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Audit office finds shortcomings in health ministry’s payment procedures

Photo: CNA

The health ministry’s has serious shortcomings in its payment and audit procedures, which leads to waste of taxpayer money, an audit service report said Tuesday, as it listed mistakes in billing, lack of oversight relating to charges, and payments to outside facilities against the advice of a review committee.

In its audit report for 2018, the service said it observed shortcomings in the procurement of rehabilitation services from a private facility, which was paid around €2.8m. The report said contractual terms had not been observed, there were mistakes in billing, inadequate checks as regards charges, and lacking justification of decisions to refer patients to the facility.

The service also said that the health minister had approved by exception, as part of state aid schemes, €532,500 in 24 cases, against the advice of a review committee.

“Also, in three cases, the health minister decided the payment of a higher amount from the one proposed by the committee, again without proper justification,” the report said.

“We also observed that applications for state aid are not properly assessed, since entities that filed their application late or without all the necessary documents, were approved.”

Auditors found mistakes in invoices issued to UK health authorities for services provided to British citizens in Cyprus, as well as weaknesses in the billing process. According to the report, the UK was undercharged by €53,635.

There was also lack of oversight as regards payments made to Germany for health services provided to Cypriots, the report said. No permission had been received from the ministers and health and finance for the approval of five cases that cost over €200,000 each, the audit service said.

 

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