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Britain to help relieve humanitarian catastrophes. But the common complaint
is that much of this foreign aid doesn't go to the poor at all, but ends up
instead in the pockets of tyrants and kleptocrats.
In addition, it is said that it does nothing to tackle the root causes of third world poverty, because it fosters dependency and corruption without requiring the political or economic change necessary to enable such countries to thrive.
Government is clearly highly sensitive to such concerns. Accordingly, the International-Development Secretary-Andrew Mitchell, has trumpeted a review of the way this foreign aid is distributed, pledging that, in future, it will be a transparent system guaranteed to go to the poorest of the poor. But this is a worthless promise. For the problem is far deeper than just transparency. The horrifying truth is that, far from such assistance going to alleviate starvation, disease and the suffering that follows conflict, much of it actually serves to perpetuate war and tyranny, persecution and mass murder. How can this have happened? The key error is that famine, drought or disease are regarded as suffering to be alleviated regardless of its context. But such need is often manipulated or even created by tyrants or warlords - in order to obtain the aid that then enables them to kill and enslave even more people and prop up their own corrupt and brutal regimes.
Workers unload a truck of wheat, at a warehouse on the outskirts of Quetta near the Pakistani-Afghan border. More often than not these supplies get into the wrong hands. This means that the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which administer this aid become the unwitting tools of repression and mass murder - as do the governments and well-meaning, but naive people who have stumped up the aid in the first place. On top of this fundamental error, there is another fiction - that aid and the agencies which deliver it are neutral players in world events. Humanitarianism is conceived as the duty to alleviate human suffering unconditionally - which means a blind eye must be turned whenever it is abused. However gross this abuse, the aid must continue to be provided on the grounds that, wherever there is suffering, there must be humanitarian relief. And so the aid itself becomes the key means by which war and terrorism, tyranny and genocide are actually perpetrated. The results of this profoundly misguided approach are set out in stark and horrifying detail in War Games, a brilliant new book by the Dutch journalist Linda Polman. What she conclusively demonstrates is that David Cameron's belief that relieving global poverty will diminish the threat of terrorism or war is the precise opposite of the truth. To warring parties in many conflicts, money and supplies provided by the aid agencies represent a business opportunity and an essential element in their military strategy.
Aid turns to warfare: A Rwandan Patriotic Front soldier poses following the
massacre of the Tutsis by the Hutu tribe in the nineties. For example, in Rwanda,
where the Hutu tribe massacred millions of Tutsis in the Nineties, a record
$1.5 billion for immediate relief alone poured in from Western governments and
NGOs to deal with what was presented as an epidemic of cholera among the refugees.
What the aid organisations failed to report was that some of the refugees who
poured across the border into Goma in neighbouring Zaire were not dying of disease,
but were being murdered by Hutu militias. The Hutus stole the aid - by some
accounts, as much as 60 per cent - and levied tax on food rations to pay their
militias and thus continue murdering Tutsis back in Rwanda. Without international
aid, the Hutus' war of extermination would have ground to a halt. And this pattern
has been repeated over and over again in pretty well every conflict zone, where
aid is given in the tragically false belief that a dist inct ion can be made
between conflict and humanitarian assistance. In Somalia, warlords extracted
from the aid agencies as much as 80 per cent of what the aid supplies were worth.
After the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka, which left 40,000 dead and displaced 2.5
million people, Dutch relief workers were forced to pay a levy of up to 25 per
cent of the aid to the terrorist Tamil Tigers. In Sudan in the Eighties and
Nineties, where two million were slaughtered, the government army that committed
these atrocities fed itself on food aid that it stole. The truth is that this
aid kept the genocide going. As Polman observes, warlords, rebel leaders, terrorists,
militias and others wreaking death and destruction impose on aid agencies heavy
import duties on supplies, fees for visas and work permits, harbour and airport
taxes, and road permits for cars and trucks.
Some also levy taxes for the 'use' of children for vaccination or rehabilitation. And even more devastating than this mafia-style aid protection racket, refugee camps all over the world turn into paramilitary or terrorist strongholds. Withdrawing into these camps allows those bent on violence to regroup, rearm and train undisturbed, often using civilian refugees as human shields against any outside attack.
All this courtesy of international aid organisations, which provide food, clean drinking water, medical care, shelter, education and welfare on the spurious grounds that this is merely ' humanitarian' relief and so is nothing at all to do with the conflict in question. 'Yet such aid is the key factor that enables the violence and terror to continue.'
Yet such aid is the key factor that enables the violence and terror to continue - a fact carefully concealed by the NGOs in case this bitter truth dries up the funds. As Polman writes, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camps that sprang up in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza developed into 'fully-fledged city states from which the ''freedom struggle'' against Israel - and against each other - continues to this day'. Indeed, in Gaza - to which the Cameron government has just committed a £19 million first instalment of a five- year £100 million aid package - UNRWA admitted last year that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hamas had stolen 3,500 blankets and more than 400 food packages, including 200 tons of rice and flour, that were supposed to be distributed to Gaza residents. In this calamitous situation, the key is the collusive and deeply questionable role played by the NGOs and aid agencies. These form a vast, powerful and unaccountable industry. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that every major disaster attracts on average 1,000 aid organisations. Directly after World War II, the supply of aid was tightly controlled by the U.S. and Russia. With the fall of Communism, however, the nature of global conflict changed from war between states to terrorist or rebel insurgencies. The superpowers withdrew from the scene, and local warlords were left to decide the conditions under which aid organisations would be granted access to the suffering needy. In this combustible arena, many aid agencies have become highly politicised advocacy groups - and they have a symbiotic relationship with the media, which is so keen to tug public heart-strings that it often censors the ugly manipulation behind the images of human suffering. The aid organisations then move in with their begging bowls on the back of these harrowing, but highly manipulative dispatches. So much so that former UN Secretary- General , Boutros Boutros-Ghali, referred to the U.S. TV news channel CNN as 'the 16th member of the Security Council'. Of course the UN itself has been accused of being heavily complicit in this collusion between aid and violence. There have been allegations for more than six decades that it has run the Palestinian terror camps in the Middle East; that in the Eighties it helped nurture the Taliban in its refugee camps in Pakistan; and that in the Nineties, Liberian refugees in its camps turned into rebels after only a few months. Interestingly, one of the first people to recognise the trap into which humanitarian aid would lead was Florence Nightingale. Having seen at first hand the appalling conditions in British military hospitals during the 19th century Crimean War, she concluded that the only people who could remedy such a situation were those whose incompetence and heartlessness had caused it in the first place - in that case, the British government. When the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in 1863, on the principle that voluntary organisations should deliver humanitarian assistance regardless of why it had become needed and what was actually done with it, Nightingale observed: 'I need hardly say I think its views most absurd, just such as would originate in a little state like Geneva which can never see war.'
