Court of Auditors refused to see 54 contracts worth 182 million euros in 2018 – The Economic Newspaper

The Court of Auditors (ToC) denied the approval of 54 contracts in 2018 due to several illegalities detected, making public expenditure of 182 million euros unfeasible, according to the activities report released today.

In the previous year, the ToC had refused to grant a visa to 39 cases, with a financial volume of EUR 118 million.

As part of these prior monitoring procedures, in 2018 the ToC was able to reduce charges by around € 15 million "due to the dialogue with the entities" involved, who were asked for clarifications or additional elements.

According to the document, the 54 cases rejected last year correspond to 2% of the cases decided.

In total, 4,100 cases were submitted to the court, and 2,602 cases were decided concerning 532 entities, with a financial volume totaling a record 5,356 million euros, 16% more than in the previous year.

According to TdC president Vítor Caldeira, who spoke to journalists at the presentation of the report, the increase in financial volume is related to large-scale investment acts, in particular related to the use of structural funds.

Of the cases filed, 25% formed a tacit visa corresponding to 5% of the value of the controlled processes.

The majority of cases relate to works (715), followed by services (695), but other types of contracts, including highly complex legal instruments such as concessions and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), have increased (55%) and accounted for about 30% of the amount under control.

Of the processes targeted, 16% resulted in recommendations, corresponding to a financial volume of 1,004 million euros.

According to the report published today, in 2018, the ToR controlled a total of 1,300 entities, involving approximately 250,000 million euros of public expenditure, also issued opinions on the accounts provided for by law and carried out 57 audits, and verified 548 accounts of public bodies and decided 49 processes of effecting financial responsibilities.

"This was possible with a cost to the State Budget of about 27 million euros, corresponding to 0.015% of the total expenditure entered in the State Budget for 2018," said Vítor Caldeira.

The official stressed that 2018 was a year of "stabilization of the internal organization, of deepening of working methods, training, evolution and investments in the direction of an increasing relevance and usefulness of the institution".

At the level of the recommendations, there was also a positive development: from the follow-up by the ToC in 2018 of the recommendations formulated in the previous three years, the average reception level was found to be 61%, improving by 3% the previous year.

Of the 2,301 new recommendations issued in 2008, 662 have already been welcomed, the report says.

In 2018 it was also a year in which preparation of a proposal for reformulation of the Law of Organization and Process of the Court was initiated, which will be presented in due course, aiming at a greater updating, modernization and adaptation to new realities.

"In particular, consideration was given to the assumption of new powers conferred on the Court by the Budgetary Framework Law, the adequacy of the financial liability regime and its procedure, as well as the scope of prior control, including revision of the threshold for compliance with acts and contracts ", said.

In 2018, in addition to the president, there were 18 Counselors Judges and 495 assistants in the Support Services (416 at Headquarters, 38 in the Regional Section of the Azores and 41 in the Regional Section of Madeira).

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