The UK Department for International Development (DfID) has responded to allegations in the Daily Mail that they are providing billions of pounds of UK aid to the world’s most corrupt countries.
In the report, the newspaper said that “British aid to the world’s most corrupt countries leapt by more than 12 per cent last year, despite warnings much of it will be wasted, stolen or even seized by terrorists.”
Using the respected think tank Transparency International’s annual list of most corrupt countries, the Mail said Britain sends aid money to 17 of the worst 20.
The newspaper also claimed that analysis of official figures revealed the UK handed more than £1.53billion to the world’s 20 most corrupt countries in 2017, an increase from £1.36billion the previous year.
It goes on to say that the £170million (12 per cent) increase came despite a string of aid money scandals and that UK aid to the most corrupt nations has almost doubled in five years, rising from £814million in 2012.
The newspaper illustrates its claims using a story from 2017 when the British Government was forced to suspend a £12million aid scheme to Syria amid revelations that the cash was at risk of going to jihadi groups. It also says that in the case of a couple of major beneficiaries including Kenyan neighbour Somalia and Syria, Western aid had been appropriated by terrorist groups.
Responding to the story, the DfID said: “The UK takes it commitment to protecting taxpayer’s money seriously, and no UK aid goes directly to the governments of any of the most corrupt countries in the world. All of our programmes are designed with a range of safeguards to tackle fraud, and our support in these countries only goes to trusted partners.”
A DFID spokesperson added:
“DFID does not provide UK aid directly to the governments of any of the most corrupt countries in the world.
“UK aid only goes to trusted partners to save the lives of people living in extreme poverty, and DFID has tough measures in place to protect taxpayers’ money.
“By working in the most fragile and dangerous parts of the world, UK aid makes us safer at home by tackling problems which would otherwise arrive on our doorstep.”
The DFID goes on to say it uses monitoring visits, financial spot checks and forensic and strict independent audits to ensure all funding is used for the purposes it was intended. They add that they also have a counter fraud and whistleblowing unit with dedicated resource assigned to investigating any misappropriation of funds.