Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, today met top Irish Aid officials to discuss the misappropriation of €4 million of its aid money in Uganda.
Deputy Crowe met the officials when they came to give evidence before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Speaking afterwards Deputy Crowe said: “The meeting with Irish Aid officials at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade was very useful and informative.
“The misappropriation of Irish Aid money sent to Uganda is a very serious issue and it was important that the officials publicly articulate the financial and audit systems that they have put in place, which will ensure that such misappropriations will not happen again.
“To maintain its current support Irish Aid must continue to work towards being one of the most accountable and transparent government aid programmes in the world.
“The revelation that €4 million of Irish Aid’s money to the Ugandan Government was diverted into unauthorised accounts is definitely worrying and a negative news story for the Irish Aid programme.
“The assurance today that the money will be fully returned to the Irish Government is to be welcomed. There are positives to be taken from this controversy. The fact that the misappropriation was noticed by Uganda’s own Auditor General, whose office is strongly supported and up-skilled by Irish Aid, shows that Irish Aid’s anti-corruption policies in its partner countries are effective.
“The controversy has also renewed focus on the programme and it is clear to see that Irish Aid, along with other donors, has helped significantly reduce poverty in Uganda since it became a partner country of Irish Aid in 1994. In fact poverty has halved in the country over the last two decades, there are now 5.8 million more students in primary school since 1997, and the HIV prevalence rate has been reduce from 18% in the 1990s to 6% today.
“Irish Aid needs to ensure it continues to work on its oversight procedures and its report on the controversy, when it is released in the coming days, will hopefully clarify most of the questions that Irish people have in relation to the misappropriation of Irish taxpayers money.” ends