Unjustified US$3 million spent on AU conference in Dakar

Accra- Ghana (PANA) – The Ernst Young consultancy -firm, in charge of the audit of the conference of African Intellectuals and the Diaspora, organised in 2004 by the African Union (AU) in Dakar, Senegal, revealed a gap of US$3 million in the accounts presented at the end of that meeting.
According to the final report of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREP), a copy of which reached PANA Friday in Accra, the African Union Commission had drawn up its budget and allocated US$7 million for the organisation of that event.
The Ernst Young consultancy firm, in charge of the audit of that Dakar conference, only established US$4.
1 million of expenditure.
On the other hand, this firm says it knows nothing about what happened to the balance estimated at US$3 million and refrained from giving an opinion on the issue.
The report, which maintains that "serious shortcomings and irregularities were discovered in the organisation and holding of the conference of African Intellectuals and the Diaspora, also stresses that "most of the operations, the subject of this report, were not accompanied with documentary justification.
Or the justification submitted was not acceptable to the Ernst Young firm.
This affirmation is contested by the AU commission, which takes the view, according to the report of the sub-committee on the audit, that "the majority, if not the quasi-totality of the expenses, was supported by documentary evidence".
Similarly, the audit stresses that the contract clinched between the service provider, the "Rapidawn" company and the AU Commission "was vague and included several grey areas open to different interpretations".
Meanwhile, the AU Commission reiterated that it recognises and accepts the mistakes made during the organisation of the Dakar conference and vowed that this would not take place again".
After having taken cognisance of the report of the sub-committee of audits and heard explanations by the representative of the Ernst Young firm, some ambassadors observed that the report comprised sufficient evidence that unveil fraudulent practices during the organisation of the Dakar conference.
As means to stem recurrence of such a practice, some ambassadors suggested a strong and concrete action, limited in time and including “the identification and sanction of the culprits".
At the end of a lively discussion, COREP asked the AU commission, in its final report destined to the Executive Committee, "to take all stringent measures with view to identifying and sanctioning the culprits and recovering before the latter any financial loss recorded by the organisation".
COREP also urges the chairperson of the commission "to relentlessly continue the review of all pending issues and to make a report to the next session of the Executive council", and also asks the commission to use its internal capacities for the organisation of its conferences.

29 juin 2007 21:27:00

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