Albania: €720.5M In Government Funds Abuse In 4 Years
Amount Wasted Is Large For A Small Country Like Albania
Albanian state administration abuse of state budget funds during 2014-2016 amounted to €720.5 million. The number was declared by the State Supreme Audit a few days ago. This finding came after the SSA’s audits during January-September 2017. This economic damage was caused by abuses in income and expenditure. According to the SSA, on an average every day of this year, the state budget lost €2.7M. SSA found that the sectors with the most violations were the repurchase of state property, the customs sector, and public procurement. In response to these violations, the SSA has filed criminal charges against 83 officials and has requested 1,014 disciplinary measures.
The Supreme State Audit found that 30% of the damage caused was detected in the repurchase of state property. “If we analyze the damage by sectors, we will notice that the highest level of damage in this period was caused by state the property administration with ALL 2,769,696,000 or 30% of the total value of the detected damage. The repurchase of state assets totaled ALL 2,864,592, or 31%,” reported the SSA. The identified damage to customs income was 19% of the total amount, followed by 12% in the high-risk procurement sector. The violations were not related solely to the detected damage, but also to the lack of effectiveness of a complete system that ensures the procurement of goods, work, and services. State property management is the riskiest area and shows that mismanagement continued, without reflecting improvement or managerial accountability in this sector, reported the Supreme State Audit.
During the period of January-September 2017, SSA filed 29 criminal reports in the Prosecution Office, 10 of those files are out for evaluation. In total, for the period 2012-2017, the institution sent to the Prosecution Office 229 cases for flagrant abuse with public funds, or on average a criminal report per week, or a denunciation in every three audits. This number can be calculated as 1.5 times more than the number of criminal reports during the 10 years taken together from 2002-2011. The other damage that is caused to the state budget, usually after the central or local government elections, is the dismissal from the administration persons belonging to a certain party wing. These people sue the institution and in most cases, retrieve 18 months of salary. There has never been a case where those responsible for making such decisions are held accountable for the damage caused to the state budget. Several months ago, the SSA stated the legal bill that the state administration will have to pay to former employees improperly terminated is ALL 68M or €509,793.51.
Despite the flagrant figures in Albania, nothing has been done to stop such abuses. The amount of €720M incurred in these four years can be considered a very high amount for a small and poor country such as Albania. The 2018 budget for the Municipality of Tirana, which is the largest municipality in the country, is €24M, which means that the damage caused in these 4 years could have covered the capital’s expenses for 30 years in the future.