Functioning of the asylums and boarding houses for pensioners and disabled people – a black hole in public money use



december 18, 2017 • views 2222


The second semester of 2017 was the period in which the Court of Accounts also planned to conduct financial audit missions in some institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, serving the most disadvantaged categories of people, namely veterans of war, pensioners, adults with mental and physical disabilities, etc.

The financial audit was carried out at the following entities from the above mentioned category: the Republican Center for Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Work and War Veterans of Cocieri, Dubasari; the psycho-neurological boarding school in Balti; the Republican asylum for disabled and pensioners from Chisinau municipality, the institutions being randomly selected.

The results of the audit identified serious violations, characterized by a defective management, resulting from inefficient spending of public money, including increased risk of fraud, which directly had influenced the quality of services rendered to beneficiaries.

The external public audit show that the management of the institutions for the audited period did not ensure the proper implementation of the financial management and control and did not elaborate and approved accounting policies taking into account the Methodological Norms regarding the accounting and financial reporting in the budgetary system. These circumstances have led to the admittance of significant misstatements in accounting and financial reporting, as well as the mismanagement of public assets.

Violations are serious and numerous, but taking into account the categories of beneficiaries that are served in these institutions, I would only like to review those that have a direct impact on the quality of the provided services.

Starting from the fact that the transparency of any process in an institution ensures compliance and efficiency, I cannot overlook the serious irregularities admitted by decision-makers in the public procurement field. Thus, avoidance of legal provisions, expressed through the division of procurement contracts, resulted in a number of violations expressed by: the purchase of food products at exaggerated prices (in some cases double or even triple) by favoring some economic operators, the purchase of products in quantities well above the needs of the institutions (which subsequently alter in deposits), the purchase of expired food products and of the altered products.

Another black spot in the activity is the beneficiaries’ nutrition, which is more than inappropriate. In addition to the altered and expired products that were found on the beneficiaries' table, situations were set when the quantity of meat served at the table was only half of the amount released from the warehouse and settled. At the same time, the employees of the institutions were having their meals from the meals destined for beneficiaries, as well as there were found food and cooked meals in the employees' cabinets. This has caused the sub-nutrition of the beneficiaries, which is actually vital.

The situation is not better at "hygiene products" chapter. The results of the audit show that in some institutions the beneficiaries receive only 10% of the established needs, having to buy from their own sources such products as soap, paste / toothbrush, etc. Clothes and footwear for the beneficiaries are settled in the absence of confirmatory documents, while the beneficiaries are not insured with the necessary stuff.

Unfortunately, while people do not have the necessary stuff, the inventory made during the mission has established both shortcomings and surpluses, in some cases in large proportions. Thus, in the case of an institution, unregistered goods in balance sheet were set up in tens of thousands MDL, received as donations, these being food, hygiene products, clothes, furniture, etc.

In an institution, the beneficiaries were accommodated in unsanitary, health harming rooms, while the asylum had spare, recently repaired rooms, in very good conditions.

The found problems are much more and mostly are serious, and the worst in this situation is that these people, mostly being of an advanced age and / or disabled, who have been committed to this country during all their life, unfortunately, did not benefit from the qualitative social assistance guaranteed by the state. All this is due to a faulty management of the audited institutions' managers, as well as by the lack of control by the central authorities responsible for this area.

It is to be mentioned that the beneficiaries surveyed during the mission declared that after the audit engagement had started, they felt an improvement in the quality of the services provided, including better nutrition, allocation of hygienic goods, etc.

In the hope of positive changes in this area, we emphasize the need of a prompt reaction from the National Agency for Social Assistance and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection in order to undertake the necessary actions, including the implementation of the recommendations set out in the audit report, and to inform all subordinate institutions on systemic irregularities detected and the necessary steps to be taken to prevent them from being admitted in the future.