The issue concerning the COVID-19 fund diversion in Benin which is valued to be 385 billion CFA francs, according to the auditor courts, continues to draw attention. The controversy that has been sparked with the audit report publishing on the management of the expenditure as a definitive response to COVID-19 cannot be brushed under the carpet any longer, and it has forced the government of Benin to react.
Wilfried Leandre Houngbedji, who is the Government Spokesperson as well as the Deputy Secretary General, claims that the Auditors report is not a final one and there is data that needs to be updated. However, taking into consideration the amount of controversy generated, Houngbedji has an explanation of his own that is contrary to the stories of diversion of funds.
According to him, there is no definitive data contained in the report as of yet, it is an intermediate report that has a lot of data yet to be updated. He says “The Court of Auditors has submitted a preliminary report which is the object of observation.” He also indicates that the first observations regarding this have been sent to the Auditors Court which will be followed by newer justifications that will enable the high court to issue a final report after due deliberation.
To drive home his point, Houngbedji says that 138,620,777,062 CFA francs, was spoken of in page 48 of the review that was published on the website of the ministry of finance and economy. This amount was for the “expenses related to vaccination”. According to him, “the expenses incurred by the state and by all of the associated partners amounted to 30,851,679,422 CFA francs.”
Taking into account this example, Houngbedji says that the amount that is indicated by the Auditor Court is a representative amount of all the projections made for that particular heading. He also says that the state of Benin received donation under this same heading.
Houngbedji confidently states that “If what the people fear does happen, they should also know that in line with current practices in Benin, the decisions that have to be taken will invariably be taken.”