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20 July, 2024
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Illegal contracts awarded by former Finance Minister, says Audit office

European Commission confirms direct award of contracts was illegal despite AG's opinion

The Audit Office has confirmed that two contracts, awarded by the former Finance Minister without an open tender, were illegal.  The Attorney General's opinion that the direct award was legal was also called into question.

The contracts, worth €95,200 and €191,238 respectively, were awarded without the existence of available appropriations or an open tender, in violation of the relevant public procurement legislation.  The consultancy services provided under the contracts related to the extension of an airport agreement by the government for 5.5 years.

The European Commission responded to a letter from the Audit Office and confirmed the illegality of the contracts, and called for a separation of the powers of the legal adviser to the state from those of the public prosecutor. 

The Audit Office expressed concern that the Attorney General had requested the Office to defer to his opinions rather than giving their own independent audit opinion. The Audit Office explained that in this specific instance, if they had complied with the Attorney General's opinion, it would have resulted in an erroneous audit opinion, which would have compromised the credibility of the Office.

Source: CNA


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