This would also involve direct oversight by Ireland to provide assurance and accountability to the Irish taxpayer
Irish Aid is currently examining programs for possible funding in Uganda, Eamon Gilmore, the Irish Foreign Affairs and Trade minister has revealed. According to a statement issued by the minister such programs will build on the valuable contribution made by Ireland towards improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in Uganda. This would also involve direct oversight by Ireland to provide assurance and accountability to the Irish taxpayer.
Last year, the Irish government suspended aid to Uganda following the misappropriation of 4 million Euros from Irish development fund in the Office of the Prime Minister. The Ireland also sent a team of auditors from the Evaluation and Audit Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that examined how the Irish Aid funds were diverted. Gilmore says that the fraud that was unearthed by John Muwanga, the auditor general was very sophisticated, well-thought-out and involving a high level of collusion at a senior level. He adds that the level of collusion was exceptional to the point that it could not reasonably have been anticipated.
In October last year the AG released a special audit report revealing how over 50 billion shillings was mismanaged by staff in the office of the prime minister. The Irish Aid funds were intended for the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan in Uganda. Following the scam, Norway, Denmark and United Kingdom, among others donor countries suspended their aid to Uganda. However, in January this year, the Ugandan government accepted full responsibility for the misappropriation of Irish development funds and returned the full amount.
According to Gilmore this followed high level discussions with the government of Uganda and a promise to bring those involved to account and to improve their financial control systems. Gilmore’s instructions to examine options of support to Uganda in 2013 will take into account the ongoing assessment of all management systems across their partner programmes to ensure that risks are being appropriately identified and managed. Pending the successful completion of this work the Irish government will also examine appropriate management arrangements.