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Millions of euros in fines remain unpaid

The state is owed tens of millions in unexecuted fine warrants, a result of poor record-keeping and below-par IT systems, the Audit Office has found.

In a special report published Monday, the government watchdog said the situation with pending fines has not improved in any measurable way since the last similar audit three years ago.

For example, the Audit Office tracked warrants worth €22.7 million with incomplete data on the debtors – be it private individuals or corporations.

In most cases, the agency noted, the police do not take actions to ensure proper execution.

Included in the unexecuted warrants are €254,000 relating to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), relatives or companies associated with PEPs.

And €237,000 relate to debtors who themselves are state functionaries – police officers, court officials and prison wardens – who should be easy to track down. However, in only four of these cases have deductions been made from the functionaries’ salaries.

The auditor-general also found that the respective IT systems used by the police and by the social insurance services cannot ‘talk’ to each other, as a result of which the discrepancy between the two systems shows 8,149 unexecuted warrants worth some €17 million.

From the paper trail available, it was not possible to ascertain what actions the police take in following up on unexecuted warrants, as these actions often do not get logged.

The courts meanwhile use outdated methods of record-keeping and are consequently prone to error. In several instances the details of defendants are incomplete, creating difficulty in locating these persons.

“We believe that computerisation in the courts, and automation of the processes for issuing and monitoring warrants, if implemented correctly, would resolve most of the problems and shortcomings,” the Audit Office said in its report.

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