Requirement of Equal Treatment Enforced More Efficiently

By his measures, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights established the conditions of exemplary operation and compliant task performance, therefore the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, the legal successor taking over the tasks of the Equal Treatment Authority, can guarantee the satisfaction of the requirement of equal treatment more efficiently. In the new organisational context, the situation of public finances significantly improved, and the measures taken in order to reorganise the Equal Treatment Authority were justified, which fact is also supported by the deficiencies uncovered during the audit carried out by the State Audit Office for the period of 2017–2019.

The Equal Treatment Authority belongs to the central subsystem of government finances, and its assets are part of the national wealth. The Fundamental Law of Hungary stipulates that the management of national assets shall aim at serving the public interest. It also prescribes that every organisation managing public funds shall be obliged to publicly account for its management of public funds. Public funds and national assets shall be managed according to the principles of transparency and the purity of public life.

The State Audit Office established during its audit that between 2017 and 2019, the accounting policies as well as the invoice regime of the Equal Treatment Authority did not comply with the legal regulations in their content. The lack of the mandatory content elements of the invoice regime obstructed bookkeeping and the preparation of reports in accordance with fundamental accounting principles. The rules of asset and stock management were not laid down in internal regulations. Based on the above, the regulatory frameworks necessary for bookkeeping in compliance with legal regulations and the preparation of reports, as well as the conditions of responsible and compliant asset management, were not guaranteed. Due to all of these deficiencies, in the period of 2017–2019, the Equal Treatment Authority did not provide the frameworks required for the compliant register, accounting and protection of assets, and the fundamental conditions of compliant bookkeeping and asset management were not satisfied.

In the period of 2017–2018, the Equal Treatment Authority ensured the compliant statement of assets, and supported the items of the balance with an inventory. In 2019, however, the protection and statement of assets were not ensured as the Authority did not issue an accounting voucher, despite the statutory provision to do so.

Due to the deficiencies exposed, the Equal Treatment Authority did not satisfy the requirements laid down in the Fundamental Law regarding the preservation and protection of the value of national assets, and accountability for them. 

In order to terminate the unlawful practice exposed by the audit, the State Audit Office addressed a notification letter to the head of the legal successor of the Equal Treatment Authority, i.e. the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, thus providing an opportunity for him to restore orderly operation and management after the period scrutinized, and to notify the President of the State Audit Office thereof. 

In response to the above, following the period audited, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights took measures in order to end the unlawful practice and anomalies discovered. Consequently, the risks of the diminution of the value of national assets and of the accountability for the protection and management of these assets were mitigated, and the situation of public finances saw a significant improvement.

Source (original article in Hungarian): State Audit Office – aszhirportal.hu