CAO: police refuse to disclose finances, use excuse of ‘combating terrorism’
Hesham Genenah, former head of CAO - YOUM7

CAIRO: The Ministry of Interior has refused to inform the Central Auditing Organization (CAO) of its expenditures because it is “preoccupied with combating terrorism,” CAO chief Hisham Genena said in a memo to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Youm7 reported Sunday.

“The memo included all the obstacles faced by the CAO officers while doing their job in monitoring the [Interior] Ministry administratively and financially, and the fact that it refused to provide access to its financial documents,” Genena said, according to Youm7.

“If the CAO would not be able to check the documents of the [police], it would disclaim any liability for violations that might occur and not be detected and corrected,” Genena added.

An independent watchdog, the CAO also sent the memo to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and said it has not been allowed to view expenditure documents accounting for millions of pounds spent by the police since December 2012, according to the memo reported by Youm7.

The CAO’s role is to monitor procurement and contracting documents, and not to look at the ministry’s security plans, Genena said, adding that combating corruption is “as important as combating terrorism.”

Under the same conditions of “countering terrorism,” the Ministry of Defense has allowed the CAO to view its financial documents, he told Youm7.

The CAO also accused the police of breaking into the room allocated to CAO observers at the Interior Ministry during the observers’ absence, and seizing important documents and archives related to incidents being investigated by the judiciary.

Tensions between the CAO and the police first began when the Cabinet adopted a presidential decree to apply the maximum wage—42,000 EGP monthly ($5,866)—to all state institutions in June. The Interior Ministry and some judiciary officials refused to apply the law, but said they enforced it within their institutions.

The CAO also complained in the memo about harassment and restrictions imposed on its officers in their dealings with the police, Al-Ahram reported.

Genena, it should be noted, is one of only a few senior officials who maintained their posts despite having been appointed by former President Mohamed Morsi.

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