Today, this Geneva- based organisation has developed a self-aggrandising moral blindness that pervades the West's whole approach to aid. Ultimately, international aid is not about rescuing the starving of the world. Instead, it is all about burnishing the self-image of the person, organisation or government doing the giving. That's why blind eyes are so resolutely turned to the way aid is used as the life-support system for tyrants and mass murderers. There is surely a case for saying that, rather than being ring-fenced as Cameron's government vows to do, the entire international aid programme should be axed - along with the department that administers it. Failing that, it should be renamed the Department for the Perpetuation of War, Tyranny and Terror. Now that would be transparency. As for the generous-minded members of the public who want to dip into their pockets to relieve distress, they would be well advised to give the international aid racket a miss and donate to charities caring for the poor, old or disabled in this country instead.
In September 2009 a report was published that revealed for the first time where local authority 'Preventing Violent Extremism' (PVE) grants were going. TPA argued then that the grants were a well-intentioned but costly social experiment and disliked by all community groups. We called for them to be abolished and the Government has now decided to adopt our position. However, Prevent is cross-departmental and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have also been giving out these grants.
TPA released more research showing how the FCO distributed these funds in 2007-08 and 2008-09. A huge £10.5 million was distributed in grants in 2008-09 alone, for schemes like a mobile cinema for justice. Already well funded public bodies like the BBC and the British Council received yet more taxpayers money for other dubious projects and the results show a marked shift of focus away from the other strands of Contest to Prevent. The Government should scrap the entire Prevent Strategy and focus on sound policing and intelligence to stop violent extremism.
How British and American aid subsidises Palestinian terrorism
US and UK taxpayers fund the Palestinian Authority, which in turn funds prisoners in Israeli jails. It's dangerously dysfunctional. The instrument of this funding is US and UK programs of aid paid to the Palestinian Authority. This astonishing financial dynamic is known to most Israeli leaders and western journalists in Israel. But it is still a shock to most in Congress and many in Britain's Parliament, who are unaware that money going to the Palestinian Authority is regularly diverted to a program that systematically rewards convicted prisoners with generous salaries. These transactions in fact violate American and British laws that prohibit US funding from benefiting terrorists. More than that, they could be seen as incentivizing murder and terror against innocent civilians. Here's how the system works. When a Palestinian is convicted of an act of terror against the Israeli government or innocent civilians, such as a bombing or a murder, that convicted terrorist automatically receives a generous salary from the Palestinian Authority. The salary is specified by the Palestinian "law of the prisoner" and administered by the PA's Ministry of Prisoner Affairs. A Palestinian watchdog group, the Prisoners Club, ensures the PA's compliance with the law and pushes for payments as a prioritized expenditure. This means that even during frequent budget shortfalls and financial crisis, the PA PA pays the prisoners' salaries first and foremost – before other fiscal obligations. Under a sliding scale, carefully articulated in the law of the prisoner, the more serious the act of terrorism, the longer the prison sentence, and consequently, the higher the salary. Incarceration for up to three years fetches a salary of almost $400 per month. Prisoners behind bars for between three and five years will be paid about $560 monthly – a compensation level already higher than that for many ordinary West Bank jobs. Sentences of ten to 15 years fetch salaries of about $1,690 per month. Still worse acts of terrorism against civilians, punished with sentences between 15 and 20 years, earn almost $2,000 per month. These are the best salaries in the Palestinian territories. The Arabic word ratib, meaning "salary", is the official term for this compensation. The law ensures the greatest financial reward for the most egregious acts of terrorism. In the Palestinian community, the salaries are no secret; they are publicly hailed in public speeches and special TV reports. The New York Times and the Times of Israel have both mentioned the mechanism in passing. Only British and American legislators seem to be uninformed about the payments. About 6% of the Palestinian budget is diverted to prisoner salaries. All this money comes from so-called "donor countries" such as the United States, Great Britain, Norway, and Denmark. Palestinian officials have reacted with defiance to any foreign governmental effort to end the salaries. Many believe foreign aid is an investment in peace between the warring parties in Israel and disputed lands. That investment might have a greater chance for success if terrorism did not pay as well as it does – with taxpayers footing the bill.
As an idea, it is beyond reproach. An end to child labour, education for all and free school books for every Indian primary school pupil. It is called Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Education For All and the logo for the project is a jaunty cartoon of two tiny Indian children sitting astride a giant pencil, happily learning to read. The reality, however, leaves a lot to be desired. This Indian development programme has been tragically pillaged by officials, who have robbed impoverished children of their hopes.
