Audit: No mistakes made in planning Estonia's eastern border

No mistakes were made when drawing up the construction project for Estonia's eastern border, the results of a fresh interim audit published on Wednesday indicate.

"The results of the audit show that no mistakes were made when planning the construction of the eastern border," Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE) said at a press conference - writes err.ee

When the estimates were being drawn up based on the government's instructions in 2015, there was very little information regarding details which would affect the construction price, like construction volumes and geology, Anvelt said. In addition, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) had basically only a month and a half to present their assessment, he added.

The only thing that can be criticized is communication since the information regarding the higher cost of border construction were not conveyed clearly enough to the PPA. At the same time, officials of the ministry can also be criticized as at times they did not monitor enough the monetary obligations and at times they also did not show enough interest in border planning, Anvelt said.

"But these circumstances did not change the construction of the eastern border nor its price," the minister said. The state did not suffer any monetary damage as a result of these shortcomings, he added.

It was announced at the beginning of February that according to the PPA's calculations, the construction of Estonia's eastern border will be 2.5 times more expensive than initially planned, increasing from €79 million to €197 million.

Tarmo Olgo, head of the internal audit department of theMinistry of the Interior that compiled the audit, said that the audit did not identify as if the officials of the PPA when preparing an initial assessment for the government in 2015 had done it superficially or maliciously.

According to the audit, 84 percent of the increase in price was made up of an increase in the price of the work to be carried out and 16 percent was the additional of new capabilities, first and foremost a drone capability.

Anvelt said that the PPA will continue to head the project. "My suggestion to the Police and Border Guard Board is to expand the competence project management. Expand it in the sense that we are after all speaking about a project that is second in size after Rail Baltic," the minister said. He explained that the competence of project management must be very extensive, as on the one hand, the head of the project must control the field of the technical requirements and knowhow for guarding the state border, on the other hand, they must have the competence of a civil engineer and financial management.

The supervision of the Ministry of the Interior, which represents the customer in the process, must also be highlighted more clearly. This must concern comprehensiveness both in terms of realizing that plan of action as well as financial supervision. At the same time, the ministry must also be able to react quickly also in the even that unforeseen situations emerge in the project or changes must be made within it, Anvelt said.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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