Nepotism, excessive salaries and general waste are pervasive in the Cyprus Sports Organization (KOA), auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said on Thursday.
Presenting to lawmakers his report on KOA for fiscal year 2016, Michaelides painted a picture of unaccountability and a devil-may-care attitude within the organisation.
MPs heard that the average wage at KOA stands at €56,500 a year.
In its report, the audit office documented familial relations between athletes who receive grants and directors on the boards of sports federations – prompting MPs to demand a list of board directors serving in all federations.
In one instance, an early retirement scheme was drafted for the benefit of a single person. In another, an individual was found to be holding a permanent job at KOA despite being on secondment there from the ministry of education – effectively having two positions in the public sector.
Another indication of the lack of accountability were procurements of goods and services without going through a tenders process.
For example, lawyers were offered work based on no-bid contracts. In addition, it turned out that the lawyers were often contracted to carry out clerical work which could have been done by regular KOA staff.
And there were cases where employees were found to be unqualified for their respective positions.
“Again and again, the same issues have been highlighted since 2001 and one has to wonder why nothing is being done to correct the situation,” said Akel MP Irini Charalambidou.
What astounded parliamentarians was the reveal that KOA has no leverage over the various sports federations it is responsible for.
That is because KOA lacks the authority to withhold grants to a federation whenever the body is suspected of money wasting or circumspect practices.
To deal with this weakness, a ‘code of good governance’ is to be enforced sometime over the next few months.
Under the code, sports federations failing to comply with recommendations or guidance from KOA would have their grants withheld until they comply.
The auditor-general also pointed out that a number of sports venues are operating without the required permits from KOA.
MPs meanwhile were annoyed that the secretary of the education ministry, who had been summoned to the session of the House watchdog committee, did not show up.
The education ministry is responsible for sports.