A report by the General Auditor of Salta stated that the Mayor of the Rivadavia Banda Norte Town kept public funds in his home. In addition, it is stated that the accounting records were done in a private studio and, coincidentally, the same day the watchdog team arrived the financial statements and other documents disappeared.
As stated in the report, in order to begin fieldwork on September 5th the auditors held a meeting with the Mayor (Michael Atta Gerala) and his Secretary of Government, in which it was agreed to initiate tasks a couple of hours later. Following completion of the scheduled time, the auditors came to the municipal building, but no authority was present. After two hours of waiting the team left.
The next day, two officials told them that the Secretary of Government made "a police report for theft in the file area of the Town," which was on the same day that the auditors gave notice to the start of their tasks to the Mayor. The report notes that in the "allegedly unlawful act someone had stolen the information required by the Audit" and "in-the-first meeting, the City failed to report the theft of documents to the audit staff."
Despite the loss of accounting information, the day after the visit of the audit team, the City Council approved the Annual Report, Budget Execution General Account and Fiscal Year 2010. The watchdog says that "it is unclear what the resolution refers to when speaking about the General Account for the Year "since no copy of the information was passed.
Moreover, the report notes that "officials had no affidavits of its assets at the beginning and end of their administration," although it is well established in Article No. 63 of the Provincial Constitution.
The Foreign Fund Management of Rivadavia Banda Norte
From the interviews held with the auditors of the Rivadavia Banda Norte officials it was found that there were significant irregularities in the handling of money. In this sense, they discovered that "the funds (Government’s) were kept in the house of the Mayor" and "the daily deposits in the bank were not being carried out." Furthermore, "not all payments were made with checks" and the ones that were paid that way, in some cases, "were signed by the accounting advisor" instead of the Secretary of the Treasury which would be more "appropriate".
According to the watchdog, "the accounting records and the payroll of the City was made from the private study of the accounting advisor" and not from the town offices. In addition, the position of Treasurer was vacant for "failing to designate a replacement." From the Administration they claimed that the Treasurer "was with Maternity Leave", but the auditors were unable to verify that information.
The audit concluded that the internal control of the municipality "has few strengths and serious weaknesses" becoming "poor, informal, and inefficient" to produce "reliable" information "that would protect municipal assets and meets the objectives and legislation." This conclusion arises from observations for the period 2010 and from January 1st to April 30th 2011.