PR: The battle for control over public fund spending has reached its final stage.
A controversial amendment to the financial control act was returned to the Chamber of Deputies.
Prague 3 April 2013
The battle for control over public fund spending has reached its final stage. A controversial amendment to the financial control act was returned to the Chamber of Deputies.
The next meeting of the Chamber of Deputies will decide about a controversial amendment to the Law on Financial Control in Public Administration (Law 320/2001 Coll.), drafted by the Ministry of Finance but rejected by the Senate. According to most of the Senators, this amendment to a crucial legislation on fighting corruption will not ensure effective control of spending taxpayer’s money, nor will it prevent theft of state assets. The Senators objected namely to the fact that the law ignores the recommendations of the World Bank and good international practice, fails to bolster management responsibility for the management of public funds, enhances the involvement of territorial fiscal authorities in the processes of internal control and audit system, and fails to ensure an independent internal audit—circumstances long criticized by experts as well as the European Commission.
The not‐for‐profit anticorruption organizations Good Governance, Inventura Demokracie, Anticorruption Endowment (NFPK) and Oživění repeatedly call on the deputies in an open letter to reject this amendment. “Finance Minister Kalousek is trying to gain sovereign control over the spending of public assets. Furthermore, the amendment devastates the internal control system of the Czech Republic, which ought to be exercised by the Supreme Audit Office, in harmony with good international practice. Due to poor control, tens of billions of crowns from our taxes get stolen every year,” notes Lukáš Wagenknecht from the Good Governance think‐tank. Representatives of these nonprofit organizations call on the members of the Chamber of Deputies to support a brand new bill, drafted by a team of fifteen Czech experts, led by Dr. Josef Včelák, specialist on the internal control and audit system.
“The Czech Republic badly needs a quality new legislation, which would more thoroughly delineate and sanction the enforcement of management responsibility, a functionally independent audit, the efficient application of the principles of correct financial management, and an effective system of harmonization of the internal control and audit system for all subjects of public administration. Kalousek’s amendment will not ensure this. We have therefore worked out our own proposal,” says Včelák.
This draft legislation has the support of the Senate’s Deputy Chair Miluše Horská (nonpartisan). According to Sen Horská, it presents a quality solution for the public administration control system. Ms. Horská declared that the European Commission’s assessment of the said draft legislation is favourable.
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