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Irish NGOs Welcome Repayment

Hans Zomer

Hans Zomer

Irish NGOs welcome the announcement by the Tánaiste that the €4 million of aid money that was misappropriated by officials in the Ugandan prime minister’s office last year has been paid back.

Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, said:

“The repayment by the Ugandan Government illustrates the importance the country attaches to good relations with Ireland, and to the jointly agreed priorities for eradicating extreme poverty. This move shows that the Ugandan Government is serious about bringing those responsible for the fraud to account.”

Commenting on the fact that the fraud prompted several aid donor countries to freeze aid to Uganda, Zomer said:

“It is truly saddening to see the extent to which a dozen unscrupulous individuals, who are willing to steal money not just from aid donors but also from their fellow citizens, can set back the development of their country by many years. Uganda had made great strides in building better lives for its citizens, and the irony is that some of the aid now frozen was earmarked for the very institution that discovered the theft in the first place, namely the office of the Auditor General in Uganda”

Dóchas emphasised that sustainable development processes depend on Government leadership, and that checks and balances between independent institutions are key requirements for transparent and accountable government.

Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas said:

“As we in Ireland know only too well, corruption is a serious development issue. Corruption undermines the spirit and the very objectives of all development work, and as a rule the poorest people in society are hit hardest by its effects.”

“Corruption thrives where systems to keep it in check are weak – and this is why a substantial part of Ireland’s overseas aid programme serves to build the institutions that keep corruption in check.”

“Rather than cut aid to countries suffering from corruption, aid should be channelled to those organisations such as parliaments, justice systems, independent media and local organisations (like the women’s groups, human rights groups and environmental organisations supported by Dóchas members) to hold their governments to account.”

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