Dispute over Covid agency – Squatter: “We can’t confirm thriftiness”


Audit Chamber chair Margit Kraker presented the RH criticism of the Covid financing agency COFAG in the ÖVP-U committee on Thursday. For example, the documentation at the Ministry of Finance about the need to set up the development company was insufficient. In a report, the Court of Auditors had massively criticized COFAG and recommended its dissolution.

In the report published a little less than a month ago, the supervisory body examined COFAG’s management and the structure and efficiency of subsidies to the companies. On the other hand, individual financing cases of private companies have not been audited, “because we have no insight,” says Kraker. The question was also asked whether the establishment of another government financier was necessary.

‘Insufficiently documented decision-making at the Ministry of Finance’
However, the documentation at the Ministry of Finance was missing. “The decision-making at the ministry was insufficiently documented. We missed the reason why COFAG was founded.” However, in the Court’s opinion, an explanation should have been given as to why there was a need for a development company in which the public sector took on a high financing obligation – ultimately EUR 19 billion. It was also insufficiently documented whether alternatives were considered. “The Court of Justice suggested that this should be adequately explained in the future.”

Purchased external service providers, high remuneration for the Supervisory Board
COFAG was initially set up as a coordination agency with the aim of maintaining the solvency of companies. It was then decided that she would take on the “fixed costs subsidy I”. For this they not only called on the financial administration, but also bought in external service providers. “We cannot confirm the economy there,” said Kraker. The level of remuneration for the Supervisory Board was also not appropriate in comparison with the banking sector.

Danger of over-financing due to “highly complex” subsidies
The risk of overfunding identified by the Court stemmed from the fact that the initial seven grant instruments were “highly complex” and there was a lack of scientific evaluation of their accuracy. But after that it got better. The test itself “went well”, according to Kraker. She saw no barriers or impact on testing activity.

The occupation of managerial positions is also under criticism
The auditors not only criticized the design of the corona aid, but also the establishment and composition of the management and control bodies and the personal relationship between COFAG and its parent company ABBAG. Former COFAG director Bernhard Perner and ABBAG chairman of the Supervisory Board Wolfgang Nolz were questioned about this on Wednesday.

Source: Krone


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