The African Union (AU) Commission has rejected as “blatantly untrue and unsubstantiated” aspersions in the media that former Ambassador to the United States was fired due to pronouncements or opinions she might have shared during her tenure.

In a statement the AU said it regretted the continued misleading campaign on different media outlets regarding Ambassador Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao’s departure arguing that her release was in line with the terms and conditions governing her contract of employment after serving three years as Permanent Representative to Washington.

The former Ambassador was sent a letter in October from AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki that brought her tour of duty at the top AU official in Washington to an end.

The statement lays out the findings of a supervisory audit of Ambassador Chihombori-Quao’s office activities and lists various instances when she is alleged to have initiated projects and activities implemented with AU funds that have no formal AU Commission approval or legal link to the African Union.

The AU Commission says it has written confirmation from Chihombori-Quao that those activities were her private engagements with no relationship to the AU which includes – according to the statement – raising and receiving funds in the name of the AU and utilizing the AU logo.

The audit also found that former Ambassador Chihombori-Quao was in violation of AU Rules and Regulations over unilateral diplomatic appointments which have since been revoked.

The Commission says that since its separation from the Ambassador on October 31st, it has no further formal dealing with her but reserves the right to take any legal action against any use or misuse of its name, logo and resources.

The statement concluded that Ambassador Chihombori-Quao herself confirmed she had never been sanctioned by the commission over any public pronouncements made during her tenure, which included pointed remarks about colonialism in Africa.

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