Great Lakes graft hindering EU funds

Great LakesKIGALI, (CAJ News) – ALLEGED corruption and a lack of accountability are hampering the distribution funds the European Commission is channeling to the strife-torn African Great Lakes area.

This is according to findings by auditors that have examined the European Commission’s humanitarian support in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda for the period between 2011 and 2015, which amounted to about €300 million.

Karel Pinxten, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report, expressed concern that the commission did not have the figures it needed to check whether the aid was being delivered in the most efficient and economical way.

“The more links there are in the chain between the EU taxpayer and those in need, the more difficult it becomes.”

He said the commission should press United Nations agencies such as High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme, together with non-governmental organisations for more information on how the European Union’s money is being spent.

“Otherwise, this aid risks being too expensive.”

The auditors found there was a lack of documentary evidence to determine geographical priorities and assess project proposals.

As a result it was not possible to determine whether the projects chosen complied with the relevant criteria and if the most appropriate projects were selected.

The auditors reported a difficult working environment.

The reports from the partners were frequently late and this limited their usefulness.

Civil wars have beset most of the Great Lakes region over the decades.

CAJ News

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