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20 October 2011 |
The Department for International Development’s
to make informed spending decisions is “undermined
by its poor understanding of levels of fraud and corruption,” when
giving aid across the world.
That is the conclusion of Margaret Hodge MP, chairwoman of the Committeeof Public Accounts (PAC) in a report DfID Financial Management, published today.
DfID spokesman said: “We make no apology for our focus on conflict
and fragile countries.”
amount DfID spends on aid will rise by 35 per cent by 2013 but the department
has to cut its overall running costs by a third. With this in mind, Hodge said:
“The department could not even give us information as to the expected levels of
fraud and corruption and the action it was taking to mitigate it.
Unfortunately, the department has not always kept its eye on the financial ball
and in 2010 stopped monitoring its finance plan.”
DfID said the incident the
report referred to fell at the time of the 2010 election, “when the incoming
coalition government decided to move to a broader value-for-money agenda, which
superseded the old financial plan”.
It said countries
affected by war and instability are the source of problems that impact us in
the UK, whether that be immigration, drugs trafficking or extremism. “We are
increasing the number of financial specialists and putting more emphasis on
financial management for all staff who handle taxpayers’ money. All programmes
are designed with a range of safeguards – including more risk assessment,
monitoring and audits,” it added.
The PAC’s report was
published in response to a NationalAudit Office review published on 6 April.