The procedures for selecting auditors and appointing an expert, their obligations, subjects for audit, procedures, the terms and conditions for the control of the implementation of the investments that have been characterized as strategic, were defined by the decision published in the Government Gazette that was signed by the Deputy Minister of Finance Theodoros Skylakakis, the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments Nikos Papathanasis and the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments Christos Dimas.
The decision notes that “the scope of the decision is all investment projects that have been characterized as Strategic Investments by decision of the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments (D.E.S.E.) in accordance with Laws 4864/2021 and 4608/2019 as well as those designated as Strategic Investments in accordance with Law 3894/2010 and their bodies have request the control of their implementation by a certified public accountant, and for which the decision to grant incentives and aids has been issued”.
According to the decision:
The intermediate certification of the realization of the physical and economic object and the certification of the completion and initiation of the productive operation of the investments, is carried out by an audit by a certified auditor. Investment plans that include research and development aid, in addition to being audited by the certified public accountant, are also certified by an expert designated by the Registry of Certified Assessors (CPA) of the General Secretariat of Research and Innovation of the Ministry of Development and Investments.
The investment body submits, to the general directorate of Strategic Investments, the relevant audit request accompanied by the supporting documents defined each time in the relevant regulatory decisions, the details of the proposed certified public accountant from the Public Registry, who it wishes to carry out the audit, as well as a request for the appointment of an expert from the Register of Certified Assessors (CPA) of the General Secretariat of Research and Innovation, in the event that the investment includes aid for research and development.
The General Directorate of Strategic Investments checks if the audit request is sound, if it is deemed complete, issues an approval decision of the Minister of Development and Investments for the appointment of the proposed certified public accountant and, in the event that the investment includes aid for research and development, forwards it to the general secretariat of Research and Innovation, request to select an expert from the Registry of Certified Appraisers (CPA).
Object and procedure of the audit by a certified public accountant
Object of the audit for the intermediate certification of the implementation of the physical and economic object and the certification of the completion and start of the production operation of each strategic investment approved by the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments, is:
a. The control and recording of the intermediate realization of the physical and economic object or the completion and start of the productive operation of the investment.
b. The financial control of the investment and specifically the control of the accounting records, data and documents related to its implementation and payment, ensuring, among other things, the avoidance of double financing of the same expenditure by the recovery and resilience mechanism or other programs of the European Union.
c. The determination of the investment body’s compliance with the provisions of the relevant laws, as well as compliance with the conditions and terms of the decision of the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments for the characterization of the investment as strategic and the decision to grant incentives and aid.
d. The confirmation of submitted data.
In order to carry out the control of investments, a Strategic Investments Control Program is applied, which is drawn up and updated by decision of the Minister of Development and Investments and issued after the opinion of the Hellenic Accounting and Auditing Standards Oversight Board (HAASOB). Certified public accountants/auditors are allowed access to the investment plan file information in order to complete their audit.
Investments are audited/inspected at the place of implementation, and if required, at the headquarters of the entities if the original technical files and expenditure documents are kept there.
The control of the implementation of a physical object is mandatorily assigned by the responsible certified public accountant to an architect, a civil engineer, a mechanical engineer or other certified auditors depending on the type of investment, who draw up and tender for co-submission the relevant affidavits.
The compensation of the certified public accountants is paid by the investment entity.
After the end of the audit work, the certified auditors and accountants submit to the general directorate of Strategic Investments the required documents and certificates, copies of which are posted on the website of the Ministry of Development and Investments. These will be binding in terms of their use and will have the status of a consent form for the signee according to Law 1599/1986 with all the legal consequences that this implies.
The experts’ compensation for each investment project is set at 150 euros
The general direction of Strategic Investments for the investments for which aid for research and development has been approved by the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments forwards the audit request with the investment’s supporting documents to the General Secretariat of Research and Innovation (G.G.E.K.). The competent agency within 3 days through a decision appoints an expert from the Register of Certified Assessors, who specializes in the specific field of the investment, so an opinion can be given on the implementation of the physical object, the deliverables and the eligibility [for aid] of the research and development costs of the investment .
The expert may, if deemed necessary, request information from the investment plan file in order to draw up his opinion.
The expert prepares a proposal, which he submits to the Research and Innovation Actions support department of the General Secretariat of Research and Innovation.
Within 15 days from the awarding decision, General Secretariat of Research and Innovation is obliged to forward its opinion, through the recommendation of the above-mentioned expert, as well as to return the control request after the accompanying supporting documents to the general directorate of Strategic Investments. Then the general management notifies the opinion of the General Directorate of Strategic Investments to the certified public accountant so that it be taken into account in the preparation of the Investment Certification Report.
The experts’ compensation for each investment project is set at the amount of 150 euros including other legal deductions and bank charges for the transfer of the amount, paid by General Directorate of Strategic Investments .
After the plenitude check, the general directorate of Strategic Investments proceeds with the start of the production operation of the investment, but if deficiencies are found, either from the plenitude check of the Certification Report or from the findings of the Reasonable Assurance Report, a supplementary or new Certification Report is required depending on the severity of the deficiencies, within 45 days from the submission of the reports and in the event that serious violations are found, the case is forwarded to the Accounting Standardization and Controls Committee (ELTE).
Ensuring no conflict of interest
The certified auditor/accountant and the experts (assessors of the Register of Certified Assessors, architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers and certified auditors of other specialties) who carry out the audit are not allowed to participate in the certification/inspection/ control or in the approval of reports from such concerning a project of an organization with which they are or maintain a relationship that may be characterized as a conflict of interest, i.e. a relationship from which they have any direct or indirect personal, primarily financial, interest dependent on the implementing body of the investment, which may affect the impartial performance of their duties in an unfair manner.
Indicatively, if they personally, or through a legal entity in which they are key shareholders participate in the corporate or share capital or in the management of the investment body, for the project in question, or have prepared or participated in any way in its preparation for submission of an investment plan or its audit/approval. Also, they cannot participate in certification/verification/inspection/control of projects or approve the relevant reports, when a spouse or a relative up to the fourth degree participates in the corporate or share capital or in the management of the investment entity.
For the above reasons, the certified public accountant and the experts who will be appointed to audit the implementation of the investment must provide a responsible statement on the absence of a conflict of interest. This statement is submitted once to the General Directorate of Strategic Investments.
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