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Thursday, 09 February 2017

UK foreign aid fraud investigations ‘quadruple in last five years’

The UK’s National Audit Office says the number of fraud investigations has increased in tandem with more public money being delivered to “fragile” countries where bribery can be seen as “cultural norm”. Euractiv’s media partner The Guardian reports. Fraud investigations involving foreign aid have quadrupled over five years as more public money is given to “fragile” countries, a UK government spending watchdog has found. Reforms introduced by David Cameron to increase funding and assign it to unstable nations have increased the risk of wrongdoing, according to the National Audit Office. In a report released yesterday (8 February), the NAO said it was “particularly challenging” to detect fraud in more than half of the spending of the Department for International Development (DfID) spend because the money was routed through other international organisations, such as the United Nations or World Bank. Financial crimes in UN organisations are believed to be under-reported and the problem could be “significant and endemic”, the report said. Auditors also outlined the difficulties facing officials when operating in countries where bribery can be seen as a “cultural norm”. Under Cameron, the government committed to spending 0.7% of national income on international aid, which came to around £12 billion last year. As part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, DfID was ordered to spend at least half of its money on “fragile states and regions” until 2020.

Source: Euractiv