Deputies find irregularities at use of tourism ministry budget

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The members of the parliamentary commission set up to investigate the way that Tourism Minister Elena Udrea has used the public money highlighted at their meeting on Thursday that the ministry had abusively used the budget funds for advertising and promotion and had delayed the budget transfers to the local authorities with no justification.

The commission heard the head of the ministry’s Economic and Administrative Department, on which occasion Social Democrat deputy Vasile Bleotu accused the ministry of having ‘illegally allotted’ funds for advertising and for the promotion of tourism.

Bleotu explained that no funds had been earmarked for promotion and advertising in the Tourism Ministry’s budget approved by the state budget law related to the spending on goods and services.

Nevertheless, the ministry used the money assigned under the chapter ‘Other Expenditure’ for the chapter ‘Promotion and Advertising’, as showed by the budget implementation in the first half- year.

After the hearings, Bleotu explained that by earmarking the money for advertising under the ‘Other Expenditure’ chapter, the Tourism Ministry allegedly had sought to take advantage of the fact that for such type of spending – deemed unforeseen – the procedures relating the assignment of the contracts are much more lenient than in the case of the ‘Promotion and Advertising’, where public tenders should be organised.

During the commission meeting, the Social Democrat MP underscored that about 90 percent of the budget earmarked for goods and services was to be found under ‘Other Expenditure’, i.e. roughly 51 million lei.

He added the ministry had phased out its spending, with most of it being scheduled at the end of the year, when the presidential election will be held.

Commission chairman Liberal Ludovic Orban argued the Tourism Ministry violated the public finances law since it transferred funds from one budget chapter to another.

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