The Socialist President of the Senate Finance Committee Claude Raynal and the rapporteur Jean-François Husson (Les Républicains) frowned several times this Wednesday morning, as part of the Senate Committee of Inquiry into the Marianne Fund. Heard by this commission of inquiry, Marlène Schiappa is far from having convinced them of the functioning of this fund, set up a few months after the ination of Samuel Paty.
After several press revelations highlighting dysfunctions – in particular two surprisingly subsidized ociations – this commission of inquiry seeks to shed light. It is not with Marlène Schiappa that it will be made. In parallel, a judicial inquiry has been launched while the General Inspectorate of Administration (IGA) published a first report – severe – before a final report expected at the end of June.
Tense climate and reciprocal misunderstandings
Throughout the three-hour hearing at the Palais du Luxembourg, in an often tense climate marked by numerous reciprocal misunderstandings, Marlène Schiappa sought to minimize her role in the management of the Marianne Fund, sometimes throwing the ball back to her cabinet, sometimes to the administration and in particular to the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency, Radicalization and Sectarian Abuses (CIPDR).
In the preamble to her hearing, she warns that she will “not have the answer to everything” and that she is not “omniscient” on the file. On several occasions, she indicates that she does not remember when specific questions are asked of her and evokes “memory lapses”. Opposite her, Claude Raynal and Jean-François Husson accuse her of discarding, are surprised at her memory lapses and seem far from convinced by her explanations, or by their absence.
When the name of Mohamed Sifaoui, beneficiary of the largest grant from the Marianne Fund via the ociation Union of Physical Education and Military Preparation Societies (USEPPM), is mentioned, Marlène Schiappa insists that he is not his friend, sending the ball back to his office. “I don’t know what is being said between my office and Mr. Sifaoui,” adds the one who has become Secretary of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy.
Mohamed Sifaoui, who was searched his home Tuesday and heard by the police on Wednesday, has already indicated that he had been requested by the cabinet of Marlène Schiappa. The president and the rapporteur of the commission of inquiry seek to know if the USEPPM received a positive response to obtain a subsidy even before the meeting of the selection committee of the Marianne Fund, and even before its creation. They won’t get a clear answer.
Subsidy removed for SOS Racisme
“I did not ask that Mr. Sifaoui be on top of the pile”, defends Marlène Schiappa. The investigation into the Marianne Fund entrusted to the PNF concerns “misappropriation of public funds through negligence”, “breach of trust”, “illegal taking of interests”.
On another subject, the removal by Marlène Schiappa of a grant of 100,000 euros granted to the ociation SOS Racisme, the two heads of the commission of inquiry are still seeking to obtain a precise answer. They will not have more and the Secretary of State, who denies having abolished the subsidy, is seen in ping accused of “twirling”.
Reacting hotly, the president of SOS Racisme, Dominique Sopo, castigated the words of Marlène Schiappa by questioning Elisabeth Borne. He denounced the “approximations, omissions, lies, contradictions and rejection of a member of your government” and announced a “legal continuation”.
The members of the commission of inquiry were not convinced by the hearing. “When you are a minister, you ume, you take charge of the file, you check it and you control it until the end,” said Claude Raynal when he left. The Chairman of the Finance Committee even denounced the “fiasco” of the Marianne Fund. For his part, Jean-François Husson denounced an attitude of “discard” by Marlène Schiappa with a “surrealist” side.
The person concerned sent a brief mea culpa at the end of the hearing. “There are things we could have done differently,” she concludes, admitting “dysfunctions” in the management of the Marianne Fund. But that turned out to be far from enough to convince. The commission of inquiry will hear Mohamed Sifaoui on Thursday, and its report is expected no later than mid-July.