Indian school children
Auditors have discovered that around £70 million of aid money has gone missing from the gigantic scheme, which was designed to fund schools for Indias 350 million children. A report by Indias Auditor General,reveals widespread diversions and mis-utilisations, showing that almost £14 million has been spent on items that have nothing to do with schools. Instead, corrupt officials bought cars and other luxuries. In one instance, aid money was used to buy four luxury beds, at a cost of £17,754.
In the state of Andhra Pradesh, money was wasted on 7,531 colour televisions despite the fact that many of the classrooms have no electricity. Computers were bought and now lie idle in stockrooms. Tens of thousands of pounds were allocated to 2,369 schools in the district of Jharkhand that do not even exist, and £150,000 was paid into a mystery bank account with no reason given. I will repeat myself. As long as you keep paying taxes, the State will continue to spend them. I've had a brisk look through the truly depressing list of despots that can count on £14.7 Billion of taxpayers money, taken under threat of violence. Mugabe to receive £353M, Pakistan to receive £1.4 Billion, India's Space Program (even they tried to refuse the aid) £1.1 Billion. Somalia, which doesn't even HAVE a government is to receive £250 Million, whilst those trustworthy fellows we meet everyday in our junk mail folders, the Nigerians, wallowing in $100 a barrel oil and diamond encrusted Learjets are to receive £1 Billion.
FOREIGN aid has helped fund a multi-million-pound Paris property portfolio for African dictators, it emerged yesterday.
Scores of the most luxurious houses and flats in the French capital are now owned by men who regularly receive vast handouts – including British cash via European funding. They include Ali Bongo, President of Gabon, with at least 39 properties, and Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo, who has 16. The portfolio of Teodoro Obiang Nguema, president of Equatorial Guinea, includes a six-floor period building on the prestigious Avenue Foch worth at least £15million. It is used by his family on shopping trips in France, while Obiang Nguema – who came to power in a bloody 1979 coup – prefers to occupy a £2,000-plus-a-night suite at the Plaza Athenee Hotel, off the chic Champs Elysee. The astonishing details are in a report handed to Paris prosecutors by anti-corruption groups Transparency International and Sherpa. They are also investigating claims that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt – both deposed in the Arab Spring – retain numerous homes in France. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi is also thought to be a Gallic property owner, as is Bashar Al-Assad, accused of killing his own subjects in Syria. The dossier’s main accusation is that foreign aid flooding into blighted African states was used to fund the extravagant lifestyles of unelected leaders. French authorities have been accused of turning a blind eye to the scandal. Liberation newspaper highlighted President Sarkozy’s apparent inability to his give up his support for despots.
Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money could be ending up in the pockets of Taliban insurgents and corrupt Afghan officials, a damning report has revealed.The International Crisis Group warned that up to 10 per cent of overseas aid was being paid in bribes and protection money to the Taliban and officials in Kabul. Over the next four years, the Prime Minister has pledged to give £710million to Afghanistan alone. That could mean up to £70million of British money going to the very people we are fighting. The Department for International Development spent £102million on aid to Afghanistan in the last financial year, but this will rise to £178million this year. Of these totals, 16 per cent goes to Helmand province, where British troops operate.
Ministers are in secret talks to enshrine in law the Government’s promise to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid. International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is demanding Parliamentary time to introduce the controversial legislation. Officials from his department are in talks with Tory whips and Leader of the House Sir George Young to ensure the Bill is passed.
British taxpayers provided Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe with £8million in aid to buy police vehicles that were used to crush his own people, a report found yesterday.
The tyrant’s regime was also supplied with loan guarantees worth £21million to help him import more than 1,000 Land Rovers.
ALMOST £500million was paid last year by a government department to consultants on foreign aid projects, it emerged yesterday. The Department for International Development paid cash for work in countries including Afghanistan, Nepal and India. Some consultants are receiving seven-figure salaries for help with DfIDfunded projects and the department is funding dozens of consultancy firms, handing over up to £6million a time, it was reported. The payments come as other government departments that fund projects in the UK are being forced to scale back spending. DfID's budget will increase by 35 per cent in real terms to £11.5billion in 2014. Last night critics said the spending was a waste of taxpayers' cash. Projects include providing community legal services in Bangladesh, tax reform in Afghanistan and investigating mental health issues in southern Africa. Almost £400,000 was spent on furniture for a DfID office in Delhi. Staff move in next month to share with the British High Commission. DfID says the venture will save millions of pounds a year.
An emergency audit was opened last night into revelations that ‘poverty barons’ are making millions in consultancy fees from the foreign aid budget.Nearly £500million was paid out last year to firms that work on Third World programmes. Some give their directors seven-figure salaries.
The probe was launched by Justine Greening, who was appointed International Development Secretary against her will in David Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle this month. Miss Greening, who is an accountant by training, has demanded a rapid explanation of apparently extravagant spending and is said to be going through the Department for International Development’s budget ‘line by line’. ‘Justine will be sure to bring an accountant’s eye to DfID and will be looking extremely closely at every single area of spend to ensure value for money for the British taxpayer,’ said one source. One of the firms to profit from the ring-fenced aid budget is Adam Smith International.
The London-based consultancy, which promotes the free market in poor countries, has received contracts worth tens of millions of pounds in a single year.Its work includes building schools in Pakistan, developing the free market in Nepal and reforming the tax system in Afghanistan.
Peter Young, a director of both ASI and its parent company Amphion Group, made more than £1million in 2010. He receives a salary of £250,000 and paid himself a dividend of £800,000 two years ago. Defending his payout to the Mail, he said it was a one-off dividend accumulated over many years, adding: ‘I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to take pot-shots at success.’ Mr Young, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: ‘For a very modest outlay the tax revenue of the Afghanistan government has gone up to £2billion.
