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The performance audit regarding the functionality and efficiency of the “E-Integrity” Automatic Informational System

November 28, 2019 views 855

 

During the meeting held on the 28th of November this year, the Court of Accounts of the Republic of Moldova has examined the Report regarding the functionality and efficiency of the “E-Integrity” Automatic Informational System (E-Integrity AIS.

The audit mission aimed to evaluate the progress gained within the development and implementation of the E-Integrity AIS, which is operated by the National Integrity Authority (NIA). Also, the audit mission aimed to identify the risks and weaknesses of the program, that could affect the expected results and to determine the opportunities to improve of the System in order to assure and increase its results.

The audit was made upon the activities undertaken by NIA during 2017- November 2019 by means of collecting audit evidence from the Cyber Security and Informational Technologies Public Institution (CSITPI), the State Chancellery, the Public Institution “Electronic Governing Agency” (EGA), as well as the current beneficiaries of the System, including over 3000 subjects of declaration, 2000 collectors (human resources operators) and other users.

The system was developed and implemented during 2015 and 2016 by the Electronic Governing Center (now EGA) within the E-transformation of the Governance Project, financed by the World Bank’s credit. The cost of setting up and implementing the System has reached the sum of 2 mil.lei. For the usage of the System, the state budget allocated the necessary financial resources for purchasing the electronic signatures for the declaring subjects and other users. The launch of the System was accomplished by the end of 2017 and it started to be used in practice since 1st of January 2018.

The aim of E-Integrity AIS, as it is stated by the law, is to create the Electronic Register for the subjects that must declare their fortune and personal interests, the State Register of the persons that are forbidden to have a public position or a public dignity related one, as well as to implement ways of filling the declarations, of inspecting the fortune, personal interests, conflicting interests, incompatibilities, restrictions and limitations, according to the law.

When regarding the structure of the System we can observe it has various components (modules) that are meant make automatic certain processes. Among them we can highlight:

  • “Online deposition of the declaration” part, intended for the subjects that declare their fortune and personal interests;
  • “Administration of the Register containing the declaration subjects” part, that is used by the responsible employees from the public institutions, in order to maintain the Register and manage the list of the declaration subjects;
  • “Declaration control” part, that is used by the integrity inspectors within NIA, as well as by the members of the Integrity Council in the vetting process of the declarations;
  • “Administration of the System” part and the “Reports and statistics” module, that aims to provide operational and statistic information in order to improve the NIA’s activity and its decisional process.

The results of the audit mission reveal that, overall, with the exception of some improvement reserves, there were fulfilled all conditions needed to achieve the goals set by the System. This fact is confirmed also by its successful implementing and usage, especially the part that refers to the online declarations and the implementation of a legal and institutional framework.

Therefore, a comparative analysis of the data that includes the number of the declarations that were presented in the first trimester of the years 2017-2019 shows that there is a certain increase of the number of declarations presented. The number of the annual declarations presented via E-Integrity AIS in 2018-2019 is bigger than the number of declarations presented in the same period in 2017, 12664 declarations more.

The evidence collected by the audit mission shows that for the development of E-Integrity AIS there were used techniques and management instruments that are internationally accepted, but the inefficient handling of the risks and the insufficient testing of the system have led to certain deficiencies that have affected the achievement of the System’s target.

In context, it must be said that the E-Integrity AIS was developed based on the legal framework relevant in this field at that moment, although a new draft and new laws already existed and they entered into force in 2016, right before the System started to be used. Therefore, additional expenses were needed in order to adjust the System. The audit mission has discovered that in order to assure the proper usage of the System, to respect the established terms and to present the declarations online, there were used 497.000 lei additional to the initial expenses. According to the audit results, the changes and adjustments that were made were related only to the “Online deposition of the declaration” part. Also the mission stated that an important module of the System, that aims to automatize the control activity of NIA, is not sufficiently adjusted to the legal framework and, therefore, it is not used properly.

Simultaneously, it was established that in order to assure the functionality of the System and to update it to the new legal framework, NAI, during 2017-2019, has used external services, due to the fact that NAI did not have qualified specialists in the IT field.

As well, the audit has shown that in order to improve the efficiency of the System, including the deposition and the checking of the declarations, E-Integrity AIS is mainstreamed with other informational systems and state registers via the governmental platform of inter-operability MConnect, as well as with governmental services as MNotify, MLog, MPass, MSign. Nevertheless, these are not sufficient and even not functional at all.

The issues mentioned are a result of the inappropriate configuration of the System, as well as of the insufficient testing, therefore it generates mistakes and difficulties when using the System and affects its efficiency and efficacy.

Subsequently, the Court of Accounts has found gaps and drawbacks in the Module “Reports and Statistics” of E-Integrity AIS. This Module was supposed to contribute to the improving of the monitoring and reporting activities of NAI. So, although the System was created to generate at least 15 types of reports, 6 of them are not operational and some other are made list-shaped and are complicated when it comes to analyzing the data.

Meanwhile, the audit has identified certain deficiencies and discrepancies in the legal and departmental frameworks on which the System relies on, that might influence its functionality and efficiency.

Generalizing, the Court of Accounts confirms that, overall, excepting some improving that needs to be done, the E-Integrity AIS meets all the necessary conditions to assure its target. As well, E-Integrity has a very good potential in obtaining the results desired and could become a substantial challenge in order to make all the processes automatic and to fulfill the System’s objectives.