There are ‘weaknesses and mistakes’ in the finance ministry over the way it handles payments and grants, the audit office said in a report on Tuesday.

According to the findings for 2022, the cabinet measure to offer subsidies aimed at combating higher water and electricity prices was miscalculated, leading to an overpayment to the tune of €98,227.

“Weaknesses have been identified over the full compliance of laws and circulars relating to payments,” the findings highlighted, which also detailed an €80,000 ‘donation’ to the Hunter’s Party marked as problematic by the audit office.

As for the schemes funding interest rates in a bid to support the economy as a result of the pandemic, the audit office identified weaknesses in how the provisions from the EU Commission approved scheme were transferred to what was actually published and implemented in Cyprus.

The report also raised concerns over the checks which should have been carried out before payments were made.

Special mention was made to the ‘gratuity’ grants by the finance ministry, which has been a source of disagreement between the audit office and legal service.

According to the findings, the ministry gave €83,876 to the Hunter’s Party to help cover its parliamentary election costs in May 2021.

The audit office called on the finance ministry to recall its decision, however the finance ministry had previously sought the opinion of the legal service which disagreed with the audit office.

The report highlighted the audit office’s insistence in its view.

Additionally, the findings underlined that the finance ministry includes items in its revenue amounts for which there is no actual cash flow. Such accounting practices are not consistent with the principle of receipts and payments used in the preparation of the financial statements by the Republic of Cyprus, it specified.

There were also instances where there was no sufficient evidence to substantiate certain streams of income, the report detailed.