The aid budget is set to rise by 32.6 per cent between 2011/12 and 2014/15, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, while the budget for the Ministry of Defence is set for a 19.5 per cent cut. This will see the aid budget increase from £7billion at the last election to £12billion – costing each household more than £300 a year. Britain contributes some of this to a European development aid budget which spends half its funds on middle and higher income nations.
HOW appropriate that on the day Britain won plaudits for being the only G8 country to increase its international aid budget EU auditors reported that £500million of European taxpayers' money paid out to Egypt to fight corruption has, er, disappeared without trace.
Over the past 40 years Africa has received $400billion of aid from the developed world.
If it had achieved what it was supposed to achieve Africa would now be the richest continent outside Western Europe and North America. Instead, it is the poorest. A generation ago sub-Saharan African countries were on a level of development with much of Asia. Yet after mountains of aid they have fallen badly behind. Between 1990 and 2010 World Bank figures reveal Kenya and Ghana were lavished with aid which, at its peak, accounted for 16.8 and 16.3 per cent of GDP respectively. During that period their economies grew by an average of 3.1 per cent and 4 per cent.
China and Malaysia by contrast received minimal foreign aid, never accounting for more than 0.7 per cent of GDP in China's case or 1.2 per cent in Malaysia's case. Yet their economies outperformed those of Kenya and Ghana spectacularly, growing by an average of 11.6 per cent and 6.1 per cent a year respectively. Long-term development aid fails because it damages the efforts of locals to grow their industries. To take a non-African example Haiti has been smothered with "kindness" over the years through donations of rice and clothing. While this may have helped in the short term to feed and clothe people who might otherwise have gone hungry or cold, in the longer term it has undermined what should be two of Haiti's main industries: agriculture and textiles. While we imagine our money being used to save the poor, many British aid projects have the ring of the ground nut scheme, the farcical Forties attempt to establish peanut farms in what is now Tanzania. Just why are we shelling out £27million towards improvements to the docks in Mombasa or £437,500 for the planting of biofuels in Mozambique? Some are frivolous, such as the £600,000 we are spending on children's TV in Kenya. Others are pet political projects in Britain which officials have decided to try to extend to the developing world. We are for example paying £3.4million to a project to increase the participation of women in small and medium sized businesses in Nicaragua; £1.2million towards the privatisation of utilities in Nigeria and another £80,000 on a study of the link between gender equality and growth also in Nigeria.
Other projects are just plain hypocritical. We are paying £53million on a project aimed at increasing citizens' participation in the political system in the Congo. What does a government which could not persuade more than 15 per cent of its electorate to turn out for police commissioner elections last November have to offer in advice in that field? We are also paying £6million on a project to create a "sound financial system" in Kenya. Presumably Fred Goodwin will be leading that. Much of our aid budget is doomed to be wasted because of the foolish way in which the Government has set its aid target. It has hit on the idea of spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on international aid because there was a UN motion to this effect in 1970. No other country has subsequently made any serious effort to achieve this target – the US will spend 0.19 per cent of GDP this year, compared with 0.56 per cent in Britain – and for good reason.
How we pour millions into foreign flood zones
While thousands of frightened and furious Britons fight to defend their homes from the rising waters this week, the biggest flood problem facing British foreign aid officials is how to spend the tidal wave of money flowing into their coffers. Vast sums are being spent on strategies to limit the damage wrought by flooding around the world. Despite this, one respected Swedish study which analysed nine global initiatives at random found that six actually reduced the resilience of the communities they were supposed to help because they were so focused on short-term fixes. So where has our money gone – and did it make any difference?
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the British aid boom is Pakistan, despite its endemic corruption and woeful political leadership. We are ramping up donations from £267million last year to £446million by the time of next year's election – although less than one per cent of Pakistanis bother paying income tax, a figure that includes more than two-thirds of its National Assembly politicians. The country suffers terribly from flooding, with millions affected over each of the past four years. The devastation in 2010 was particularly bad, displacing almost one in ten people. There was a lukewarm international response, however, partly as a response to appalling corruption in the administration of relief funds following an earthquake five years earlier. France donated under £1million – yet Britain happily handed over £144million, including £10million for bridge-building, then doled out seeds for farmers and gave free chickens to families. Huge sums have even been handed out in cash, with £60million of the British contribution distributed to 138,000 households on special debit cards. Each recipient was given a sum equivalent to £275.Unfortunately, many had never used such cards before. 'PIN numbers were forgotten, cards were sold because they couldn't be used and beneficiaries were vulnerable to those seeking to exploit them,' concluded one study. 'Many beneficiaries, having never owned an ATM card, tried to scratch off the metallic strip.'
A Bangladeshi boy swims through flood waters carrying drinking water, in the Mohammadpur area in the outskirts of Dhaka
About one third of low-lying Bangladesh floods each year during the Monsoon season, with many of the country's most impoverished people crowded into the worst-hit areas. Britain is the country's biggest aid donor, giving away about £250million a year. Visiting Tory MPs found this included £5million for a television debate show and a £21million road maintenance project. Dfid's typically grandiose claims include a pledge to help 15million people cope better with flooding and climate change, with an incredible £123million being spent on this one aim over the course of this parliament. Britain channels much of these funds through international bodies, although it has been warned by the independent aid watchdog of its failure to hold them adequately to account.One flagship £60million fund turned out to include £4.9million spent on administration costs at the World Bank, notorious for its officials' fondness for fine hotels and business-class travel. Yet even the World Bank has been unable to ignore funds going astray in Bangladesh, cancelling its £730million support for a critical bridge project after the government refused to respond to complaints over corruption.
Britain is pouring more than £100million of aid a year into the mountainous nation, promising to 'reduce the climate and disaster vulnerability' of four million people.
