Operational Programme Cross-border Cooperation CR – Poland: managing authorities made more errors than beneficiaries

PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 13/04 – March 25, 2014

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) audited funds utilized for implementation of the Operational Programme Cross-border Cooperation the Czech Republic – Poland within the period from 2007 to 2012. Among the audited bodies were the Ministry of Regional Development, the Centre for Regional Development, and 19 selected projects, which were implemented by 10 beneficiaries including regions, municipalities, state allowance organizations, and citizens associations.

The Programme’s funding is granted to joint projects implemented by cooperating project partners in Czech Republic and Poland. Audited projects worth nearly CZK 680 million aimed at strengthening of transport accessibility and support of tourism development. In the frame of the joint audit operation, auditors from the supreme audit institution of Poland scrutinized beneficiaries in six out of 19 audited projects.

Auditors revealed that some beneficiaries in the Czech Republic got reimbursements for illegible costs. For example, the project Revitalpark 2010 implemented in Český Těšín included costs of construction works in a building, which was only rented by the municipality. Thus the municipality spent EU funds on revaluation of a rented property and violated the budgetary principles when wrongfully used CZK 1.8 million.

Errors were also found at the Ministry of Regional Development, which is the managing authority of the Programme. For example, the Ministry published inaccurate data about the beneficiaries and amounts of funds allotted for co-financed projects. Auditors scrutinized data accuracy in case of 10 selected projects, which were described in the informational system CEDR III, and found errors in eight projects.

The monitoring committee decided on a project’s authorization through voting. The Committee voted either on individual projects or on complex sets of projects. The SAO identified a high risk to the transparency of the “complex” process of voting, which might lead to a discrimination during project assessment and authorization processes.

Auditors also scrutinized evaluations of project applications carried out by independent experts and found out that two projects had been overvalued. One project received the highest evaluation only because of the fact that it involved “widening of a road by adding an extra lane”, but the project documentation actually planned widening of the road by one meter in Poland and a reconstruction (without widening) in the Czech Republic.

Based on the findings, the SAO evaluated the management and control system implemented by the managing authority as partially effective. Nevertheless, the drawdown of resources allocated for the Operational Programme Cross-border Cooperation the Czech Republic – Poland is relatively working. For the period 2007–2013, funds in the amount of CZK 6,500 million were allocated for the Programme by the European Commission. By the end of 2012, beneficiaries were paid over CZK 4,000 million (63 % of the allocation).

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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