The Armenian Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that it has saved 11.4 billion drams ($30 million) in public funds during regular audits of government agencies conducted this year.
According to the head of the ministry’s Financial Audit Inspectorate, Sona Gharibian, almost 80 percent of the sum was cash returned to the state treasury from several ministries and other state bodies that inefficiently used budgetary resources. The remaining 2.3 billion drams were retrieved from state-owned economic entities that either inflated their losses or underreported revenues.
Gharibian told journalists that her department has inspected financial records of the ministries of economy, environment protection and Diaspora affairs as well as the State Revenue Committee (SRC) and found “violations” in all of them. In particular, she said, some of the SRC’s regional divisions imposed disproportionately light fines on companies engaged in tax evasion.
As for the three ministries, Gharibian said they planned to spend “more than was required” by the 2011 state budget and wasted government money when arranging procurements and commissioning construction work. State auditors recovered 260 million drams from the Ministry of Economy alone, she added.
The Finance Ministry structure also played a key role in a revision of the lists of Armenians receiving pensions and other social benefits which was carried out by the government in the first half of the year.
The revision was ordered by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian after the Armenian parliament’s Audit Chamber found what it described as widespread fraud in the payment of those benefits. In particular, the chamber claimed that thousands of people have received, on paper, pensions years after their death.
Officials said in July that about 7 billion drams have been saved as a result of the financial inspection.