Yet the country, scarred by a decade-long Maoist insurgency, also suffers from rampant corruption as well as the worst inequality in Asia.
Britain is one of the world's biggest donors to Myanmar (formerly Burma), pledging £184million over the duration of the Tory-LibDem coalition. This includes £6.4million to help Muslims displaced from their homes by communal violence and left at risk of flooding and disease.
When this Portuguese-speaking African nation was hit by catastrophic floods at the start of this century, Dfid swung into action, providing humanitarian relief worth £20million with tents, sanitation, water, food and basic survival equipment.
As the flood waters rose, RAF Sea King helicopters were scrambled from the UK and a naval support ship re-deployed from the Gulf. One hundred rescue boats and several specialist crews were also sent to save people trapped by the waters.
Stung by criticism over its slow reaction, the Blair government then gave another £70million towards reconstruction. The coalition gave another £1.6million last year to help victims of floods.
Just the kind of relief money, in fact, that the exhausted residents of the Somerset Levels and the flooded Thames Valley can only dream of.
British aid money given to the Palestinian Authority allows it to make payments to convicted terrorists, it was claimed last night. Taxpayers' money has been used by the Department for International Development (DfID) to pay out around £80million a year to the Palestinian Authority. The authority, in turn, spends money on convicted terrorists locked up in Israeli prisons. An Israeli group claims the longest serving prisoners receive around £2,075 a month, plus bonuses for their wives and children. Further payments of tens of thousands of pounds can be made when Palestinian prisoners are released from jail. It is claimed up to 5,000 convicts could be in receipt of salaries and bonuses. The suggestion is not that British aid money is directly going to terrorists' pockets, but that it supports the Palestinian Authority more generally.
The billions Britain pours into foreign aid are actually doing harm by making corruption worse in many parts of the world, a damning report reveals. It says projects funded by UK cash are increasing opportunities for bribery. In some areas, they are even pushing poor people towards corrupt practices. After we spent millions on a scheme to tackle police bribery in Nigeria, locals said they were even more likely to have to pay backhanders, the report found. It concluded that huge amounts of UK aid money is being wasted because we are either funding corrupt programmes directly or not doing enough to tackle the culture of bribery in many countries. The findings come just days after it emerged human rights abuses in Ethiopia where security forces are accused of burning, torturing and raping citizens had got worse during a four-year period when the UK gave the country more than £1billion. They will be hugely embarrassing for David Cameron, who has repeatedly been forced to defend his controversial commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid despite fierce opposition from his backbenchers. The report was carried out by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the watchdog set up to scrutinise the Department for International Development. Giving DfiD a poor amber-red rating, it criticised the fact that only £22million of its £10.3billion aid budget was targeted specifically at fighting corruption. The study found the department was not up to the challengeof tackling corruption and, in many cases, help was not effectively targeted at the poor.
VIETNAM - 2015 £500 MILLION DONATED.
Millions of pounds in British aid money is being used to subsidise public services in overseas tax havens. Tax havens including Belize, Anguilla, and Panama have such high poverty levels that they qualify for substantial UK development grants, an investigation has found. In just one year, Britain paid out £45m a year in development aid to 13 countries included on a tax haven blacklist, drawn up by the European Commission. This is despite estimates from campaigners that the abuse of such offshore havens costs the UK Treasury around £18bn a year. Although huge international capital flows are routed through global tax havens, many still rely on payments from other countries to fund services and infrastructure services because their tax systems collect so little. UK aid funds have been directed to build an airport in Montserrat, and funds have been set aside to pay for roads and ports in Belize, Antigua ; Barbuda, and St Vincent ; the Grenadines. Over £1.8m has been sent to Anguilla, which has no income tax, capital gains tax, or corporation tax and is described by accountants Deloitte as a zero-tax jurisdiction. Ministers say British aid to the 17,000-person Caribbean nation is being used to fund training in, amongst other things, financial services. John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, described the situation as ;incoherent and warned that the countries; tax policies were being pursued at the expense of their own local populations. Donor countries need to pay far more attention to whether aid-recipient countries are making sufficient effort to tax their wealthy citizens John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network. This issue goes straight to the heart of the tax justice agenda; there is an obvious lack of policy coherence when development assistance is being provided to countries that deliberately choose to set low or zero tax rates on corporate profits, or offer hugely expensive tax exemptions but can't afford to provide even basic public services like health, security and education to their citizens. Donor countries need to pay far more attention to whether aid-recipient countries are making sufficient effort to tax their wealthy citizens and tackle corporate tax avoidance. Tackling tax dodging is an important step towards reducing reliance on aid and external debt.
£172million... is what we OVERSPENT on Foreign Aid last year by mistake - as sneaked out by the Government on Friday. That's enough to keep Port Talbot steel plant alive for six months
A political row erupted last night after it emerged that Britain overspent its foreign aid budget by nearly £200 million last year.
The extraordinary figure was part of a massive £513 million rise in foreign aid in 2015 following the Government’s decision to set a controversial new target.
Overseas aid spending has now risen to a highest-ever £12.2 billion. But shock figures from the Department for International Development (DFID) show the Government overshot its own target by £172 million.
The news came as a Mail on Sunday campaign launched last week to scrap David Cameron’s pledge to spend a set percentage of the national income on overseas aid won overwhelming support, as an astonishing 150,000 people signed our petition on a Parliamentary website.
The Mail on Sunday is calling on the Government to drop the target, which critics say encourages spending by necessity rather than need, and invites waste and corruption.
It is the biggest newspaper e-petition ever, with the number of signatures on our petition already enough to force MPs to consider a debate.
The Prime Minister has pledged to spend 0.7 per cent of the UK’s Gross National Income (GNI) on developing countries.
