Mitrik: We Want Public to Know How Public Funds Are Handled

Supreme Audit Office chairman Karol Mitrik (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, June 6 (TASR) – It’s my priority to ensure that the people of this country are aware of how public funds are spent, said Supreme Audit Office (NKU) chairman Karol Mitrik on Tuesday when reviewing his two years in office.

“We’re not shying away from topics that are sensitive for society. Our focus is on wherever large amounts of money are spent,” said Mitrik.

At present, NKU is conducting a number of inspections, including into a public administration overhaul known as ESO (shorthand for ‘Effective, Reliable and Open’ Public Administration). The audit is set to conclude in November.

Additionally, the supervisory authority is busy looking into the way funds were spent during the Slovak presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2016.

“But I don’t think that the latter review has been prompted by pressure from the public. We gave a heads-up to the chief auditor at the Foreign [and European] Affairs Ministry before the presidency that we’d conduct a review after the presidency was over. Other countries have done the same with their presidencies,” said Mitrik.

“We’re also conducting an inspection at the Supreme Court,” said Mitrik. NKU is specifically reviewing what some view as exorbitant bonuses for former Supreme Court chairman Stefan Harabin.

“We also need to look into this delicate area so as to ascertain the facts. We expect to conclude this inspection within a month,” said Mitrik.

Reviews are also ongoing at the Health Ministry, with the focus trained on spending at 13 hospitals.

Other than that, Mitrik said that NKU is vying for EU funds worth €2.3 million, most of which should be spent on certified training of the authority’s personnel over a period of four years.

Looking ahead, he said that NKU is planning to undergo a major international assessment of the quality of its work in 2019. As part of the check, NKU’s work and procedures should come under scrutiny from foreign audit authorities.