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12° Nicosia,
27 May, 2024
 
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MFA: Audit uncovers misuse of public funds and abuse of power

A number of irregularities were uncovered during a recent audit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs leading to accusations of the misuse of public funds and abuse of power

Newsroom

A recent audit conducted by the Audit Service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has revealed instances of misappropriation of public money and abuse of power spanning the years 2021 and 2022.

Among the findings, the audit uncovered irregularities in the secondments of diplomats' spouses, deemed "illegal" by the Audit Service. It also highlighted unauthorized allowances such as foreign, rent, and education allowances. Moreover, the audit identified escalated healthcare costs for members of diplomatic missions.

One notable discovery involved a diplomat who continued to receive expatriation allowances for three months after relocating to Cyprus,

The audit report outlined several deficiencies in the MFA's internal control system, including lapses in invoice processing, failure to conduct monthly fund reconciliations, and delays in recognizing receipts.

One notable discovery involved a diplomat who continued to receive expatriation allowances for three months after relocating to Cyprus, contrary to regulations. Additionally, the audit revealed cases of improper secondments, such as the assignment of an education officer to a diplomatic mission, resulting in unwarranted foreign allowances.

In another instance, an Ambassador received an increased education allowance for their child's attendance at a private school, despite regulations stating otherwise.

Furthermore, the audit flagged an unauthorized rent allowance payment to a diplomat living in an apartment owned partially by themselves and their partner. The Ministry failed to recover the amount or investigate potential disciplinary misconduct.

The audit also scrutinized the transfer of an accountant to London, alleging it was intended to benefit the individual rather than fill a staffing gap.

Regarding medical treatment abroad for government employees, the audit noted a significant increase in healthcare costs, attributing it to rising insurance fees and high medical expenses for staff in diplomatic missions in Asia.

The audit underscored the need for the MFA to review existing regulations on expatriation and education allowances, ensure compliance with legal frameworks, and adopt sound financial management practices.

Additionally, it recommended revising policies on secondments of diplomats' spouses and reassessing healthcare procedures abroad to contain costs within the institutional framework.

In response to the audit findings, the MFA is urged to take immediate corrective measures to address the identified deficiencies and promote transparency and accountability in its operations.

[With information from CNA]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  MFA  |  diplomacy  |  corruption

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