In Afghanistan, UNDP suspends official amid police fund fraud investigation

    Members of the Afghan National Police during a search and apprehension techniques training. The United Nations Development Program continues its investigation on the alleged misuse of trust fund for police salaries. Photo by: Brian Brannon / DVIDSHUB / CC BY

    The United Nations Development Program continues its probe into the alleged misuse of a UNDP-administered trust fund paying the salaries of the Afghan police force. In so doing, it has placed a senior local staff member on leave.

    The action taken on Mushtaq Rahim, assistant country director for UNDP in Afghanistan, represents a “precautionary measure that is not a disciplinary measure at this stage,” a U.N. official told The Wall Street Journal.

    Earlier this month, the U.N. agency terminated contracts with three Afghan contractors in connection with its inquiry on the operations of the $1.4 billion Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan. The action was effective immediately.

    “Appropriate temporary and permanent measures are being taken towards concerned contractors and staff in line with UNDP’s strict anti-fraud policy, staff rules and regulations, as well as due process for all concerned, as the investigation progresses,” UNDP said June 18 in a statement. “The investigation — which began weeks before allegations of fraud first appeared in the media — is conducted confidentially, as is normal practice, in order to preserve the process’ integrity and to protect the rights of all parties concerned.”

    Unless UNDP corrects the problems, the European Union said it will hold on to its contribution of €30 million ($38 million) to LOTFA.

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    • Eliza Villarino

      Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.

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