Let’s Go Urban: Audit reveals up to €450,000 in subsidies went missing
Share article:
Share article:

Let’s Go Urban: Audit reveals up to €450,000 in subsidies went missing

Sihame El Kaouakibi. © Belga

As much as €450,000 in subsidies granted by the city of Antwerp to the youth dance project Let’s Go Urban (LGU) found its way into other businesses run by the founder of LGU, Sihame El Kaouakibi, according to an audit carried out by the city.

The audit was demanded after an administrator of LGU raised the issue of mismanagement of funds. It has not yet been released, but a copy was obtained by the VRT.

El Kaouakibi has meanwhile been expelled from the party for which she stood for election to the Flemish parliament, Open VLD.

According to the audit, controls by the city itself on the funds it gave out was “rather superficial,” although it makes no mention of culpability. “The critical view was missing,” it reads.

Book-keeping is described as “sloppy,” and it is almost certain that money intended for LGU – El Kaouakibi’s first project to take Antwerp’s youth off the streets and involve them in a dance project – found its way into some of her private businesses.

In one case, money from a bridging loan to LGU was used to buy an expensive fitted kitchen which was then installed in JJ House, a private initiative of El Kaouakibi and her partner Erika Nguyen.

Related News


The audit also turned up six falsified invoices, for a total of €54,000, intended to cover up the use of subsidy to LGU by private enterprises. Worse, some €260,000 was billed to the city for works supposedly carried out on the Urban Centre – LGU’s new base in Antwerp – but instead carried out on other premises.

That sum could rise as high as €350,000 once some details are ironed out, the audit warns. According to the earlier report from the administrator, as much as €450,000 could be ultimately involved – although some of the funding has already been paid back.

The audit fails to mention one of the major questions raised when the LGU affair first came to light: was it reasonable for so much money to be handed over to a single social project, compared with other social non-profits in the city? An audit by the city itself was never really likely to produce a real mea culpa.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
The Quiz: Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on in the country you now call home? Then maybe you have what it ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have lead to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...
Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...