Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said there is no reason to be concerned when the National Audit Office looks into the termination and compensation agreement with the treatment home Árbót in north Iceland.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
The National Audit Office confirmed to Fréttabladid that the affairs of Árbót will be reviewed. “We will definitely look through it at some point, sooner or later, there’s not doubt about it,” said audit general Sveinn Arason.
“It can all be investigated. Everything is on the table. It is not as if we were trying to keep it secret; it has been in the additional budget bill since early October. I’m mostly surprised that people find it news now,” Sigfússon told Morgunbladid.
The minister said the compensation of ISK 30 million (USD 263,000, EUR 196,000) was much closer to what the government had proposed than the home’s operators. Part of the amount has already been paid out.
“What is important to note is that when the deal was made it was clear that the home would be operating fully until the last day. The Government Agency for Child Protection couldn’t simply empty the home,” the minister explained.
“It is obvious that it isn’t fair to have operations continue throughout the termination period with the salary cost that comes with it which people would have to be stuck with if it hadn’t been taken into consideration,” he continued.
“I believe that if people look at this matter with fairness and objectivity they will see that this is not an unfair solution,” Sigfússon concluded.
The Government Agency for Child Protection terminated its service agreement with Árbót early this year after a case of sexual abuse was uncovered.
The Árbót affair was discussed at parliament yesterday where increased morality within the administration was called for and that MPs from certain constituencies wouldn’t try to prioritize the interests of their constituencies above national interests while making budget bills.
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