The MR group in the Walloon parliament called for emergency Environment commission meetings on Saturday. They want to clear up responsibility for the Walloon Waste office (OWD) situation. There is suspicion that public funds to the tune of 2 million euros have been embezzled.
The head of the MR group Pierre-Yves Jeholet wrote to André Antoine (Christian Democrats), the president of the Walloon parliament, and to Edmund Stoffeis (PS), the president of the Environment Commission. He wanted to talk to the heads of the Environment administration (DGO3), the OWD, and minister Carlo Di Antonio (Christian Democrats) about the supposed embezzlement quickly. It was uncovered by MP Jean-Luc Crucke (MR) on Wednesday during a full session.
A 64 year old accountant for the OWD has been on the run since Monday, after apparently confessing to his management – but not to the Justice department. He claimed to have embezzled subsidies worth millions of euros. His wife has been arrested for laundering. The crimes, which so far are thought to date back to 2013, could go back even further and involve up to 2 million euros, Mr Di Antonio said on Friday. Several suspects could be involved, the Avenir said on Saturday.
The Prosecutor’s office has opened an inquiry, while saying the administration had not correctly informed the Justice department so they could catch the suspect. “Were high civil servants or politicians informed about this? Has there been large scale, long term, repeated fraud? Did they try to stop it?” asks Mr Jeholet. He said “this is not the first time the OWD has been in trouble”.
The Accounts court went there at the end of the week. The Walloon Waste office’s accounts have been blocked. The minister gave the Finance Inspection department the urgent mission of analysing the payment procedures in place, detecting the risks and faults that led to the incident, and proposing adaptions to the procedures.