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Huge overspend in DR Congo's Francophonie games under audit

Participants march during the opening ceremony of the Francophonie game in Kinshasa, DRC   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Financial auditors have arrived in DR Congo to investigate this summer's Francophone Games in Kinshasa, said the event organizers on Monday after being blamed for vast overspending.

The auditors from the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF) -- the French-speaking equivalent of the Commonwealth -- will stay in the central African nation for five days after landing Sunday for a mission planned before controversy over overspending erupted.

Between July 28 and August 6, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hosted the Francophone Games in Kinshasa for the first time.

The international event in the impoverished central African country was considered mostly a success.

But DRC's finance minister Nicolas Kazadi on Saturday pointed to huge budget overruns, blaming the organizers for poor planning as well as changing the budget without approval.

The Games were originally meant to cost $48 million, Kazadi said but ended up running to $324 million.

Isidore Kwandja, the director of the Games' organizing committee, responded on social media that funds had been managed carefully and that the committee was "surprised" by the figure of $324 million.

The IOF had approved an operating budget of 66.9 million euros ($70.7 million), he said.

Auditors arrived in the DRC on Sunday, according to a statement released by the IOF on Monday.

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