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Overseas Aid

Volume 481: debated on Monday 20 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has taken (a) to ensure that UK aid reaches its intended targets and (b) to reduce fraud. (226846)

The Department for International Development has a strong set of controls to manage the risk of misuse of funds. Throughout the management of our programmes, there is a strong emphasis on establishing comprehensive arrangements to guard against fiduciary risks. The rules of UK Government accounting are rigorously applied.

DFID checks on the use of funds by requiring recipients to provide audited financial statements and by conducting annual monitoring reviews. DFID's programme management is supported by regular audits by DFID's Internal Audit Department and the National Audit Office, both providing further evidence of the correct use of aid funds.

Within DFID's fraud policy specific actions to reduce the incidence of fraud include:

DFID's programmes are designed to respond from the outset to the risks of fraud or corruption which are identified through planning tools such as the fiduciary risk assessment;

A specialist Counter Fraud Unit coordinates DFID's response to allegations or suspicions of fraud and corruption, and provides support to management to strengthen systems and processes to prevent or detect future losses; and

Action is taken to recover funds which are lost, and DFID takes a robust approach in dealing with anyone found to have diverted UK aid funds away from their intended recipients. This includes disciplinary sanctions, criminal prosecutions, recovery of losses and the suspension of aid.