But new statistics quietly released on the DFID’s website show that the Government not only met the target, it exceeded it by £172 million – money that could have been spent on jobs, homes, schools or hospitals in Britain.
Although the excess spend is only 0.01 per cent of GNI, the sheer scale of our national income means it is a vast amount.
Last night, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘There can be no more graphic example of the idiocy of setting such a fixed target. This overspend will anger taxpayers who do not want their money frittered away on politicians’ vanity.’
The new figures increase pressure on Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who has refused to use public funds to bail out the crisis-hit steel industry.
Yesterday, despite the huge foreign aid overspend, Mr Javid announced a new ‘buy British’ bid to help UK steelmakers beat off foreign competition, saying the NHS, town halls and other public sector projects must consider buying UK steel.
Spending on overseas aid by Mr Javid’s department more than doubled to £194 million last year. And it has risen dramatically in other departments as the rush to spend more on aid has spread throughout Whitehall.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has found fresh examples of how taxpayers’ money is being spent abroad, including:
The political controversy intensified as politicians from former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson to anti-child poverty campaigner and ex-Labour Minister Frank Field spoke out against the 0.7 per cent target.
The Mail on Sunday can also disclose that Mr Cameron turned down calls to delay the 0.7 per cent target ‘to avoid upsetting Bob Geldof’.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening last night refused to answer ten questions put to her by The Mail on Sunday on the aid crisis.
Ms Greening said she had carried out a review of aid spending to ‘make sure taxpayers’ money is being spent in the right way’.
Foreign Aid spend is calculated according to GNI – which reached £1.7 trillion last year – meaning the Government is obliged to try to increase spending until it reaches 0.7 per cent of this figure. Last year MPs voted to enshrine this target in law, turning on its head the usual Whitehall approach of keeping budgets down to curb the deficit.
The first shocking aid figures published since the new law took effect show how spending has boomed since the decision.
While more than 98 per cent is spent in the world’s poorest countries in Africa and Asia, other beneficiaries of the spending bonanza were European countries such as Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which received £1 million each, while Ukraine received £16 million in the wake of the invasion of Crimea by Russia.
STOP THE FOREIGN AID MADNESS NOW: AS ANOTHER £12BN OF YOUR TAXES ARE SPLURGED ON HAND-OUTS FOR TERRORISTS AND KILLERS, IF YOU CARE ABOUT SPENDING ON FOREIGN AID BUDGET, SIGN OUR PETITION NOW
The Mail on Sunday has launched a petition on the official Parliamentary website calling on the Government to scrap the law requiring us to spend a fixed 0.7 per cent of national wealth on foreign aid. The figure is currently £12 billion and will rise to £16 billion by 2020.
Rather than helping people who desperately need it, much of this money is wasted and the Great British Giveaway fuels corruption, funds despots and corrodes democracy in developing nations.
If you want to stop this madness and see that our money is better spent, click here:
Yes, I want to make a difference and sign the petition
The link will take you to the Parliamentary petitions web site where our petition is displayed. Once you have signed it, please share it with your family and friends using social media. You must be a UK resident or citizen to sign.
Please note that signing the petition will entail you clicking on a link sent to your email inbox.
100,000 people have signed the petition, which will force politicians to at least consider a parliamentary debate on the issue. But more signatures will give the argument to reconsider that aid budget even more weight.
And the amount of UK taxpayers’ money given by the Government to the European Union to spend on aid rose by £147 million, to reach £963 million.
Although most of Britain’s foreign aid budget is controlled by DFID, an increasing proportion – £2.4 billion – is now distributed by other Government departments, not traditionally associated with giving aid to the poorest countries, such as the Business Department.
While DFID spending on aid has gone down by £318 million, foreign aid spending by the rest of Whitehall has rocketed by £830 million, resulting in a £513 million overall increase.
Asked to explain why the 0.7 per cent target was exceeded, a Government spokesman said: ‘These are provisional statistics that will fluctuate.’
Foreign Aid: A nation roars 'end the £12billion madness'
The Mail on Sunday’s shocking investigation into how Britain wastes billions of pounds on dubious foreign aid projects has unleashed an incredible wave of anger, and sparked massive support for our campaign to bring about change.
It took less than 24 hours to reach the crucial target, which means MPs are now forced to consider holding a debate on the call to abolish Britain’s commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid every year.
At peak times our e-petition, on the official Government website, was attracting more than 150 signatures every minute.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: ‘It is an indication that high-quality journalism strikes a chord with the British people.’
FOREIGN AID MADNESS
Ironically, against the backdrop of the Port Talbot steel crisis, one of the biggest rises in UK foreign aid spending last year was in Sajid Javid’s Business department – it sent an extra £115m abroad compared to 2014.
New figures reveal that the 0.7 dogma meant spending £12.2 billion on aid in 2015 and the projection is that by 2020 the bill will have swelled to a staggering £16 billion.
Last night the total figure for signatures stood at well over 150,000, and that will no doubt be boosted hugely today with our further revelations of waste in the foreign aid sector. As well as signing the petition many readers emailed us and wrote to us to express their anger.
SIr Malcolm Rifkind
A member of the Thatcher and Major Cabinets and Foreign Secretary from 1995 to 1997.
‘It was extremely foolish to set the 0.7 per cent target in law to be hit, regardless of the country’s circumstances. Very few parts of the economy are protected in this way: the amounts devoted to aid should go up and down like other areas. I have no problem with giving foreign aid, but I fear they may be running out of good things to spend it on.’
Welfare Minister in Tony Blair’s Government, ran the Child Poverty Action Group charity before entering politics.
