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State Audit Office Exposes Universities’ Inappropriate Spending Of Public Funds

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2015.04.30.

A significant number of higher education institutions have misappropriated public funds and failed to comply with regulations on the management of finances, the chairman of the Hungarian State Audit Office has said.

Introducing the findings of surveillance checks carried out in 28 state-run and two church-operated higher education institutions between 2009 and 2013, László Domokos said that series of recurring shortcomings had been discovered in internal surveillance systems, which increase exposure to corruption and point to the lack of leadership decisions on curbing the misappropriation of funding.

Of the twenty-eight state-operated institutions, only in five cases was forwarding irregularities to authorities not necessary.

The report also points out that university senates’ rights of supervision have to be strengthened because in several cases, the bodies failed to rate rectors’ performed and carried out the tasks laid down in the higher education law either not according to rules or beyond deadlines. In most cases, universities also breached the rules of public procurement  and decisions regarding finances were frequently made disregarding rules. In the case of the University of Pécs, 79 proceedings have been launched concerning procurements totalling HUF 8.2 billion.

Last year, a test examining institutional integrity in 23 of the country’s higher education institutions found that factors increasing the danger of corruption have an extremely high presence.

In late March it was announced that police are investigating Corvinus University of Budapest, one of the country’s top universities, on suspicion of a HUF 100 million fraud.

photo: Simó