Christian Gravel throws in the towel. The head of the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency, Radicalization and Sectarian Abuses (CIPDR), also prefect, resigned on Tuesday after the publication of a damning report by the General Administration Inspectorate (IGA) denouncing the ” privileged treatment” of one of the ociations benefiting from the Marianne fund.
Launched in 2021 by Marlène Schiappa, after the shock caused by the ination of Professor Samuel Paty , this fund endowed with 2.5 million euros aimed to finance ociations carrying speeches promoting the values of the Republic to fight against “separatism”, in particular on social networks. Christian Gravel was in charge of its management.
Since last April, this fund is at the heart of a controversy relating to the dubious allocation of subsidies to certain ociations, including the USEPPM (Union of Physical Education and Military Preparation Societies), the main winner of the fund.
“Failures” of the CIPDR
In its report, the IGA recalls that the amount of the subsidy granted to the USEPPM had been set, in May 2021, at “355,000 euros over one year” (the ociation will ultimately only receive a payment of 266,250 euros) . According to the IGA, the CIPDR, under the control of Christian Gravel, “did not carry out the due diligence necessary for the proper monitoring of the execution of the subsidy paid to the USEPPM”. This failure “results” in particular from “failures in the organization of the service, a lack of vigilance and privileged treatment reserved for this ociation”, denounces the IGA.
The CIPDR would not have sufficiently “taken into account” the specific alerts of an agent on the USEPPM. “Across the entire process, both upstream and downstream”, the IGA notes “a serious deficiency in the diligence expected of the senior management of a central administration service responsible for ensuring the proper allocation of funds public”.
Suspicions of concealed work
According to the General Inspectorate, the USEPPM should never have received subsidies: “the volume and quality of publications (451 communications on different accounts, eight articles on a website) on social networks and the Internet are lower than the planned production,” she says. Thus, “the use made of the grant” by the USEPPM “did not comply with the objectives set out in the agreement” between it and the CIPDR.
More worryingly, the IGA has identified “doubling of salaries”, in certain months, for the two main promoters of the project – including the president of the USEPPM. The latter, a part-time employee on this project, “exercised an entrepreneurial activity in the provinces at the same time”, underlines the IGA, which also details expenses “not attributable” to the project, such as these 11 mobile telephone subscriptions, at the instead of two needed.
The IGA also noted “irregularities, likely to take on the nature of a criminal offense and disciplinary fault”. For example, the offense of “forgery and use of forgery”, the list of directors included in the application file not mentioning “the identity of one of the project leaders, yet a director”. Or the offense of “hidden work”: have the supernumerary salaries of two project leaders been declared, wonders the IGA, which also mentions “the possibility of tax evasion”.
More broadly, the IGA believes that the CIPDR’s “call for projects”, in the spring of 2021, to select the initiatives “was neither transparent nor fair”. Charges which Christian Gravel had already defended himself in May, during his hearing by the Senate Inquiry Committee. He then clarified that his approach stemmed from “a political order” from Marlène Schiappa.
Today, the IGA claims that the CIPDR asks the USEPPM to reimburse almost half of the subsidy paid, ie “127,476 euros”. It also intends to denounce all the facts and suspicions to justice. At the beginning of May, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) had already opened judicial information relating in particular to the offenses of embezzlement of public funds, embezzlement of public funds by negligence, breach of trust and illegal taking of interests.