Embezzlement in Sahara | The Huffington Post

Continued outrage in the wake of an EU report outlining Polisario aid theft:

The newly presented report from the EU corruption watch-dog — OLAF — about embezzlement of funds from the EU to Polisario, comes as no real surprise for those of us who have followed the confluence between organized crime and terrorism in West Africa. In the investigation OLAF shows how Polisario leadership, in cahoots with Algeria, has inflated the number of refugees in the camps in Tindouf in order to increase aid-money and supplies intended for the refugees. Furthermore, good-quality foodstuff like Canadian wheat for example, intended for the refugees were switched to lower-quality provisions, selling the higher quality goods on the open market.

The report lists organizations and names behind the swindle and accuses the perpetrators to have built up an elaborate scheme that begins already in the port of Oran, to where aid-supplies are shipped before being transported to the camps further south. Also, goods intended for the refugees were sold to them instead of given to them as was the intention by the donors.

To make matters even worse, it turned out that Algeria used prisoners (both civilian and prisoners of war) to physically handle the goods as well as constructing facilities to handle the aid. Algerian authorities have said that 155,000 people are in the camps, but have, supported by Polisario, steadfastly refused an independent count of the actual number of refugees. Despite this, in 2005 OLAF down-sized the number of refugees to 90 000, showing that there already was suspicion from EU about the number of people supposedly being helped by the EU taxpayers. This is important because, as is pointed out in the report, one of the major factors enabling these scams to go on for several years, were the conscious efforts to lie about the number of actual refugees in the Tindouf camps…[Full Story]

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