A DELEGATION OF three members of the Committee of Public Accounts will travel to Mozambique later this month as part of its examination of Irish Aid expenditure.
Their visit comes against the backdrop of the recent revelations concerning €4 million in aid money that went missing in Uganda. Yesterday, it was confirmed that the Ugandan government has committed to repaying the money, and that two senior government officials are on remand facing prosecution, while 17 have been suspended without pay while investigations continue.
The visit to Mozambique arises after the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Joe Costello TD, asked that the PAC visit one of the Irish Aid programme countries as part of the committee’s examination of the overseas development assistance. Expenditure in this area totalled €657 million in 2011.
Chairman of the committee, John McGuinness, TD, who will head the delegation, said today that the visit to Mozambique, which is Ireland’s largest programme country of development assistance, was timely.
We will not only be visiting the projects to evaluate the impact of the programmes but we will want to see, at first hand, the controls that govern how aid funding is spent.
The best way to get assurances that overview systems work is to follow the money trail and meet the key people who have responsibility for ensuring that this money is spent in accordance with the programme that is in place.
He added that as some of the money goes through government agencies, the delegation will also be meeting key players involved in the local audit regime and they will establish for themselves that risk management procedures are in place and that the systems of checks and balances are working.
The committee will present a report to the Dáil arising from its examination of the aid budget in Mozambique.