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Peculiarities of civil control over investigations within criminal proceedings instituted upon claims of the Accounting Chamber

StateWatch made and published the research “Peculiarities of civil control over investigations within criminal proceedings instituted upon claims of the Accounting Chambe”

The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine is an effective instrument of the parliamentary control over expenditures of the public funds.

During 2019 the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine approved 77 auditor’s reports on effectiveness of using public funds in different sectors. Auditor’s reports are made on the basis of auditor’s certificates drawn up immediately after examining an allocator of public funds.

Based on 23 reports approved by resolutions of the Accounting Chamber in 2019, claims on institution of criminal proceedings into ineffective use of budget funds by certain allocators have been filed with law enforcement and prosecution bodies. Despite the fact that the Accounting Chamber has identified specific violations and filed relevant claims with law enforcement bodies, as of today there is no complete information about the state of investigation within criminal proceedings instituted upon the claims of the chamber’s experts.

74 criminal proceedings were instituted overall upon claims of the Accounting Chamber filed with law enforcement and prosecution bodies in 2019. The research has established the current state of only 41 proceedings, whereas the state of pre-trial investigation within 33 proceedings (45%) remains unknown, since the relevant bodies failed to provide any meaningful information on results of their activities in response to inquiries of the public.

StateWatch has managed to analyze 46 audit certificates for 2019 which were obtained by submitting requests for access to public information. 65 facts which have essential elements of criminal offences have been identified in these certificates.

The auditor’s certificate is a primary document on the basis of which an audit report is drawn up. The report may include either one or several certificates.

It is important to note that these are only 28 facts with essential elements of criminal offences that were mentioned in auditor’s reports, being final documents published on the website of the Accounting Chamber. 37 such facts from the certificates have not been found in the reports. These facts include unlawful spending of funds by their allocators, state budget revenue loss resulting from ineffective activities of officials of an audited entity, loss of funds, real estate, etc. and ineffective management.

Certificates and reports drawn up upon results of the audits are varied and structurally non-unified, with structural templates of the auditor’s certificate and report missing. This, accordingly, complicates the process of drawing up auditor’s certificates and reports, and negatively influences their quality. Based on the conducted research, the expert organization StateWatch recommends that the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine make the following steps:

  • Elaborate templates of the auditor’s certificate and report by which officers of the Accounting Chamber have to be guided while drawing up auditor’s certificates and reports of effectiveness of audited entities.
  • Create an electronic base of certificates in the format of open data with the view to simplifying access to it by the staff while drawing up new effectiveness reports and ensuring rights of citizens to access public information.

Based on the conducted research, the expert organization StateWatch recommends that the law enforcement and prosecution bodies make the following steps:

  • Systematize information about completion of pre-trial investigations within criminal proceedings instituted upon claims of the Accounting Chamber under the procedure of Art. 60 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine and publish relevant statistical data in open sources.
  • Publicly report on the state of investigations within criminal proceedings instituted upon claims of the Accounting Chamber once a year or often.

Relevance of the research lies in raising effectiveness and quality of drawing auditor’s certificates which, in turn, must simplify the process of drawing up auditor’s reports by experts of the Accounting Chamber as well as analysis conducted by law enforcement and prosecution bodies. This research can also positively influence politics in the sphere of the parliamentary control over expenditures of the state budget ensured by the Accounting Chamber.

The purpose of the research is to improve quality of reports drawn up by the Accounting Chamber in the context of collecting information about alleged criminal offences for law enforcement and prosecution bodies revealed during audits. Consequently, improved quality of reports will make investigations conducted by law enforcement bodies more effective.

Full text of research – PDF to download