The National Institute of Employment (INEM) is seeking the return of 300'000 euros (50 million pesetas) for training courses which never took place or were not completed. The training courses, aimed at workers who already had jobs, were organised by specialised firms in the Balearics. The regulations which applied to the operation said that all the monies received had to be returned if even one part of the courses was cancelled or not justified. INEM claims that some firms in the Balearics have not been able to prove that the courses for which they received State funds had been carried out in their entirety, as a result of which they should return all the monies received. Although the regulations have now been changed and only the funds for the part of the courses which have not been held has to be repaid, INEM in the Balearics has decided to apply the legislation which was in force when the courses were first authorised five years ago. Nothing was done about reclaiming the money for several years, but INEM decided to take up the case when a scandal broke about courses organised with European funding. All the firms involved have been notified and some have lodged appeals. If the money is not repaid, INEM is prepared to go to court. However it will wait until all administrative channels have been exhausted. About 12 firms are involved. INEM went into action when it was revealed that the Balearic government had found irregularities in courses financed with European funds. The local government made 35 investigations and three have been settled. Some of them involved the Palma city council, others unions. The labour ministry has ordered 9'000 euros (1.5 million pesetas) to be returned by three entities which allegedly committed irregularities in training courses organised between 1994 and 1999. A spokesman said that the regulations governing the organisation of the courses were confusing, and claimed that the previous government had given oral instructions to unions and management. Initially the Balearic government planned to demand the return of 14 per cent of the money received, but finally it has decided to seek only four per cent, a spokesman said.

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