financed from external sources has been non-compliant.

The insufficiency of an internal managerial control also led to the failure of NARD to ensure the proper registration of public property. thus, NARD took over the management of the building from Crihana Veche village, Cahul district, with a value of 733.8 thousand lei, with an afferent land of 0.38 acres, but did not register in the RER the property/use rights on these goods. It should be mentioned that the respective building is currently in a deplorable condition, with an advanced physical degradation, although NARD incurred expenses for its security in the amount of 107 thousand lei.

The audit expressed reservations about the reality of the expenses incurred for the provision of information services in the amount of 146.6 thousand lei contracted by NARD from the same economic agent, and the annexes to contracts and documents for the provision of services do not expressly indicate what kind of video spots were created/updated, what is their duration and where are these placed.

In this context, we note that the proper accounting of expenditures related to scientific research, namely their capitalization as intangible assets in progress is a simple and effective method of monitoring the impact of research and streamlining the use of public money.

The audit states that, in 2020, the funding of research and innovation projects was carried out by NARD on the basis of methods, techniques, tools and actions that do not fully and exhaustively meet the rigors of a management based on clear rules and procedures, which is coherent, predictable and transparent. Therefore, the deviations and irregularities identified in the external public audit largely indicate an accumulation of shortcomings and dysfunctions in the work of the designated authority.

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