Sampa Audits the Quango Tango and the GONGO Bongo

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Frozen squid: The president of Brazil drinks
guaraná in Antarctica. All the local football teams “disappoint.” Military police arrested for death-squading “suspected of running a murder-for-hire ‘consortium'” …

Time will tell whether the emergence of the quasi government is to be viewed as a symptom of decline in our democratic government, or a harbinger of a new, creative management era where the purportedly artificial barriers between the governmental and private sectors are breached as a matter of principle. — Kevin R. Kosar, “The Quasi Government: Hybrid Organizations with Both Government and Private Sector Legal Characteristics” (Congressional Research Service, February 13, 2007)

TCE faz devassa nos repasses do governo de São Paulo para ONGs: “State independent auditor [the Tribunal de Contas do Estado, or TCE] is poring over state government allocations to NGOs.”

A federal congressional inquiry into the public accountability of NGOs acting as outsourcing providers is generating very little noise and heat, but the issue actually seems like kind of a pressing one.

See

The Estado de S. Paulo has this as its top Web story at the moment, while the lost Petrobras laptops lead the print coverage (above.)

Os repasses do governo de São Paulo para entidades do terceiro setor, como ONGs e Oscips, estão passando por um pente-fino do Tribunal de Contas do Estado. No ano passado, 1.891 processos foram abertos para investigar as transferências de recursos do governo estadual e das prefeituras para entidades sem fins lucrativos.

Allocations by the state government of São Paulo to the “third sector,” including NGOs and OSCIPS (“public-interest civil society organizations”) are being gone over with a fine-tooth comb by the state [independent auditor]. Last year, 1,891 proceedings were opened to investigate the passing of state and municipal funds to nonprofit organizations.

O motivo é o elevado número de denúncias de irregularidades na execução dos serviços. As suspeitas sobre as relações entre o dinheiro público e tais organizações tomaram corpo após a abertura da CPI das ONGs, no Congresso, em 2007.

The reason is the high volume of accusations of irregularities in the execution of service contracts. Suspicions about the relationship between public funds and these sorts of organization solidified after the federal congress installed a CPI to investigate NGOs in 2007.

Sudden bursts of efficiency of this type tend to cluster around election years.

Municipal elections are scheduled for later this year, and a rift seems to be forming in the governing PSDB between the former governor and the current one, both of them bald Toucans.

The current one had proposed looking at all state contracts for works and services in the last ten years.

Which actually seemed like a good idea, but was received as an act of Toucan-on-Toucan political treason, not least because it might prove politically damaging to his fellow bald Toucan, who intends to run for mayor this year.

The other bald Toucan had run for president, and the campaign’s finances technically ran the risk of barring him from running for office.

Fortunately, a close relative of the Toucanian Candidate’s is a former justice of the federal elections tribunal, and now represents his campaign before his former colleagues. Go figure.

Os 1.891 processos compõem o primeiro lote de auditorias do TCE com a nova sistemática de fiscalização, que impõem critérios mais rígidos de análise. Eles devem começar a ser julgados a partir da metade deste ano. As principais mudanças nas fiscalizações são a exigência de visitas às entidades e a responsabilização dos órgãos concedentes dos recursos (Estado e prefeituras).

These 1,891 cases make up the first batch of TSE audits under the new system of oversight, which imposes stricter criteria, and should start to be adjudicated in mid-2008. The principal changes in oversight include requiring visits to the organizations in question and accountability on the part of state agencies that authorize the expenditures (the state munipal governments).

Com isso, o TCE espera frear uma onda de entidades criadas exclusivamente para explorar os cofres públicos. Na mira, estão organizações não-governamentais (ONGs), organizações sociais (OS) e organizações da sociedade civil de interesse público (Oscips). Mas o número de entidades analisadas pode ser ainda maior – cada processo pode englobar mais de um repasse.

With this, the TCE hopes to rein in a wave of organizations created for the sole purpose of benefiting from public funding. In its sights: NGOs, “social organizations” (OS) and OSCIPS. But the number of organizations to be scrutinized may be even greater: Each case may involve more than one budget allocation.

””As ONGs são uma recente novidade. Elas não têm mais que 10 anos. Começaram aos poucos e isso foi crescendo, o que nos chamou a atenção. Estávamos habituados com a concessão de recursos para asilos, para as Apaes e Santas Casas””, afirmou o diretor-geral do TCE, Sérgio Rossi, principal responsável por essa operação.

NGOs are a recent innovation. They are no more than ten years old. They started slow and then started growing, which caught our attention. We were accustommed to the concession of public funds to asylums, associations for parents of special children, and charity hospitals,” said Sérgio Rossi, executive director of the TCE and the principal sponsor of the initiatives.

