AKP, CHP row lingers over Court of Accounts report

AKP, CHP row lingers over Court of Accounts report

AKP, CHP row lingers over Court of Accounts report

A dispute over a Court of Accounts report that purportedly documented the “wasteful spending” of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has resumed after it was brought up at the live TV debate between the two top contenders in the Istanbul mayoral election.

The fiscal jurisdiction body on June 18 issued a press release concerning the row.

“There is no evaluation in the report stating that Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality helped some non-governmental organizations. The audit report overtly issued an affirmative opinion to the 2017 budget of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company (İETT) and [Istanbul’s water authority] İSKİ,” the written press statement stressed.

“The transactions did not cause irregularities or public loss, as expressed,” the statement added.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yıldırım and his rival, Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on June 16 sat down for a live TV debate, a week ahead of the June 23 election.

The row’s fuse ignited as the debate’s moderator brought up the Court of Accounts report, which reportedly identifies 753 million Turkish liras (around $129 million) in alleged irregular spending at İETT and İSKİ and some 120 million liras (roughly $20 million) of redundant vehicle use. He then asked the contenders’ take on the issue.

Yıldırım refuted the figures, saying the report was disproven. 

“There is no such figure in the report. It has been disproven by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality,” he said.

İmamoğlu, on the other hand, said the CHP has examined the report and confirmed that the “irregularities” of İETT and İSKİ reached the figure of 753 million liras.

“The Court of Accounts’ report does not do bookkeeping. It only conveys the matter. We perused this report. [Yıldırım] might have been tricked or misguided and maybe should reconsider those informing him [about the report],” he said.

The CHP candidate also underlined that according to the report, the metropolitan municipality has 1,810 vehicles, a figure which is “inconsistent” with the number of employees.

Prior to this on May 23, the Court of Accounts issued another press release, saying there is no conclusive audit report on 2018 and 2019.

Nevertheless, the report in dispute was issued by the body and covers the budgetary accounts of the metropolitan municipality in 2017.