A high ranking French diplomat is denying press reports that France has blacklisted 17 countries, including Dominica, judged to be uncooperative in investigating foreign aid fraud.
The Trinidad Express is quoting French Ambassador to Barbados and Trinidad, Jacques Sturm, as saying there is “no blacklist”.
According to the Express, Sturm said there is indeed a list but it comes from the France Development Bank (AFD). “It is working list for banking procedures. It is not an official list of the French government,” he said.
“I deny that it is a blacklist,” the Express quoted him as saying.
He went on to say that the French government has an official blacklist “which does not concern this issue.”
AFD is a financial institution and the major implementing agency for France’s official development assistance to developing countries and overseas territories. It is owned by a partnership comprising banks, development agencies, NGOs, Local and Regional Authority, UN and other key institutions. AFD operates in more than 70 countries.
Sturm said the bank has a certain level of independence from French government, “And when it takes measures on a working basis, it does not imply that the Government agrees. It is a development bank working with development countries on development projects.”
DNO made several attempts to contact the French Embassy in St. Lucia on the matter but all efforts have so far been unsuccessful.
On Tuesday, Agence France Press (AFP) reported that the 17 countries were placed on the French blacklist.
AFP said French officials pointed out out that the move is justified because there is a lack of transparency in Dominica and the other nations on the list.
On Wednesday prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said his government was shocked by the news.
He said he would be writing the French government for clarification on the matter.