Former European Court of Auditors (ECA) member
Maarten Engwirda has clarified claims that attempts to sabotage his
work occurred prior to 2000.

In a letter released by the ECA, Engwirda said
from 1996 to1999 there had been persistent attempts by his
colleagues to sabotage his audit reports, which they deemed to be
too critical of their own country.

Prior to his second term with the ECA, from
2000 to 2003, the sabotage attempts ceased, but Engwirda claimed
information contained in the ECAs annual reports lacked detail and
were not “sufficiently quantified”. Referring to a 1997 ECA annual
report, which for the first time did not contain any error rates,
he described this practice as using “Kremlin-style language” and
amounted to a “culture of cover-ups”.

Engwirda said that in his final seven years at
the ECA, from 2004 to 2010, major improvements and greater
professionalism occurred both in the working and
culture of the organisation.

The ECA improved its financial audit
methodology and increased the inclusion of more specific
information and error rates per area. Between 2006 and 2008, the
ECA went through a process of self-assessment, which involved an
action plan and a peer review. This created a multi-annual audit
strategy with specific objectives for each performance audit.

Engwirda also said that none of his criticisms
were aimed at current ECA board members and any mention of ‘weaker
partners’ refer to certain member states.

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