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Komisja Europejska - znowu afera finansowa!

27.09.02, 08:52
Kilka tygodni temu na jaw wyszła kolejna afera finansowa w Komisji
Europejskiej. Tym razem mówić zaczęła Martha Andreasen - główna księgowa
Komisji. Wkrótce potem została zwolniona. Sprawa toczy sie już jakiś czas, a
jakoś w polskich mediach cisza! No, euroentuzjaści! Poczytajcie sobie - po
angielsku będzie, to pewnie zrozumiecie. Tekst pochodzi z internetowej strony
duńskiego deputowanego Parlamentu Europejskiego, Jensa Petera Bonde -
czołowej osobistości tej grupy parlamentarzystów europejskich która opowiada
sie za Europą Ojczyzn, a nie superpaństwem, jakie szykuje nam Konwencja z
Panią Huebner i Oleksym w swoim składzie. Adres: www.bonde.com
Aha! Jakby co, to MEP = Member of European Parliament

On Wednesday, the SOS Democracy hosted on open meeting for MEPs and
journalists in Strasbourg to speak with the former Chief Accountant of the
European Commission, Marta Andreasen.

What follows is her statement to the attendees:

" I was appointed Budget Execution Director and accounting Officer on January
1st 2002. I am a qualified accountant with almost 25 years of working
experience.

- The Accounting Officer as per the existing Financial Regulation is
responsible for keeping the accounts, preparing and presenting the annual
Financial Statements. The Accounting Officer is also responsible for the
Treasury management as well as for the safeguard of the institution's assets.

- It is out of this responsibility which I fully assumes since the first day
that I felt the obligation of making the hierarchy in the European Commission
aware about the serious risks arising from the vulnerability of the system on
which the institution manages the funds entrusted to it.

- Any institution or organisation that manages funds or any type of assets,
has the responsibility and obligation to establish the necessary control
environment to safeguard its assets. That control environment is based on its
internal control and accounting and financial reporting system one dependant
on the other.

- Soon after my incorporation my own experiences and those of the Court of
Auditors alerted me about the serious and glaring shortcomings with the
Commission's accounting system, which threw serious doubts on the accuracy of
the 2001 accounts.

- I raised my concerns with the Budget Directorate management team as well as
with the Budget Commissioner Ms. Schreyer. In several communications
addressed to the Budget Commissioner, I informed her about the serious risk
of error and fraud in which the Commission was involved in and the urgent
measures that need to be taken.

- Moreover I alerted the hierarchy about the fact that the new Financial
Regulation as it was being proposed would increase the error and fraud risk.

- In summary my observations were as follows:

- The Commission does not have an accounting system that supports the
Accounts as presented each year. The balance Sheet is built out of reports
received from DGs on spreadsheets.

- The Commission doesn´t have a secure, coherent and exhaustive system on
which financial transactions are processed. Moreover the system does not
allow trace-ability.

- There is a lack of compliance with basic Accounting Principles such as
double-entry book keeping. In this sense the Commission has also breached its
own existing Financial Regulation. Double-entry accounting is the most basic
of systems, in use since the 13th century, which allows the control for each
transaction of where the money is coming from and where it is going.

- The Commission does not have Official Accounting Books.

- There has not been a Treasury audit for the last ten years, whilst the same
Treasurer has been in the post for more than twelve years.

- The Commission is unable to establish cash-flow statements, a basic element
for the management of the € 98 billion funds entrusted to it.

- There are no basic internal controls established and respected within the
Commission.

- I was asked to "certify" the accounts to be sent to the different
Directorates for the purpose of establishing their Annual Declaration, in the
knowledge - as repeatedly asserted by the Commission - that the accounting
system on which the reports were based was not reliable. The Commission
decided on a decentralized model to make each Director General fully
accountable for the management of their budget. However the Commission has
failed to provide them with the essential tool to manage the budget and give
assurance on the quality of controls and reliability of the accounts. Their
reservations on the accounting system on the declarations for 2001, have
relieved them from their accountability.

- I was asked to be responsible for daily payments processed on a computer
system known to be vulnerable.

- My communication to my hierarchy about the risks involved and proposals for
urgent solution were disregarded. I then addressed my concerns to the
President of the Commission, Mr. Prodi and the two Vice-presidents, Mr.
Kinnock and Ms. De Palacio, on May 7th, 2002.

- I received no response from any of them, or any request for contact. I
therefore wrote to the European Court of Auditors to inform them about the
issues above, and ask them for their support to change.

- However, without having any contact with me to understand the issues I was
raising, Mr. Kinnock led the Commission to decide on May 22nd, about the
withdrawal of my responsibility as Accounting Officer.

- The Commission has said I was hired to implement the reform on the
accounting system. Can anyone consider that four and a half months is enough
time ti implement a reform that the institution has failed to do for years?

- Mr. Kinnock has put all his effort to prevent me from being heard by the
Cocobu, as soon he learned that I had put a petition to the relevant
Committee. He even requested legal advice to do so. I still trust that, in
the interest of the European citizens I will be heard by the Budgetary
Control Committee, where I will be able to expand in detail on the specific
matters."

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