ARMA inefficiently manages the seized assets – the Accounting Chamber

09.04.2020 13:27

The audit showed that the National Agency of Ukraine for Detection, Investigation, and Management of Assets Obtained from Corruption and Other Crimes (ASSET RECOVERY AND MANAGEMENT AGENCY, AIAM) did not provide an adequate level of management of seized assets. Lack of systematic accounting, the uncertainty of the algorithm of actions and control measures of responsible employees, create corruption risks for each operational process, leading to errors and abuses.

The above is stated in the report on the audit results of the effectiveness of the use of state budget funds by the National Agency. Igor Iaremchuk, a member of the Accounting Chamber, was leading it.

As a result of inefficient management of the seized assets, the facts of their gratuitous use by commercial organizations were established, which were determined as assets managers. At the same time, assets managers did not direct funds from this activity to the state budget.

The Tender Committee made decisions on selecting asset managers and implementers of assets of the National Agency without proper authority and in violation of the requirements of the legislation of Ukraine. Also, ARMA management made illegal decisions to change the management of companies whose corporate rights were arrested.

The National Agency also fails to fulfill one of its primary functions  the formation and maintenance of the Unified State Register of Assets Seized in Criminal Proceedings.

During 2017–2018 and 9 months of 2019, the National Agency used UAH 186 million from the state budget's general fund. UAH 142.6 million (77 percent) was used to pay salaries, of which almost 50 percent.  these are incentive payments (bonus and allowance for labor intensity).

At the same time, UAH 6.4 million was used in violation of current legislation and concluded agreements, unproductively and uneconomically.

During 2017–2018 and 9 months of 2019, the National Agency received UAH 180 million from selling assets on electronic platforms; 191 million UAH, 215 thousand US dollars, and 1.3 million euros  transferred to management. These funds were placed on deposit accounts, state-owned banks accrued interest, which in hryvnia equivalent amounted to almost 37 million hryvnias.

The current asset management model does not provide for either the state or ARMA to receive a share of such interest. Transfer of interest to the state revenue on deposit of funds seized or transferred to management is possible only in case of their confiscation.

According to the auditors, it is expedient to revise the current model by law and allow the transfer to the state budget of interest accrued on the seized funds placed on deposit accounts and funds received from the sale of seized property. One way is to transfer the National Agency to the model of self-sufficiency, which will optimize the costs of its maintenance and reduce the cost of the state budget.

It should be noted that the external evaluation of ARMA's activities in 2017–2019 was not conducted, as a three-person commission (one representative each from the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine) was not formed. The absence of a commission, the primary purpose of which is to carry out an independent external evaluation, leads to the lack of a mechanism for monitoring the National Agency's sufficient work and making effective management decisions.

Although the National Agency is accountable to Parliament, it has never submitted a report on its work. The mandatory external audit of the agency's activities was conducted only in 2018, carried out by the auditing company PJSC "De Visa," and its results were not made public.

The report and decisions on the audit results will be published on the official website of the Accounting Chamber.