The “OSCIPS Law” dates from 1999. An executive order on the eve of President Cardoso’s leaving office provided further loopholes, one reads. See also

De fato, a noção que se tem de que existe uma ONG em cada esquina não está longe da realidade. A Associação Brasileira de Organizações Não Governamentais (Abong) estima que existam mais de 300 mil entidades do tipo no País. Só na área de assistência social havia no Estado, em 2006, 2.743 organizações registradas e regularizadas na Secretaria Estadual de Assistência e Desenvolvimento Social.

In fact, the notion that there is an NGO on every corner these days is not far from reality. ABONG, the Brazilian Association of NGOs, estimates there are 300,000 such organizations in Brazil. In the area of social assistance alone, there were 2,743 such organizations registered with and authorized by the São Paulo state secretary of social assistance and develoment.

DESVIO

[Switcheroo]

Apesar de os processos abertos pelo TCE ainda não terem sido concluídos – não permitindo dizer quantos terão problemas – a principal irregularidade constatada até agora é o desvio de finalidade. Há casos dentro de lote de auditoria como o de uma entidade criada com finalidade educacional que tem recebido recursos do Estado e de prefeituras para construção de moradias. Ou mesmo uma situação onde se verificou que a pessoa que assina a parceria como gerenciador da Oscip é ao mesmo tempo procurador do prefeito.

Although the cases opened by the TCE have not concluded yet — which means the question of how many present problems cannot yet be established — the irregularity most frequently found to this point is the use of funds for other than their stated purpose. There are cases such as that of an organization created for educational purposes that received state and municipal funds to build housing. There is even a case in which the person who signed the partnership agreement as the administrator of the OSCIP was also employed as legal counsel to the city government.

””A comprovação dos gastos está sempre documentada, é documento fiscal. É difícil você encontrar documento fiscal que não corresponda ao que está expedido. Acabou essa história de fajutar segunda via de uma nota para dizer que era 10 e virou 100. Está muito mais difícil de acontecer””, afirmou Rossi. Segundo ele, até agora não foram constatadas ONGs fantasmas.

“Expenditures are always documented, this is an official document. You will have a hard time finding dcoumentation that does not square with what was actually spend. This whole story of issuing a new copy of a document and suddenly 10 becomes 100 is over. It is very difficult for this to happen now,” said Rossi, who says that to this point, no “ghost” NGOs have been discovered.

””Se o contrato é para atender a 5 mil crianças/ano, eu vou encontrar o documento relativo a 5 mil crianças/ano. Só estava faltando constatar, em algum momento, se as crianças estavam sendo atendidas. É isso que eu quero com esta ordem de visitação. Eles nunca vão saber a hora e o dia que eu vou lá.””

“If the contract calls for service to 5,000 children per year, I am going to find a document referring to 5,000 children per year. What remains to be determined is whether those 5,000 children actually got services. And that is what I mean to accomplish with these mandatory visits. They are not going to know the hour and date I am coming to inspect them.”

LIMITES

Limitations

Um dos casos já confirmados como irregular pelo TCE, com falhas na aplicação dos recursos, é o de duas entidades criadas em Sumaré, interior de São Paulo, que receberam recursos para colocar médicos nos bairros e os profissionais acabaram sendo usados nas próprias unidades de saúde da prefeitura, caracterizando desvio de função (leia texto nesta página).

One of the cases of irregularity already discovered by the TCE, with failures in the application of the budget, is that of two organizations in Sumaré, in the interior of the state, which got money to send physicians into the neighborhoods. The doctors wound up being used in the city government’s health clinics, which constitutes using the funds for other than their stated purpose …

Para o TCE, a falta de critérios na concessão de recursos foi um dos motivos do aumento dos problemas. ””O parecer de quem autorizava os recursos deixava a desejar, quanto às necessidades a serem atestadas – como a existência efetiva da unidade e a execução da tarefa prevista. Dizia apenas que os documentos eram suficientes à prestação de contas””, explica Rossi. ””Se o responsável pelo repasse não tem a responsabilidade de demonstrar se a prestação de contas foi bem feita ele fica em situação tranqüila.””

The TCE believes the lack of standards in the concession of funding was one reason for an increase in problems. “The findings of those who authorized the funding left something to be desired, in terms of the requirements to be verified, such as the actual existence of the facility to be funded and whether the funding was being applied to the purpose for which it was granted,” Rossi explains. “If the person responsible for authorizing the allocation is not held responsible for ensuring whether the accounting is properly done, he is [off the hook and does not bother with it].

Mas a punição é limitada. O TCE tem poder apenas de multar. ””Se eu sentir que há vestígio de desvio eu mando para o Ministério Público. Aí, vai entrar na área criminal e cível””, explica Rossi.

Penalities are limited, however. The TCE only has the power to levy fines. “If I find evidence of skimming or embezzlement, I send it to the prosecutor’s office, where you start to get into civil and criminal liability,” Rossi explains.

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“NGOs have a strong trust advantage in most European countries. Eastern Europe differs.” Click to zoom. Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2008

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