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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

EU notices that it is paying tens of thousands of Gazans NOT to work

The European Court of Auditors report on their direct financial report to the PA has been released.

It downplays some of the findings that were leaked earlier of billions of euros being wasted.

The report concentrates on the EU contribution towards PA salaries.

One section does address the fact that the PA continues to pay employees in Gaza who do nothing since Hamas took over, a situation we have discussed for years.

54. However, the audit found indications that in Gaza a considerable number of civil servants were receiving salaries, partly funded by Pegase DFS, because they were eligible for support by virtue of being on the PA payroll but who were not going to work due to the political situation in Gaza (see paragraph 6). Out of 10 Gaza beneficiaries selected by the audit for interviews, three stated that they were not working, while one was absent. The audit also found that the State Audit and Administra-tive Control Bureau was obliged, in accordance with PA regulations, to pay salaries for its 90 staff members in Gaza, all of whom are unable to work. These findings are consistent with estimates based on data from interviews provided in a 2010 evaluation of Pegase contracted by the Commission which indicated that 22% and 24 % respectively of the staff employed by the PA Ministries of Health and Education in Gaza were not working at the time.

55. The Commission and the EEAS, while aware of this problem, have not taken adequate steps to address it and were unable to provide clear information on the extent of this practice. Given the amount of money which the EU is providing through Pegase DFS, it would have been ex-pected that they could obtain such information from the PA. The audits contracted by the Commission were not designed to find out whether personnel being paid by Pegase DFS were actually working, only that they were eligible for funding.

56. Despite the importance of this issue, there was no transparent reference to Pegase DFS being used to pay non-performing workers in any of the Commission's financing documentation for the annual programmes.

57. The audit also found that Gaza beneficiaries of the Pegase DFS CSP com-ponent have to rely on PA contact persons in their workplaces to com-municate with the PA on changes in their situation affecting pay and allowances. However, these contact persons in some cases cannot oper-ate openly towards the Hamas-led administration.The informal nature of these communication channels between Gaza civil servants and the PA in Ramallah makes the payroll system prone to corruption by actors at all levels. The EEAS and the Commission have not addressed these risks.
Not addressed is how much of the "salaries" being paid by the EU's Pegase program go towards employing terrorists or paying the families of terrorists.

Financial Times and AP picked up on this part of the report:

Ingeborg Grässle, a member of the European Parliament’s budget control committee, said she found it “unbearable” that the EU paid staff “who in fact don’t even go to work”. “That was not what we agreed on and it leads to nothing,” she added.
The auditors said the EU pays one-fifth of the salaries of the Palestinian Authority's 170,000 civil servants, both in the West Bank and in Gaza. European auditor Hans Gustaf Wessberg said spot checks found that in one office, out of 125 employees, 90 weren't working.

Last I checked there were over 80,000 PA employees in Gaza. The report admitted that there is no way to know how many are actually working.

Will anything change as a result of this audit? Probably not. More than half of the PA budget goes to Gaza, making it easier for Hamas to buy weapons and build terror tunnels. But cutting that money would cause one of those dreaded humanitarian crises, so the dysfunctional indirect support of Islamist terror will continue - and the West will continue to pay the price, in both meanings of the phrase.

The PA and Fatah leaders have already said that they will ignore any recommendations to cut salaries or to stop paying Gaza workers, even those who do nothing.