If the deficiencies in the accounting of funds which were identified in the audit of the report of the financial year 2017 will not be eliminated, the government and the public will not be able to obtain qualitative and sufficient information on the total amount of public funds used for all Latvia’s centenary celebrations.
The State Audit Office finds that the Cabinet of Ministers did not plan an appropriate supervision mechanism when they decided to allocate 59 million Euros for the celebrations of Latvia’s centenary.
Centenary events cannot be objectively identified and separated from other events. The open concept and vague criteria allow to dedicate almost any event carried out by institutions during the five years of celebration to Latvia’s centenary. During the audit, it was found that often even the institution responsible for an event cannot separate the centenary events from other events but most departments use self-financing for centenary events in bigger amounts than initially planned. It means that there are no formal restrictions for the use of public sector funds for centenary events. Therefore it is not clear which money intended for which basic functions is spent for centenary events this year and therefore which functions might not have sufficient financing next year.
Auditor General Elita Krūmiņa emphasises: “Latvia’s Centenary is a very important event. Festivities shall be celebrated. But it is important to eliminate the detected deficiencies now and to reduce the detected risks so that, when the centenary festivities will be finished, they will not only have reached their overarching objective but also created a positive assurance about the expediency of public funds invested in the events.”
Publishing of incomplete finance information and other related information on the official website for Latvia’s centenary celebrations lv100.lv creates a false impression for the public on the amount of used public funds and the gains from that amount used. For example, looking back on what has been completed, the reconstruction of the Mezaparks Great Bandstand and Daugava Stadium have been described on the site lv100.lv as having permanent value to the infrastructure and the cultural environment, although the reconstruction of these objects was not financed from the 59 million Euros intended for the centenary celebrations.
Therefore, the State Audit Office asks the Ministry of Culture and all responsible institutions to provide complete information on the costs of the centenary to the public in order to prevent spreading of inaccurate information on the internet and social networks.
The State Audit Office has requested the Ministry of Culture to take into account that the published materials have to comply with the facts. I.e. if in one informational graph the Ministry of Culture includes both the total amount of financing from the state budget and lists different events in the country in the period of five years which do not have a direct link to the Ministry of Culture, it creates a false impression of what the department has achieved.
The State Audit Office evaluated the accounts of costs for the events of Latvia’s centenary and their traceability by carrying out annual audit of the report of the financial year 2017 and will continue with this issue until the completion of the celebrations.