Tens of millions paid out by NPPC for completing the questionnaires only and without any control

Bratislava, December 20, 2022 - For years, the Agrarian Ministry, through the National Agricultural and Food Centre (NPPC), paid state aid only for the completion of questionnaires. Farmers have thus received thousands of euros from the state budget for providing data on two A4 pages, rather than for targeted and sustainable projects or activities. In total, more than 45 million euros were thus paid out between 2019 and 2021, in violation of the Law on Budgetary Rules. National auditors also found that the state did not check the credibility of the data provided, nor the purpose of the use of the funds provided. "This non-transparent and highly inefficient system was put in place a decade ago and was supposed to help bridge the period needed for Brussels to approve an official state aid scheme for Slovak farmers. In the end, the system, which is a prime example of a waste of public funds, operated until an audit by the national authority for external control," says Lubomír Andrassy, chairman of the Slovak auditors. The Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic (SAO) found 1.5 million violations of financial discipline on a sample of questionnaires. The money was paid to the applicants despite the fact that the questionnaires were filled in incorrectly or lacked the required information. On the basis of the significance of the findings, the Authority is referring the audit report to the police on suspicion of a breach of duty in the management of other people's property.

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