The Court of Auditors of the province of Buenos Aires analyzed the accountability of the Municipality of Zárate and said the town paid $ 90,000 for gas vouchers but "could not find the final destination of the fuel purchased”. Therefore, the watchdog decided to make a pecuniary charge of $ 100,338.74 on those responsible.

In 2008, the town of Zárate made several payments to SA Luncheon Tickets by purchasing vouchers to distribute gasoline in different areas of the Municipality. The Court analyzed these disbursements, totaling $ 90 thousand, and asked the municipality to submit the legal standard governing the delivery, control, and use of the vouchers. The municipality responded that such regulations "did not exist" and stated that "the delivery of tickets is the prerogative of the Executive Department to provide travel services to various municipal officials and agents."

In this release, the municipal accountant added a list of the areas and the number of vouchers that had been granted to each, but, as stated in the report of the Tribunal, which was approved in late 2010, the vouchers "were not signed by officials or the vehicles in which the fuel was filled" could be identified.

Because we could not know whether the fuel purchased was actually used in official vehicles, the watchdog decided to disallow expenditure and develop a supportive economic position between the municipal mayor, Osvaldo Cáffaro and Chief Cabinet Secretary Paul for $100,338.74. Indeed, the Court stated that the Municipal Organic Law states that "the expenditure of funds cannot be carried out without a written order by the Mayor, confirmed by the Secretary and operated by the accountant" and also "must have records that demonstrate the investment of public funds and their final destination."

A Place for ANSES

The agency reviewed the payments made by the Municipality, on a lease, of a property that was used to install a delegation of the National Social Security Administration (ANSES, for its acronym in Spanish). The report explains that the district "did not provide the agreement concluded with ANSES under which the municipality pays the rent of the property." In the absence of justification, the Court decided to "observe the orders paid" as it had done in 2007, "in the amount of $ 74,500."

Those responsible tried to explain the issue, arguing that "the property was transferred on a loan to ANSES" and that "the situation could not be regularized with the signing of a definitive agreement."

Despite the disclaimer, the Court found them "devoid of legal basis to payments made by the municipality" and held that "spending is holding a property which is used by a third party without a written agreement." Therefore, the watchdog decided to attribute "responsible", the mayor Osvaldo Raul Cáffaro and the accountants Oscar Ibar and Marisa Lopez Soria, who "were sanctioned to pay $83,037.79 for solidarity."

A Wrongly Collected Tax 

On tariffs that guide the movement of cattle, the Court also made its rebuttal. The rate set by the Ministry of Land Affairs is unique and controlled. However, the Municipality of Zárate did not apply as stated in Resolution No. 336/06 of the Ministry of Agricultural Affairs of the Province.

Those responsible argued that "the fees were settled according to the Tax Ordinance and in accordance with the Municipal Law." Given the response of the municipality, the Court stated that "the provisions of the Resolution of the Ministry of Land Affairs are mandatory because it is a higher standard than the municipal hierarchy."

Accordingly, the Court made a charge for the difference in rates, $ 16,407.94, to which it added the interest of the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires in its warehouse operations office. The final amount was $ 18,420.34 and the sanction was applied as “solidarity” between the director of Public Revenue, Daniel Bonne, the Mayor, Osvaldo Cáffaro, and the Secretary of the Treasury, Patricia Fernández.