AN INTERNAL AUDIT at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has concluded that further action is needed due to discrepancies detected in ordering and invoicing for the communication services provided to Katri Kulmuni, the chairperson of the Centre.
Kulmuni resigned as the minister of finance earlier this month over her use of 56,000 euros worth of services provided by Tekir, a crisis and reputation management consultancy based in Helsinki.
She had served as the minister of economic affairs between June and December 2019.
Although some of the training sessions had dealt with her responsibilities at the helm of the Centre, the sessions were paid for by the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy on Tuesday revealed it has completed its internal audit into the procurements, saying the auditors recommend that it take further action in regards to Tekir and Kari Jääskeläinen, a now former special advisor to Kulmuni.
The auditors did not specify the nature of the further action.
The ministry pointed out in its press release that its administrative, communication and human resources departments conducted the procurements in accordance with both government guidelines and the act on public procurements. The procurement agreement, however, could have been clarified by defining its content specifically as relating to the ministerial duties of Kulmuni.
Jääskeläinen, the audit found, had a prominent role in the procurements. He ordered the services directly from the consultancy without informing the administrative unit of the ministry, a fact that contributed to the costs exceeding the expected maximum of 20,000 euros.
“He clearly implied that he is working with a mandate given by the minister, which he did not have according to the report submitted by […] Kulmuni. Jääskeläinen also personally made the orders, some of which neither the minister nor the ministry’s administration were aware of, even though the ministry’s rules of procedure state that special advisors must provide officials the information they need to perform their duties,” the press release reads.
The audit also found serious discrepancies in the invoicing of Tekir. The consultancy, it said, invoiced the ministry for work that had taken place before the agreement was signed and work that the minister was unaware of.
Tekir also failed to comply with the agreement in invoicing for additional work.
The audit commented briefly also on the content of the services, stating that even though it was not directly related to the minister’s duties they supported the development of skills required for performing the duties.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT