Transferring lands out of nature preservation administrations will significantly affect the state budget
Press Release on completion of the auditing operation No. 06/17
January 3, 2007
The auditing operation carried on by the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) focused on financial managing of national parks and preserved territories. The audit also took aim at fulfilling the tasks set by directions to preserve freely living birds, natural areas, wild animals, and plants that were issued by European Union (EU) to create the “Natura 2000” system. On the bases of mutual agreement, all members of EU were simultaneously audited within the International Organization of Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). Discharging these directions could have a negative influence on state budget expenses of the Czech Republic (CR).
The audited period was defined by years 2000 till 2005, the audited bodies were Ministry of the Environment, Agency for Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection of the Czech Republic (AOPK), as well as administrations of Czech national parks Podyjí, Šumava, České Švýcarsko, and Krkonoše (KRNAP).
„By January 2005, 38 from initially planned 41 bird preservation areas were authorized and declared. By the end of 2004, the government put off dealing the other areas because there were numerous discrepancies among ministries of agriculture, industry and trade, and environment. In connection with this, the European Commission could take steps against the Czech Republic concerning accession agreements failure. In case it is impossible to make up for improvements, there is a danger of a high penalty or the Czech Republic could be fined repeatedly “, said František Dohnal, the president of SAO.
He also added that administrations of the national parks have not so far obtained the competence to manage some state owned lands which involve special preservation care and some lands where natural landmarks are situated. “Some most strictly protected lands were sold to private owners. For example, 5 pieces of land within the Krkonoše area (KRNAP) were signed over to several private legal entities. Transferring lands out of nature preservation administrations will significantly affect the state budget considering the state duty to compensate for agricultural or forest management difficulties“, said Dohnal.
Faults were detected in managing the organizations themselves. For example, the administration of the national park Podyjí invested more that a quarter of a million on their vehicle operating in 2004 and 2005, but at the same time, they did not ensure demonstrability of these expenses as they did not keep records of journeys. In comparison, the administration of KRNAP has not followed the public order placement law since 2003 as they made a replicate contract with indeterminate duration with providers of cross-country motor cars in 2003 – without a competition of tenders.
„The contract did not involve any specific amount of financial discharge, which would be fundamental when choosing the form of placing the order. On the basis of this contract, the KRNAP administration actually purchased 12 motorcars for 9.891.000 CZK altogether from 2003 till 2005”, said the president of SAO.
Even the AOPK acted against the budget law when managing resources purposefully destined for implementation of the “Natura 2000” system. For example, the agency made contracts with mapmakers, but some of them were settled just on the day or even after the day of fulfilment. Other contracts were concluded without order specifications. Infeasible contracts were concluded with some mapmakers according to which the mapmakers would have to chart up to 64 ha in a single day within 5 months till the fixed term to fulfil the contract”, said Dohnal.
The auditing operation was included in the Annual Audit Plan of SAO for the year 2006 under No. 06/17. Zdeněk Brandt, Member of the SAO, controlled the auditing operation and drew up the conclusion of the audit as well.
Supreme Audit Office