Friday, October 24, 2008

Will aid money get stolen?


actually headline is:
Zimbabwe: Corruption fears over £300m UN aid

Zimbabwe is set to receive almost $500 million (£307 million) of aid for its health system, with the money going through President Robert Mugabe's Reserve Bank, raising fears that his regime will benefit. ....

But Zimbabwean law states that all foreign exchange must be deposited with the Reserve Bank. Gideon Gono, its governor and one of Mr Mugabe’s closest allies, routinely delays releasing any funds.

The Reserve Bank held on to $600,000 for one aid programme for several months. A senior official with one donor organisation in Harare said that some funds had actually gone missing after arriving at the Reserve Bank.

“The next round of money is desperately needed in Zimbabwe, but no one will feel good about any going into the RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe],” he said.

Dr Greg Powell, a human rights campaigner in Harare, said that large sums of donor money in foreign currency had been taken from the accounts of local aid agencies during this year’s bitterly contested presidential election, which is yet to be resolved as Mr Mugabe clings to power. “During the election period, foreign money from a number of NGOs [non-governmental organisations] disappeared from their bank accounts,” he said.

“They were told they could be paid out at the official rate of exchange in Zimbabwe dollars - at a very low rate of exchange at that time, or that they will get it back some time in the future.”,.....

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