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EU concerned about loans to Agri ministry officials

Published:Friday | September 11, 2015 | 10:18 AM

An admission by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Donovan Stanberry that he and other senior staff received loans under the Cane Expansion Fund has triggered concerns within the European Union (EU), which finances the programme.

The admission was made as the Opposition spokesman on finance, Audley Shaw, quizzed Stanberry during a meeting of Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

Stanberry said he received a loan after making an application and the process was transparent.

He also disclosed that other senior ministry officials benefited from loans from the Fund.

Head of Co-operation at the European Commission Jesus Orus Baguena says the EU will be carrying out its own investigation into the matter.

He says if the Fund was mismanaged this would have implications for future payments under the parent project, the Sugar Transformation Programme.

Meanwhile, Shaw has called for the auditor general to conduct an urgent audit of expenditure under the Sugar Transformation Programme.