National Armed Forces lack financial finesse

  • 2007-02-14
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The State Auditors' Office has detected violations in the tenders by the National Armed Forces that demonstrate insufficient control over the centralized purchase of supplies and services. NAF Logistics Command failed to comply with procedure and terms concerning paperwork applicable to the procurement of funds, the press service of the auditors' office reported. Technical specifications and orders were of low quality, and the information found in them was incomplete.

Having evaluated the prices for the services and supplies, the auditors' office concluded that they were mainly based on previously signed procurement agreements and failed to take into account market changes and inflation.
Due to these shortcomings, the planned funding could only partially ensure the necessary amount of equipment and services.
It was revealed in the course of investigation that on a number of occasions similar equipment and services were not bought together. For example, in 2005 NAF bought 115 suits for the sum of 11,500 lats (16,363 euros), but it later made several more purchases of suits for the sum of less than 1,000 lats each. In all cases the price of the suits was 84 lats.

"It proves that in all cases NAF bought the same type of suits," the auditors' office said, adding that such a fragmentation of the purchasing process is a violation of the law, further indicating how "the armed forces' command evades the use of defined methods of procurement."
It has also been reported that there is no specific procedure in the army for the disposal and recycling of old equipment and that a lot of it is accrued in the army stores.

In some cases soldiers' uniforms were used for longer periods of time than the requirements of international peacekeeping missions allowed. It was found that army supply stores cannot ensure the necessary conditions for the storage of second-hand uniforms, which makes the re-use of uniforms impossible.
The results of the inspection will be made known to the General Prosecutor's Office, Inguna Sudraba, head of the auditors' office, told the Baltic News Service.

In Sudraba's opinion, the army officials committed these offenses deliberately, and the above purchase of suits only deepens her suspicions. "Such a system is favorable ground for corruption," she said.
The NAF commander, Brigadier General Juris Maklakovs, admitted that there were offenses and flaws in the procurement procedure, but that the vast majority of offenses uncovered by the auditors' office have already been rectified, Uldis Davidovs said, speaking on behalf of the armed forces.
Davidovs said the mistakes and offenses were mainly due to flaws in the legal system and the absence of a proper accounting system.

The audit was carried out between Jan. 1, 2005 and May 1, 2006. NAF spent a total of almost 12 million lats during that period.