Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore today published the Audit Report examining the recent misappropriation of €4 million of Irish Aid funds intended for the Peace, Recovery and Development Programme in Uganda.
The audit, carried out by a team of auditors from the Evaluation and Audit Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, examined how Irish Aid funds were diverted, without authorisation, by officials in the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda.
The Tánaiste stated:
I have received the report of the team of auditors that I sent to Kampala to investigate the findings of the report of the Ugandan Auditor General that €4 million of Irish Aid funds had been misappropriated. I have examined the report and am committed to implementing its recommendations.
One of the key findings in the report is that this was a very sophisticated, well-thought-out fraud involving a high level of collusion at a senior level, and that the level of collusion was exceptional to the point that it could not reasonably have been anticipated.
I have already suspended funding of Irish Aid programmes delivered through the Government of Uganda – a total of €16 million this year. This suspension will remain in place until such time as the €4 million is refunded to us and we are fully confident that the Government of Uganda has strengthened its internal financial controls and acted against all officials who were implicated in this fraud by the Auditor General.
The report does point to a number of areas where Irish Aid systems of control of the PRDP Programme could have been stronger. The importance of risk identification and management in the context of changing risk profiles in developing countries is also highlighted.
I have instructed my officials to undertake a review of all management, monitoring and control systems across our bilateral programmes to ensure that risks are being appropriately identified and managed. Every possible measure to minimise the risk of future fraud will be put in place.