The United Kingdom’s aid agency has laid out a plan to tackle corruption in several high-stakes countries, amid mounting calls from lawmakers to ensure value for money in its growing budget.
The Department for International Development published Thursday (Jan. 31) anti-corruption strategies for 26 countries, the Palestinian territories and Central Asia. This is in response to the Independent Commission on Aid Impact’s recommendation in 2011 for DfID to develop an “explicit” anti-corruption strategy for high-risk countries. Some of DfID’s top recipients of bilateral aid in 2012, such as the top five — Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria — are included in the list.
Also included are Uganda and Sierra Leone, which were embroiled in alleged funding misdeeds late last year. Several donors suspended support to the Ugandan government after a report in October revealed some €12 million ($16.4 million) in foreign aid had been misallocated. While no U.K. money was embezzled, DfID froze all financial aid to the government.
All aid to the government will remain frozen “until the present corruption case is satisfactorily resolved” and “DFID is provided with the necessary evidence that the Government is committed to tackling corruption and has in place the required safeguards to protect UK funds from abuse,” the agency notes in its anti-corruption strategy for Uganda.
DfID will conduct more detailed assessments of fraud and corruption risks in its programs in Uganda, and explore opportunities for “international legal sanctioning” of those found to have committed corruption in the country, among other things. It will also “consider” supporting the Inspectorate of Government, which investigates and prosecutes people accused of corruption. On Friday (Feb. 1), Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening announced support for U.K. specialist units tackling corruption overseas that involve U.K. officials, citizens or companies.
The other countries where DfID developed anti-corruption strategies are Nepal, Myanmar, Malawi, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Liberia, Yemen, South Sudan, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Somalia, India, Kenya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Mozambique.