AusAID delves deeper into fraud claims in Afghanistan

    A street scene in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo by: Susan Novak / CC BY-NC

    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.

    Another allegation

    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.

    Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

    About the author

    • Johanna Morden

      Johanna Morden is a community development worker by training and a global development journalist by profession. As a former Devex staff writer based in Manila, she covered the Asian Development Bank as well as Asia-Pacific's aid community at large. Johanna has written for a variety of international publications, covering social issues, disasters, government, ICT, business, and the law.