‘Thanks to The Mail on Sunday’s campaign, Parliament must now review the overseas aid budget. It should be concentrated on combating the humanitarian fallout from the wars in Iraq and Syria. Justice demands we transform these refugee camps; and self-interest demands we reduce the movement of migrants across Europe and give them a chance to live decently near their own country so they can return when circumstances improve.’
Lord Nigel Lawson, said part of the problem was the EU and UN, while Tory MP Nigel Evans (right) said British taxpayers' money is being 'squandered on overseas aid vanity projects'
Chancellor to Margaret Thatcher from 1983 to 1989.
‘Part of the problem is that so much of the overseas aid goes through multi-lateral agencies such as the EU and the UN. We have no control at all.’
Former Commons Deputy Speaker, Tory MP for Ribble Valley and member of the Commons International Development Select Committee.
‘The Mail on Sunday’s brilliant exposure of the waste of hundreds of millions of pounds of aid has convinced me the 0.7 per cent target must be looked at again. British taxpayers’ money is being squandered on overseas aid vanity projects when there are road potholes the size of craters in my constituency.’
Despair for steel workers... so why ARE we giving £9million to Nigeria to help its leather tanning industry?
A steel worker at the doomed Port Talbot plant says it ‘beggars belief’ that David Cameron is spending hundreds of millions of pounds supporting industries abroad, when families in Britain are facing devastation.
Father-of-two Paul Stanton, one of 150,000 people to have signed The Mail on Sunday’s petition demanding a Commons debate on aid, called for the Government to strictly police overseas spending and get home-grown industry on a level playing field with foreign competitors.
Britain spends close to £250 million supporting industry in developing countries – 3.5 per cent of the soaring aid budget.
Major recipients of aid for industry include Nigeria where a scheme designed to encourage business called Growth and Empowerment in States (GEMS) gets £91 million from British taxpayers, with another £112.5 million coming from the World Bank – also heavily subsidised by Britain.
And an investigation uncovered questionable practices among Nigerian leather exporters who receive tens of millions of pounds each year from the Department for International Development (DFID).
Mr Stanton, 52, who lives just a mile from the plant in Wales, said: ‘Some of the things that have been going on are madness – it beggars belief. And it is happening while the steel industry here is being cut adrift – the Government should have intervened a long time ago.’
Mr Stanton is the third generation of his family to work at the Port Talbot plant. His grandfather Tom had nine children and eight of them were employed at the steelworks, now owned by Indian firm Tata.
Beneficiary: One £9million GEMS programme promotes the local meat and leather industry in Nigeria
About 4,000 jobs will be lost at Port Talbot if Tata pull out. A further 10,000 jobs are at risk at the company’s other British plants and unions estimate up to 60,000 jobs could be lost in the supply chain.
The crisis has arisen because China has dumped cheap steel on world markets sending prices crashing. The Government voted against the EU imposing higher tariffs on the Chinese imports.
Mr Stanton, who returned to work in the coke ovens six years ago despite suffering a heart attack, said: ‘The steelworks is all I’ve ever known, all this community has ever known.
‘I’m not against foreign aid but if we are sending billions of pounds abroad it has to be policed. We should be put on a level playing field with our competitors abroad and then there should be inward investment into the industry. This is about the future of the steel communities and the future of the country – what if there was a war?’
One £9 million GEMS programme in Nigeria promotes the meat and leather industry, but an investigation revealed a 700 per cent rise in leather exports – largely to Italy – was exaggerated by filling containers with rocks to collect cash coming from huge subsidies. A whistleblower told the BBC that the Department for International Development was warned about the £1.4 billion fraud but officials were ‘not interested’.
Another source at GEMS said the schemes, which are run by private contractors, were ‘nonsense and a waste of money’.
The source revealed: ‘I remember going to the office and the only Nigerians there were cleaners, drivers or making coffee. The rest were white Europeans like me who had flown in at great cost to hold workshops.’ Last night a DFID spokesman said: ‘It is wrong to suggest that simply because DFID operates in the leather sector our funds have been misused.
‘We have a zero tolerance approach to misuse of DFID’s funds and, where there are concerns or programmes are not performing, we take swift and robust action.’
Business Secretary Sajid Javid cut short a controversial trip to Australia to visit Port Talbot on Friday.
He told angry steelworkers: ‘We are on your side.’
You pay two Palestinian terrorists who left this British woman for dead and killed her friend £9,000 each every year - as a 'REWARD'
By Nick Constable for The Mail on Sunday
Two Palestinian terrorists who repeatedly stabbed a British woman in a brutal attack and killed her friend are now each receiving at least £9,000 in ‘blood money’ every year with the help of UK aid.
Kay Wilson was left for dead in an orgy of violence in Jerusalem in which Kristine Luken, an American, was killed.
The attackers were eventually caught and, after admitting their crimes, were sent to prison.
But Ms Wilson was horrified to learn from news reports that her assailants were being paid a monthly stipend equivalent to £750 each effectively from the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Last week The Mail on Sunday exposed how ‘reward’ payments are going via the PA to thousands of terrorists and to hundreds of other prisoners in Israeli jails.
Ms Wilson, 51, and her friend were hiking in the Judean Hills in 2010 when the two men pounced on them, believing both women to be Jewish, although Miss Luken was Christian. After tying the women up the terrorists launched a savage attack.
Miss Luken died from her stab wounds. Miss Wilson still bears a seven-inch scar on her stomach and, more than five years on, breathing still causes her pain.
Ms Wilson said: ‘We were held for 30 minutes at knife point then gagged and bound before being butchered with machetes.
‘I watched my friend chopped up before my eyes, and only survived because I played dead, despite being stabbed 13 times and having over 30 bones broken by the sheer force of the blows.
‘Each time he plunged his machete into me I could hear my bones crunch, and also my flesh ripping from the serrated blade.
