Corruption Allegations Hang Over AU Commission President

Questions have been raised on the running of the African Union in the wake of allegations that due process is not being followed in the institution’s key aspects.

These doubts have heightened after an internal memo got leaked to the press.

The interoffice memorandum was leaked by multiple sources to The Mail & The Guardian.

“The memorandum, dated March 6, 2020, was addressed to Chairperson Faki, and signed by Sabelo Mbokazi, the head of the AU Staff Association, on behalf of the association,” it states.

The memo, the news site reveals was written in the wake of a February 28 extraordinary meeting of the AU Staff Association in which among items discussed were the long-running grievances about the working conditions of staff at the AU Commission, which functions as a secretariat for the continental body.

The appointment of Hamza Sahal as head of human resources management, the memo revealed, was brought into question, said to have been “regarded by the staff as the manifestation of glaring cronyism and the total collapse of leadership which member states continue to underscore.”

“With you sitting at the helm of this organisation, the rules have been indiscriminately flouted and chaos prevails both at the headquarters and regional offices. The staff indicated that the moral fibre has decayed under your watch,” president Moussa Faki was told in the meeting.

These and other supposed malpractices, the memo stated, has transformed the AU into “a den without rules, characterised by arbitrary administrative decisions and impunity, which is manipulated by mafia characters”.

“The staff cannot sit and watch [a] few individuals destroying and paralysing the commission,” the memo said.

Going by the Mail and Guardian, Moussa Faki declined to answer specific questions from the M&G. His spokesperson, Ebba Kalondo, said: “The chairperson has always engaged on organisational issues. In fact, he is the one who instituted the forensic audit currently underway in the organisation, amid other actions.”

The recent allegations are not the first of their kind and come in the wake of several other accusations in previous years. In February 2018 for instance, Daniel Batidam, who served as chair of the board in 2017, tendered his resignation claiming that no effort was being made to fight corruption at the heart of the organisation.

“After witnessing several instances and degrees of bad governance, including the abuse of entrusted power (or corruption), lack of probity, accountability, transparency and integrity at the Secretariat of the AUABC and some Departments of the AU Commission itself for over a period of three years now, while all efforts at seeking redress have yielded no result, I have decided on grounds of principle that enough is enough,” media sources quote the diplomat.

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