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Volume 454: debated on Wednesday 13 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect of corruption on the disbursement of (a) UK and (b) international funds for earthquake relief in Kashmir; and if he will make a statement. (107907)

The Government of Pakistan (GoP) have reaffirmed publicly that every effort will be made to ensure that earthquake programmes are implemented in a fully transparent and accountable manner. It is bound to submit its audited accounts to its Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee for review.

We have been working very closely with the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) and our key donor partners, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, to help Pakistan meet this commitment. A full range of measures are being put in place by GoP, with our support, to address corruption concerns. Measures to guard against corruption include three layers of auditing, including an internal audit at ERRA, an external audit by the Auditor General of Pakistan, and independent verification of expenditures. In addition, the main seven donors (UN, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Commission, the United States, Japan and DFID) have agreed on an earthquake reconstruction monitoring and evaluation framework. The Government of Pakistan have, additionally, agreed with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and DFID a set of measures to help guard against the risk of corruption, includingthe development of a fully automated financial management information system.