Monday, August 12, 2013
FRESH anger over Britain’s soaring overseas aid budget erupted last night after it emerged that supplies worth nearly £500,000 ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists.
revealed that humanitarian equipment funded by British taxpayers had
been “confiscated” by Islamic terrorists in Somalia in a series of
incidents over the past three years.
supplies were in warehouses seized by al-Shabaab, a group linked to the
Al Qaeda terrorist network, and were later believed to have been set on
fire, the Department for International Development said.
revelations, contained in the small print of the department’s accounts,
intensified anger over the Government’s decision to increase aid
spending to £11billion by 2015 in line with internationally agreed
Senior Conservative MP Sir Gerald Howarth said: “There is huge public concern at the relentless increase in overseas aid.
like this, where British taxpayers’ money is diverted into people
fighting against us, are not acceptable. DfID owes it to the public to
exercise the utmost caution with its money.”
accounts also showed £60million in aid was paid to countries in Europe
during 2011. British aid cash was spent on subsidising hospitality at
five-star hotels during the London Olympics.
accounts report said there was no prior warning of the attacks in
Somalia and partner organisations were unable to move the supplies.
said the £480,000 cost was written off “following the theft between
November 2011 and February 2012 by al-Shabaab in southern Somalia of
DfID-funded humanitarian materials and supplies from the offices and
warehouses of partner organisations.
partners had no prior warning of the confiscations being carried out and
therefore had no time to prevent the loss by relocating goods. DfID
continues to work with its partner organisations to ensure risks like
this are identified and the organisations take appropriate action.
can include putting effective controls in place, where possible, to
mitigate or eliminate such risks which reduce the effectiveness of our
A spokesman for the department said: “DfID
works in some of the most dangerous places in the world, including
Somalia, because tackling the root causes of poverty and instability
there ensures a safer world and a safer UK.
conflict-affected and fragile states carries inherent risk. DfID does
all it can to mitigate against this but, on occasion, losses will occur.
We work with our partners to design programmes that protect our
investment from misuse or theft.”
night claimed the lost aid equipment was a sign of Government
incompetence and criticised International Development Secretary Justine
Greening. Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis said:
“Today’s revelations about UK aid raise fundamental questions about the
“After three years
Justine Greening has serious questions to answer about DfID’s
performance under Tory leadership. We support their decision to spend
less than one penny in every pound of UK spending on helping to
eliminate poverty in the world.
“It is morally
the right thing to do and in our long-term national interest. But they
have a duty to ensure taxpayers’ money is being used effectively. We
want assurances that lessons have been learned and systems changed
“The central Tory claim before the
election was they would improve the results achieved from aid spending
yet the evidence now shows the performance of our aid programmes has
deteriorated on their watch.”