The Czech Ministry of Interior purchased around 300 extra cars for the police force simply because it wanted to exhaust its allocated budget, the Czech spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) writes in a report released on Monday following checks on how funds for the force were administered by the ministry.
In some cases, many of the new cars were never used at all and many fell well below the minimum expected use. Checks at national police headquarters showed that 26 cars delivered in 2010 and 2011 were never used.
One regional police authority said the low mileage of some of its new vehicles was due to ministry rules, which dictated that a car could not be changed early unless it was seven years old or clocked up 220,000 kilometers. It added that other budget cuts meant that savings were being made on costs of fuel needed for their operation.
The original decision to hike the original order to 3,500 cars for Kč 1.322 billion from the original total of 3,200 for Kč 1.203 billion. Later changes to specifications were made cutting the price to Kč 1.297 billion.
“The reason for the increased purchases of vehicles was the unused financial resources used in the 214110 program [one of the main equipment renewal programs under review with a budget of Kč 18.89 billion],” the NKÚ said in a statement.
At the same time as money was being squandered on cars, urgent work on repairing a hanger near Prague’s main airport, which housed most of the police air force, never got underway in spite of the threat to life and equipment valued at around Kč 2.5 billion house inside, the watchdog reported. Damage to the hanger's roof later required emergency repairs.
The report, focused on the ministry’s moves to replace equipment and carry out repairs to police property mainly during the five year period from 2005–2010, found that the ministry of interior had no real long-term concept for replacing or providing new equipment for the police force based on needs but spending was largely a reaction to the available cash flows.