2015-06-10 08.06.03

A third of aid charities decline to make fraud data public: Thomson Reuters Foundation

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation found that 1/3 of the world’s 25 biggest aid charities declined to make their fraud data public.

According to a study by Thomson Reuters Foundation, captured data from 12 of the 25 humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with the greatest expenditure, reveals that there is an annual loss of $2.7 million for the years 2009-2014. Experts suggest that the number maybe much higher with $18 billion a year being spent globally.

In a survey, NGOs were asked about accountability in charitable aid. The surprise came when most declined to expand on details but citing that they reported their losses to regulators.The biggest loss over a five-year period was reported by World Vision International, the largest humanitarian NGO in the world in expenditure terms, which said $1 million of its resources went missing between 2009 and 2013.

Some NGOs shared more information than others. Mercy Corps, Care International, Oxfam GB, Plan International, Norwegian Refugee Council, ActionAid, Handicap International, Concern Worldwide, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the Danish Refugee Council all reported losses of between 0.003 and 0.1 percent of their own annual revenue.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) revealed 14 cases of financial irregularities in nine countries, including Liberia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its biggest financial loss was in Colombia, where $50,000 worth of building materials did not reach the intended beneficiaries.

MSF informed that in a separate incident, $790,000 of material goods were looted or stolen from its premises in the Central African Republic in 2014.

Many organisations were less forthcoming and did not disclose detailed fraud information. International Rescue Committee, Christian Aid and International Medical Corps said they do not share fraud data publicly, but they do report it to regulators and have internal mechanisms to tackle it.

There was no response on questions related to fraud from Action Against Hunger (ACF) International, Catholic Relief Services, Feed The Children, Samaritan’s Purse, and Global Communities.

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Data from the Thomson Reuter survey, can be downloaded here

Study and original news by Tom Esslemont from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org