Aid worker turns the table on CIDA

Authorities in Canada and Mali couldn’t find a Burundian man accused of embezzling $30,000 in aid money. Is a spelling mistake to blame?

A Canadian International Development Agency report last year said Emmanuel Batururimi left $30,000 worth of work unfinished at a sanitation project in Mali and disappeared when Canadian diplomats went to court to get the money back. Batururimi was head of Cercle de Formation, Recherche, Economique et Sociale, or CFORES, the nongovernmental organization given $70,000 in 2008 by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives to rehabilitate latrines and carry out other sanitation projects in Mali.

The aid worker’s name was misspelled as Bartururimi in the CIDA report.

Batururimi surfaced after The Canadian Press reported on the case last month. He said all accusations made against him are “false” and slammed the agency for “mismanagement” and “bad faith.” Further, the aid worker said he has “well-known” addresses in Mali, Canada and Burundi. He said he has “offices” in Mali and has lived in Canada since 1993. In addition, he said he registered at the Canadian consulate in Burundi upon his arrival in the country.

“CIDA has all the means to locate a Canadian citizen,” Batururimi said, The Canadian Press quotes. Batururimi holds permanent-resident status in Canada.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.