The EU is targeting the embezzlement of aid sent to the Tindouf camps by the Polisario:
The EU took a series of measures to curb the massive embezzlement of humanitarian aid sent to the population in the Polisario-run camps of Tindouf in south-western Algeria, Vice-President of the European Commission for Budget and Human Resources Kristalina Georgieva said.
Georgieva made the statement in a response to a written question by a member of the European Parliament on the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by Algeria and the Polisario following the disclosure of a report conducted in 2007 by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which showed decades-long fraudulent diversion of humanitarian aid sent to the population in Tindouf.
“On the basis of the recommendations put forward by OLAF, the European Commission took a set of measures to reduce the risk of these fraudulent practices,” said Georgieva.
These measures include the strengthening the control instruments used by European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and its international partners and promoting transparency at all the level of logistics and distribution, she said.
In light of the OLAF report, the Commission has also proceeded to a meticulous assessment of the needs of the population in specific areas relating, inter alia, to health, water, food and hygiene and decided, she said.
With a view to curbing the diversion of aid, the EU official went on to say, the European assistance will be limited to goods with short-term expiry dates which makes them less likely to be embezzled given the challenges they pose in terms of stockage and transportation.
The OLAF report slams Algeria and the Polsario which have been embezzling humanitarian aid for decades to the detriment of the population held against their will in the camps of Tindouf.
The report notes that organized embezzlement starts in the Algerian port of Oran where a large part of humanitarian aid is diverted away from the intended beneficiaries in the camps.
Among the factors that facilitate such embezzlement is the overestimation of the numbers of the refugees and consequently the aid, the OLAF explained in the report.
Neither Algeria nor the Polisario allowed a census of the population of the camps, deplores the OLAF.
The OLAF estimated the number of the population held in the camps at 90,000 in 2005…[Original Story, Subscription Required]