The Australian Agency for International Development is holding its second round of investigations on an alleged fraud-hit project in Afghanistan.
An AusAID spokesperson told Devex that this new, more detailed investigation stemmed from an initial independent investigation that showed areas of concern. This second probe is expected to be completed in mid-2013.
The investigation, which could tag the contractors involved, centers on reports that the agency’s Australia Awards scholarship program in Afghanistan was hit with fraud. The program formed part of AusAID’s 190 million Australian dollars ($195 million) in official development assistance to Afghanistan for 2012-2013.
The results of the first inquiry led AusAID to suspend the Australia Awards program in Afghanistan in August 2012. The suspension remains pending the second investigation, but program awardees already in Australia will get to keep their scholarships.
When the second investigation ends mid-2013, AusAID will decide whether or not the program will continue in Afghanistan.
More noise is heard from that side of the world, as an AusAID contractor working in Afghanistan —International Relief and Development — was reported to have committed fraud while implementing an activity under a $498 million agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The allegation was put forward by the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. SIGAR public affairs official Alex Bronstein-Moffly told Devex that the investigation into the fraud claims against IRD is ongoing.
AusAID said it is also looking into this issue.
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