Saturday, September 25

Accounting errors and “non-existence of data”: the tax auditors doubt the Transparency accounts

“Non-compliance with accounting principles”, costs that “cannot be verified, due to the lack of data” and assets “enjoyed in a precarious situation” that “continue not to be reflected in the accounting” of the organization.

These are the reasons why the auditors of the General Intervention of the State Administration (IGAE) of the Ministry of Finance have introduced exceptions to the latest annual accounts of the Council for Transparency and Good Governance (CTBG). This entity ensures the transparency of public administrations and has been denouncing the lack of material and human resources for years.

In the audit report, to which has had access, dated July 7, the IGAE considers that the CTBG accounts adequately reflect “the true image of the Entity’s equity and financial situation as of December 31, 2020 “. But it has introduced caveats when assessing “non-compliance with accounting principles.”

In the first place, there are costs that “cannot be verified, due to the lack of data”, due to the non-implementation of an analytical accounting system authorized by the Secretary of State for Budgets and Expenditures, called CANOA (Accounting System Standardized Analytics for Administrative Organizations) and that should be implemented in the 2020 financial year. Finally, it was not done “and, therefore, it is not possible to verify the composition or the support of the costs,” says the IGAE.

In its 2020 accounts, Transparency explains that last year it began “to start the implementation” of that system and on November 16 the IGAE “approved the Customization Report of the CTBG Analytical Accounting Model”. It argues that, by virtue of a ministerial order approving the Accounting Instruction for the Institutional Administration of the State, “during the first fiscal year to which the annual accounts refer that include data on the calculation of costs obtained in accordance with As determined by the CANOA System, specified in the Personalization Document of each entity, the presentation of data related to the management indicators included in note 26 of the Report of the Third Part of the General Public Accounting plan will not be mandatory “.

The tax auditors also note that Transparencia has not complied with accounting standards when accounting for the assets transferred by its landlord, the Sociedad Mercantil Estatal de Gestión Inmobiliaria de Patrimonio (Segipsa), dependent on the Treasury and to which it has rented its headquarters since its creation in 2015 in exchange for about 200,000 euros per year.

These are assets “both movable and immovable, enjoyed in a precarious situation” and that “are still not reflected in the Agency’s accounting, a recurring situation in recent years,” says the IGAE. In its accounts, the CTBG explains that the furniture it uses “is considered as part of the lease contract for the headquarters. All these goods in use are endowed with their corresponding label with the bar code and identified, in their nature and location, in the updated list of furniture that exists in the Council “.

Another breach of accounting regulations, always according to the IGAE, is that “the two pictorial works that have been transferred by MUFACE”, the General Mutual Society of State Civil Servants, are still pending evaluation, and that “remain in the inventory of the Council of Transparency and Good Governance “.

In its accounts, the CTBG recalls that in April 2015 it received eleven works on assignment for a period of five years renewable annually. At the end of 2020, it only had two, after returning nine of them to MUFACE in June. As in previous years, “MUFACE has been asked for an economic valuation of the works in order to incorporate it into the entity’s fixed assets.” But “from MUFACE it has been indicated that such an assessment is not possible since these works belonging to its funds come from artistic contests promoted by the entity, lacking economic value”, it indicates in its accounts.

Lack of means

The IGAE already introduced in 2019 exceptions to the accounts of the 2018 council, then related to the incorrect accounting of current and capital transfers charged to Budgets and the lack of internal control mechanisms to account for the funds derived from a collaboration agreement of the organism with the General Administration of the State.

The entity was beheaded for three years, until last October, after the vacancy of its late first president, Ester Arizmendi, was not filled in that period. With a workforce of just 21 employees as of December 31, one less than a year earlier, it has been crying out for years due to insufficient human and material resources, unable to cope with the annual increase in claims they receive, despite the slight drop registered in 2020 for the pandemic.

Its president since October, José Luis Rodríguez Álvarez, denounced in Congress in June the “chronic precariousness” suffered by the CTBG since its creation. Something that, he said, does not affect his impartiality, but does affect his “independence of action”, since it prevents him from effectively carrying out all his functions. He explained that the budget of 2.38 million that the CTBG has is “manifestly insufficient” and that it would be necessary “at least to double the amount.”

“Currently we are twenty-four people, counting the president and two new administrators. It does not take, therefore, a very deep study to realize that the current staff, despite the commitment that all officials have and show every day, that deserves great recognition for its dedication and performance, it is notoriously insufficient for the board to efficiently manage the current workload, “he argued.

Rodríguez recalled that the body lacks a general secretariat or legal cabinet, something “inconceivable considering that its main function is precisely the guarantee of a right, also taking into account the technical complexity of claims and the abundant number of contentious processes to be filed. the ones you have to deal with. ” And he added that this lack of material and personal means “is something that has already been denounced in various reports by relevant national bodies such as the Court of Auditors, supranationals – the European Commission in its report on the rule of law – and international ones, such as the Grupo Greco in its evaluation report of June 2019 “.