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Commission Decision of 5 March 2008 laying down rules for the implementation of Decision No 575/2007/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Return Fund for the period 2008 to 2013 as part of the General programme Solidarity and Management of Migration Flows as regards Member States' management and control systems, the rules for administrative and financial management and the eligibility of expenditure on projects co-financed by the Fund (notified under document number C(2008)796) (Only the Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish texts are authentic) (2008/458/EC)

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Article 17Audits of systems and audits of projects

1.The audits referred to in Article 30(1)(a) and (b) of the basic act shall be carried out on the management and control systems established by the Member States and on a sample of projects selected by a method approved by the audit authority.

The sampling method shall:

(a)

include an appropriate mix of types and sizes of projects;

(b)

take account of any risk factors which have been identified by national or Community controls and the cost-benefit aspects of the verifications.

The sample shall also include projects implemented by the responsible authority acting as executing body at least on a proportional basis.

The method used to select the sample shall be documented.

2.The audit on the management and control systems shall cover each of the following processes at least once before 2013: programming, delegation of tasks, selection and award, monitoring of the projects, payment, certification of expenditure, reporting to the Commission, detection and treatment of potential irregularities and evaluation of the programmes.

3.The audits of projects shall be carried out on the spot on the basis of documentation and records held by the final beneficiary and/or the partners in the project. The audits shall verify that:

(a)

the project meets the selection criteria for the annual programme, has been implemented in accordance with the grant agreement and fulfils any applicable conditions concerning its functionality and use or the objectives to be attained;

(b)

the expenditure declared corresponds to the accounting records and supporting documents held by the final beneficiary and/or by the partners in the project, and those records correspond to the supporting documents kept by the responsible authority or any delegated body;

(c)

the items of expenditure correspond to the eligibility requirements set out in Annex XI, to the requirements specified during the national selection procedure, to the terms of the grant agreement and to the works actually carried out and, where appropriate, to other Community and national rules;

(d)

the use or intended use of the project is consistent with the objectives, action or measures set out in Articles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 17 of the basic act and, where appropriate, covers the target population;

(e)

the public or private contribution has been paid to the final beneficiary in accordance with Article 15(2) of the basic act;

(f)

there is an adequate audit trail;

(g)

there are no conflicts of interest and good value for money has been achieved, in particular in cases where the responsible authority acts as executing body of the project.

4.Only expenditure within the scope of an audit carried out under paragraph 3 shall be counted towards the amount of expenditure audited for the purpose of Article 30(1)(b) of the basic act. If the audit is performed before the project has been closed, only the expenditure actually audited is taken into account to calculate the coverage rate.

5.Where problems detected appear to be systemic in nature and may therefore entail a risk to other projects, the audit authority shall ensure that further examination is carried out, including additional audits where necessary, to establish the scale of such problems. The necessary preventive and corrective measures shall be taken by the relevant authorities.

6.The audit authority shall draw conclusions on the basis of the results of the audits relating to expenditure declared to the Commission and shall communicate the conclusions to the Commission in the annual audit report. In annual programmes for which the error rate is above the materiality level of 2 % of the Community contribution, the audit authority shall analyse the significance of this error and take the necessary measures, including making appropriate recommendations, which shall be communicated at least in the annual audit report.

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