Flaws in Municipal Real Estate Deals
An audit into land sale and swap procedures in the municipalities of Ljubljana, Murska Sobota and Nova Gorica between 2007 and 2010 revealed irregularities which were detected in most municipalities in recent years, the president of the Court of Audit, Igor Šoltes told.
The court finds problematic the plans for sale, the valuation procedure and the methods of sale. Often direct contracts are signed where there is no legal basis for that, Šoltes said.
The court issued a qualified opinion to Nova Gorica, while Ljubljana and Murska Sobota got an adverse opinion. In Murska Sobota, contracts where irregularities were found are worth a combined EUR 1m, while in the capital they are worth EUR 14.5m.
The municipalities are not obligated to submit a report on remedy measures, because they have been correcting irregularities and introducing the necessary measures already during the audit procedure. Šoltes added that there was no suspicion of crime.
However, he stressed that the oversight over the municipal management of immovable property was difficult due to the large number of municipalities in the country and that sanctions should be envisaged for wrongdoing in this area.
He believes that municipalities should not be completely autonomous in dealing with real estate and that the state should play a bigger part in this.
Slovenia lacks a national strategy in this area, which is demonstrated by the frequent changing of the legislation. The act on local self-government has been changed 15 times and the act on the financing of municipalities six times, he noted.
Former Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, who is running for mayor again at the upcoming local by-election, responded by saying that the municipality "made a good deal" in terms of the number of land sales and methods of sale.
He also touched on the court's finding that the municipality failed to draft individual sale programmes, saying that recent changes to the relevant legislation had already corrected this.
His main rival in the mayoral elections and the joint candidate of New Slovenia (NSi) and the Democrats (SDS), Mojca Kucler Dolinar, sees the court's report as yet another proof that Janković's work was foul.
"Based on the (court's) report, we can assume that the former mayor dealt with the land according to his 'inner instinct'", Kulcer Dolinar said, adding Janković handled Ljubljana's money "non-transparently and unfairly".
The Nova Gorica municipality meanwhile said that it had already introduced measures to correct certain irregularities. Among other things, it started drafting a record of land owned by the municipality.
The Association of Municipalities and Towns, one of two main municipality associations in Slovenia, said they would welcome changes that would prevent corruption risks in real estate deals, but only if these would not encroach on their autonomy.
17 Nov 2012 / By STA
03 Apr 2012 / By STA
01 Mar 2012 / By STA
20 Jan 2012 / By STA
16 Jan 2012 / By STA
11 Jan 2012 / By STA
10 Jan 2012 / By STA
09 Jan 2012 / By STA
09 Jan 2012 / By STA
05 Jan 2012 / By STA
28 Dec 2011 / By sta
24 Dec 2011 / By STA
23 Dec 2011 / By STA
21 Dec 2011 / By STA
14 Dec 2011 / By STA
13 Dec 2011 / By STA
12 Dec 2011 / By STA
07 Dec 2011 / By STA
04 Dec 2011 / By STA
04 Nov 2011 / By STA