Red Cross: $6 million for Ebola combat stolen by way of fraud
Clarence Roy-macaulay and Krista Larson, Associated Press
November four, 2017
Updated: November four, 2017 10:13am
Photo: Aurelie Marrier D’Unienville, AP
FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 file photograph, folks move a banner studying ‘STOP EBOLA’ forming a part of Sierra Leone’s Ebola free marketing campaign within the metropolis of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Fraud by Red Cross staff and others wasted greater than $6 million meant to combat the lethal Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the group confirmed Saturday, Nov. four, 2017. The revelations comply with an inside investigation of how cash was dealt with through the 2014-2016 epidemic that killed greater than 11,000 folks in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 file photograph, folks move a…
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Fraud by Red Cross staff and others wasted not less than $6 million meant to combat the lethal Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the group confirmed Saturday.
The revelations comply with an inside investigation of how the group dealt with greater than $124 million through the 2014-2016 epidemic that killed greater than 11,000 folks in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The illness erupted in Guinea and shortly unfold to Sierra Leone and Liberia. The worldwide badist response was initially sluggish, and cash as soon as it arrived was usually disbursed shortly within the rush to buy provides and get badist staff into the sphere.
As a lot as $2.13 million disappeared as the results of “likely collusion” between Red Cross workers and workers at a Sierra Leonean financial institution, the investigation discovered. It is believed that the cash was misplaced after they improperly fastened the change fee on the top of the epidemic.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stated it was “outraged” by what it had uncovered, and was strengthening its efforts to combat corruption, together with introducing money spending limits in “high-risk settings.” It additionally plans to ship educated auditors together with emergency operations groups. Other measures will embrace further workers coaching and “the establishment of a dedicated and independent internal investigation function.”
“These cases must not in any way diminish the tremendous courage and dedication of thousands of volunteers and staff during the Ebola response. They played a critical and widely recognized role in containing and ending the outbreak, and preventing further spread of the Ebola virus internationally,” stated Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, the IFRC below secretary normal for partnerships.
“We are pursuing every possible avenue to reclaim all funds that have been misappropriated, diverted, or otherwise illegally taken. This includes working with authorities in affected countries and elsewhere as appropriate.”
The findings of the interior investigation had been first posted on-line Oct. 20 however weren’t broadly publicized till Friday. The IFRC confirmed the findings Saturday and stated it was working with Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission to “investigate and legally pursue any persons involved.”
IFRC additionally revealed proof of fraud within the two different hardest-hit international locations through the Ebola disaster.
In Liberia, investigators discovered “evidence of fraud related to inflated prices of relief items, payroll and payment of volunteer incentives.” IFRC estimated the loss at $2.7 million.
And in Guinea, not less than $1.17 million disappeared due to fraudulent billing practices by a customs clearance service supplier. Two different investigations there are pending, IFRC stated.
Associated Press author Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed.