Last week Kassandra promised to give you some more information as to the identity of the ‘Prince of Audits’. While I will not reveal his name, you will certainly be able to make a more than educated guess by the end of this article.
To remind our readers, the ‘Prince of Audits’ is a Director-General, who seemingly cancelled an audit. which would have seen the return of several million euros to the European Commission. Beyond the fact of the cancelation, the audit was kept open through the end of last year, and was only cancelled early in 2015. The reason for keeping the audit running was so that the Court of Auditors (CoA) had no reason to ask questions, as the file was still open. And so, by the date of the annual report of the CoA, the audit was still ongoing.
As we wrote last week, on August 26, Kassandra wrote a letter to the Commission Secretary-General asking for the release of a very specific document, with its annexes, which is very much related to the cancelled audits.
Kassandra suggested last week the Secretariat General had no reason to delay release of the documents requested as it was not involved in the case, which looks very much like it contains fraud.
The 15-day deadline for the release of the documents requested lapsed on September 16. On the same day, Kassandra received a note from the Commission asking for a 15-day extension claiming “An extended time-limit is needed as your application requires a thorough analysis and the consultation with other services.”
30 days for five lines of text
It is difficult to understand what kind of “thorough analysis” is required to assess the release of a one page ‘NOTE FOR THE FILE’ with five (yes five) lines of text, and some attachments.
Kassandra discussed the matter with a Member of the European Parliament, who looking at the response of the European Commission, was very much surprised. What kind of “consultation with other services” do they need, the MEP asked, and added, “it would be enough to ask Marc.”
Kassandra does not who Mr. Marc is, but shall consider last week’s comment:
“The Secretariat-General, however, will have to reply to our Access to Documents request filed on August 26 … Unless the Secretariat-General requests an additional 15 days. … However, the Commission does not have the moral legitimacy to do so. This European Commission is very sensitive in matters of moral legitimization and things do not seem to be as easy as before.”
Usually the procedure is for the Secretariat-General to respond to access to documents requests. Perhaps, in reflection, this explains why the extension of 15 days asked by the Commission to my Access to Documents was not issued by the Secretarial General, but by the DG “concerned.” Indeed, this is the closure of the Commission’s message:
We would like to assure you that we are committed to the principle of transparency and will endeavour our utmost to process your application as promptly as possible.
DG RTD Access to Documents Team
New Europe joins Kassandra, and we are collectively anxious to see how, in this case, the principle of transparency will be served. For now, it seems that the Secretariat-General, and the new SG, Alexander Italianer, are distancing themselves from the Directorate-General concerned.