From 2013 to 2015, the Ministry of Education provided grants into promoting sports non-transparently

PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 16/20 – May 29, 2017

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) performed an audit at the Ministry of Education and focused on funds used to support the material and technical bases of sports from 2013 to 2015. The aim of the Programme was to make sports centres more available to the public and facilitate better technical equipment for national representatives and youth activities. Under the audited Programme, the Ministry provided more than CZK 2,200 million. Auditors concluded that the Ministry had proceeded non-transparently, created unequal conditions for applicants when providing the support, and without a proper supervision.

One of the main parameters, which became an evaluation criteria during the selection process, was the rate of co-financing the projects. With some projects, the Ministry requested as much as 30 % of co-financing. At the same time, the Ministry approved exceptions to the requested rate of co-financing, and some beneficiaries even obtained 100 % of subsidised remuneration.

With individual assessment criteria, the Ministry of Education failed to set any scoring tables, and as a result it was not clear how the applications would be assessed. The Ministry succeeded to create some scoring tables as late as in 2016.

During the audited period, the Ministry of Education granted support to some 300 applicants in total. One beneficiary was provided CZK 249 million, which makes more than 10 % of the total sum allocated to the Programme.

An expert commission was established to assess the applications. However, the experts only discussed projects that had been pre-selected for the support, and approved these projects with some minor adjustments. The commission did not assess applications on the basis of the pre-set criteria. The Ministry did not prove who had prepared the drafted projects or how the drafts had been created.

The Ministry also established that in case of emergency (which was not further detailed), the previously set conditions for provision of support would not have to be abided by. Thus, some amounts were granted after semi-official approval procedures without clear rules in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013 and 2014, the Ministry of Education also included new projects into the Programme, but the reasons for their additional including were unclear. Among the additionally included projects were those with applications submitted by the deadline as well as after the deadline. During changing proceedings, the Ministry sometimes cancelled already approved projects, adjusted the amounts of support, and gave exemptions from the rules.

Auditors selected and scrutinized 35 projects implemented by 19 beneficiaries and concluded that the Ministry of Education had provided grants to applicants who had failed to meet the requirements. For example, the Ministry should have disqualified incomplete applications or applications submitted after the deadline. Grants were also provided for projects, which did not correspond to the Programme’s objectives. As a result, support was provided for purchases of PCs, copy machines, a car used by an umbrella organisation, and air-conditioning at the headquarters of an organisation, which was not a sports facility.

Auditors also criticized that the Ministry of Education poorly supervised the utilization of the provided funds. From 2013 to 2015, the Ministry only checked CZK 2.4 million of the granted amounts at one beneficiary. Moreover, the two checked projects were already implemented in 2011 and 2012.

Auditors also found errors at beneficiaries. For example, some beneficiaries made errors when selecting the suppliers, reimbursed works that had not been finished, or failed to meet the minimum rate of co-financing. In case of six beneficiaries, the auditors notified the competent authorities of suspected violations of the budgetary discipline.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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