Europe – Commission told to recruit auditors

The European Commission official for financial reporting will be told today that unless Brussels recruits and trains more auditors, its new fraud-busting unit OLAF will fail.

The European Confederation of the Institutes of Internal Auditing director general Neil Cowan will call on Karel van Hulle to tighten up internal financial controls as the only way to beat fraud.

‘The Commission is still based on “inspection” rather than a fully developed internal auditing function,’ Cowan said. ‘They need a lot more professional people to monitor the programmes they are running.’

Cowan will also meet a senior representative of the financial control directorate, Ingemar Segergren, to argue that OLAF – the new independent auditing function announced by EU president Jacques Santer in January – has a role to play, but cannot work alone as a solution to the fraud problems which dog Europe.

‘It will be difficult for any outside body such as OLAF to pin down sufficient details of objectives and controls,’ said Cowan, who will request more auditors and greater training for those already at UCLAF, the existing auditing body.

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