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Auditors ordered not to upload reports to website, party leader claims

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Metin Yener, president of the Court of Accounts, the government body responsible for auditing the accounts of public agencies and political parties, has ordered auditors not to publish 2021 reports online, local media reported on Tuesday, citing claims by a party leader.

Rifat Serdaroğlu, former minister and currently the leader of the True Party, a small party not represented in parliament, recently claimed in a series of tweets that Yener ordered auditors not to upload their 2021 reports to the court’s online audit management program SayCap.

“The latest audit reports are being destroyed! ‘You will not enter your reports into the electronic system,’ the president of the Court of Accounts instructed the auditors. … Is it his duty to hide corruption from the public? Isn’t there anyone decent in state [institutions]?” Serdaroğlu said.

According to a report by the Birgün daily on Tuesday, the auditors who are in the process of drafting their 2021 reports and entering their findings into SayCap are instructed to send them directly to their superiors via e-mail, instead of using the website.

Some auditors objected to the instruction, saying they refuse to share financial findings via e-mail and would continue using SayCap for such interactions, Birgün said.

A department head from the court resigned after being ordered to omit some of the findings in an audit report on the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure during an assessment meeting held between the auditors who prepared the report and the administrators from the ministry.

Such meetings have been held since March 2021, when a circular issued by the Court of Accounts instructed its staff to meet with the public administrative body under audit to review its report prior to its release.

Although the circular said the new implementation aimed to “minimize the margin of error in audit reports by having their findings evaluated in all their aspects,” many argued that the real aim was to allow the administrators of the entity under audit to change or omit some of the findings that they don’t want to be made public.

Yener, formerly a presidency personnel and principles director with no background in the Court of Accounts, was elected the new president of the body in June 2021, receiving 255 votes in a secret vote held in parliament’s General Assembly while his only rival, Mehmet Aksoy, a member of the Court of Accounts’ 6th Chamber, garnered only four.

A graduate of the department of economics at Gazi University, Yener completed his master’s degree in economic policy at Gazi University and public administration at Indiana University. He was appointed deputy director-general of the department of laws and resolutions at the Prime Ministry in 2012, personnel and principles director at the Prime Ministry in 2014 and presidency personnel and principles director in 2018.

The Court of Accounts’ audit reports, which have revealed many instances of irregularity and corruption in public administrative bodies including some of the provincial and district municipalities run by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), have been subjected to various types of censorship under AKP rule.

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