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Fraud and Corruption

Volume 609: debated on Wednesday 4 May 2016

Corruption is bad for development, it is bad for poor people and it is bad for business. All our country programmes have anti-corruption strategies. DFID funds units in the National Crime Agency that are dedicated to investigating the money laundering and bribery that affects developing countries.

Corruption is also bad for taxpayers who have a natural concern if they see too much of their money going into the hands of corrupt Governments and other organisations, particularly in Africa. What are peer-to-peer lending and giving doing to tackle this issue?

As my hon. Friend says, platforms are now emerging that allow charitable donations to be sent directly from an individual in the UK to, for example, a remote village in Uganda or an entrepreneur in Kenya seeking to raise money from the UK public directly. Strong regulation is key. DFID is now actively working with the industry to see how this approach can be made better.

Does the Secretary of State agree that one of the best ways we can help developing countries to tackle fraud is to make sure there is no fraud and corruption in the UK? Will she look at whether the murderers of Mr Magnitsky have hidden away something like $20 million or $30 million in the UK? Is that something she would like to investigate?

I am sure I will look further at the case the right hon. Gentleman mentions, but DFID funds and helped to establish the international corruption unit that is now part of the National Crime Agency. It is there specifically to ensure we are able to investigate cases of corruption and fraud that affect the UK system, as well as developing countries.

That was very, very dedicated of the Secretary of State. It was, if I may say so, an elastic—one might almost say a liberal and possibly a democratic—interpretation of the question on the Order Paper.

9. One of the best ways to reassure our constituents that our money is spent wisely is to release as much data as possible about where it goes. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so can the Secretary of State reassure me that we will go further and release even more data than we already have to reassure our constituents? (904856)

I assure my hon. Friend that we will continue to be a leader in global aid transparency. Taxpayers can already see on the web the Department’s projects in every country. Indeed, last month the Department was again rated as “very good” in Publish What You Fund’s aid transparency index.

14. Somalia was recently judged to be the most corrupt country in the world by the independent watchdog Transparency International, yet in 2014 it received £124 million in aid. Does the Secretary of State believe that the entirety of that sum went towards helping the country’s poorest and most needy? (904861)

I do. In fact, DFID has a series of controls to manage the inherent risks not just in Somalia but in many of the other countries where we work. We make extensive use of third-party monitoring so we can verify independently that every pound is spent effectively.