‘They left, only to return moments later and roll me over, and I watched him plunge the knife into my chest, just missing my heart.’
The attackers – Aiad Fatfata and Kifah Ghanimat – were later arrested, tried and given lengthy life sentences in 2011 and are still in prison.
But months after the convictions Miss Wilson discovered the men’s families were being paid. She said: ‘I call it their execution stipends. In court, I learned from their own mouths, that Kristine, a Christian, was murdered because they assumed she was Jewish.
‘That is outrageous in itself. But when I, as a proud British citizen, discover that my homeland is paying their families a monthly income, the absolute unfairness of it all is just devastating.
‘I thank God for all the people who have signed The Mail on Sunday’s petition to Parliament because that proves to me that the British do still care and they have a huge sense of fairness.
‘How can two men hold machetes and hack at two innocent women without even blinking an eye? They were actually yawning and smirking in court. No wonder if they knew there was a cash incentive from the British Government.
I’m pro-peace. I have spoken out many times since this happened. Jewish, Christian or Muslim, we all have to learn to live together.
‘But if we want a viable peace we must stop these payments.’
Miss Wilson, who was born in London but moved to Israel 30 years ago, works for an non-governmental organisation called Standwithus which seeks to promote religious tolerance and understanding.
She contacted The Mail on Sunday after we reported last week how, in the West Bank and Gaza, despite promises by the PA to end the practice of paying aid money to convicted terrorists, they simply duped the West by allowing the Palestine Liberation Organisation to hand out the cash instead. Britain gives £72 million a year to Palestine, more than one-third of which goes straight to the PA.
It openly admits supporting terrorists, whom it hails as heroes for fighting illegal occupation, awarding lifetime payments that rise depending on time spent in jail and the seriousness of crimes. Extra amounts are added for dependants, according to the Israeli NGO, Palestinian Media Watch.
Miss Wilson’s lawyer, Gavi Mairone, said: ‘These two men were part of a terrorist cell and they are aligned with Fatah, the armed wing of the PLO. In prison they are with the Fatah group and are paid money by the Palestinian Authority, like the others.’
By Gethin Chamberlain For The Mail On Sunday
Hundreds of millions of pounds in British aid are being poured into education in Pakistan – where corrupt officials have creamed off vast amounts of cash by creating thousands of fake teaching jobs and pocketing the salaries.
A judicial inquiry in one province, Sindh, uncovered how the money was being siphoned off to as many as 5,000 schools and 40,000 teachers – which exist only on paper.
The fraud is just one of the scandals in education across Pakistan, to which Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £700 million, supposedly to help the country’s impoverished children.
If you want to end foreign aid madness, you can sign the petition HERE
The Government was urged to review its foreign aid to Tanzania today after it emerged £200million was spent in the country before its government rigged an election.
Senior Tory MPs, led by former defence secretary Liam Fox, claimed the figures showed the Department for International Development was spraying money around to hit its target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid.
The spending - amounting to a total of £12billion a year - is deeply unpopular among some on the Conservative benches.
The United States has reportedly cancelled aid worth £330million to Tanzania after accusing the country's government of a 'pattern of actions' to undermine democracy.
THE UK HAS A NATIONAL DEBT OF 1.5 TRILLION AND RISING EACH SECOND YET WE GIVE MILLIONS AWAY IN AID THAT CASUES MORE DAMAGE THAN IN SOLVES IT UNDERMINES MANY COUNTRIES ECONOMIES, ENCOURAGES CORRUPTION AND DICTATORS USE AID TO BUY MORE WEAPONS TO CREATE MORE CHAOS WHILST MILLITIAS ROB AID FOOD AND RE-SELL IT.
WE ALSO NEED TO STOP GRANTING ASYLUM AS MOST REFUGEES ARE JUST ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. EVEN DIANE ABBOT ADMITS HER FAMILY CAME TO THE UK AS ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. ASYLUM WAS MEANT FOR THOSE FLEEING WAR NOT A MAGIC WORD TO GET A BETTER LIFESTYLE. AFRICA HAS NO NHS, WELFARE, SOCIAL HOUSING, FREE EDUCATION. MANY AFRICANS DONT EVEN HAVE HOMES WITH RUNNING WATER OR ELECTRICITY. THIS IS NOT FAULT OF THE UK IT IS THE FAULT OF AFRICANS WHO DONT HAVE THE ABILITY TO INVENT THINGS - CREATE A WELFARE STATE, PROVIDE ELECTRICITY. UK HAS GIVEN THEM PLENTY OF AID OVER THE YEARS TO DO THESE THINGS. AFRICA IS POOR BECAUSE AFRICA HAS MANY LARGE FAMILIES SO MORE MOUTHS TO FEED. ALSO AFRICANS HAVE A DIFFERENT MENTALITY - IN USA 80 PERCENT OF VIOLENT CRIMES ARE DONE BY PEOPLE OF AFRICAN ORIGIN.
UK NEEEDS TO STOP ASYLUM, FOREIGN AID AND LEAVE THE EU THEN WE WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF. WE ALSO NEED TO RETURN ALL THESE ECONOMIC MIGRANTS. ANY MUSLIM WHO WANTS TO LIVE UNDER SHARIA SHOULD BE OFFERED CASH TO MOVE TO SAUDI ARABIA.
TURKEY IS A SAFE COUNTRY FOR MUSLIMS TO CLAIM ASYLUM IN - MOST OF THEM HATE WESTERN WAYS SO WHY DO THEY HEAD FOR EUROPE AND MAINLY GERMANY, SWEDEN AND THE UK? THEY ARE PASSING THROUGH SAFE LANDS SO ALL ARE JUST ECONOMIC MIGRANTS.