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Accounting Chamber miscounted


      Last Friday, on October 16, 2009, the State Committee of Ukraine on Land Resources (hereinafter the Committee) circulated its response to the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine (hereinafter the Chamber) press-release published earlier this year in Ukrainian official media and reproduced in English at MyLand web-site. In this release the Chamber Board asserted that social and economic sense of the World Bank funded Rural Land Titling and Cadastre Development Project was lost. Such conclusion was made on the basis of the audit of the Project implementation in 2008.
     The Committee summarized its reaction as clutching one’s head. For example, it is stated by the Chamber that the Committee misappropriated UAH 9.5 million – but there are no legal documents drafted by the Chamber experts who conducted the audit which would confirm such misappropriation. Nevertheless, the Chamber Board in its release made such statement.
      Another thing that impressed the Committee. The Chamber says that 3 out of 4 million certificates were converted into land titles on account of land owners, not on the account of the Project funds. At the same time the Chamber does not explain why it happened so. The Committee says that it happened so because at the time of contracting land engineering companies and actual performance of contracted job there were differences between number of persons who actually got land share certificates, number of persons who inherited a rights to land share and number of persons who actually applied to contracted companies for a land title. A share of persons entitled to get a land title free of charge made it on their own account or on account of investors [MyLand: this point about investors is not clear to us, we cannot explain who those investors are and how they are related to World Bank Project. As soon as we get an explanation we will publish it]
      Besides, the original number of land share certificates was calculated in 2002, and the World Bank Loan was ratified in 2004 – during those two years the number of certificates to convert into land titles decreased significantly. The Committee also says that some Decrees of the President of Ukraine speeded up land sharing and issue of land titles outside the scope of the Project.
      As of October 1, 2009 the number of land shares certificates converted into land titles within the framework of the Project exceeded 500 thousand.
     The Committee says that it cannot understand on the basis of what the Chamber Board concluded that the Committee failed to provide all persons concerned with complete information about their land rights as regards the project. In the Act of audit produced by the Chamber experts on June 17, 2009 it is stated that remarkable progress was made in informing citizens about their land rights.
      The Committee also made an interesting observation about the statement of the Chamber Board that the Committee ineffectively managed state funds allocated for the Project. Out of UAH 54.1 million assigned only UAH 31 million was spent. The Committee points out that in the audited period the coordinator of the Project was Deputy Head of the Committee Mr Garbuz – now a Deputy Director of one of the Accounting Chamber departments. The Committee is asking why this fact was tacitly omitted in the Chamber Board release.
     The Committee also points out at other omissions and misrepresentations in the release of the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine and makes a conclusion that the release was biased and prejudiced.

      Source: State Committee of Ukraine on Land Resources, 2009
      Translation: Center for Land reform Policy in Ukraine, 2009


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