In Uganda, funding misuse leads to Irish aid halt

A poster of Irish Aid. The Irish government has halted aid payments to the Ugandan government due to reported misuse of donor funds, including some for Irish Aid. Photo by: infomatique / CC BY-SA

Ireland has suspended aid payments channeled to the Ugandan government upon learning that €12 million ($15.6 million) of aid were banked in unauthorized accounts of the office of Prime Minister Patrick Amama Mbabazi.

A draft report covering the period July 2011 to July 2012 by John Muwanga, auditor general of Uganda, revealed that €4 million of the mismanaged amount came from Irish Aid. The other donors were Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

In an Oct. 25 statement sent to news agencies, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore said his country continues to support the Ugandan government through financial and technical provisions such that the auditor general is now capable to make and publish audit reports, but it is “intolerable that any development assistance should be misappropriated or diverted.”

“The Government will not provide financial support under our development cooperation programme unless it is clear that Irish money is being spent for the purpose for which it was allocated,” he added. “Pending the satisfactory resolution of this matter, I have instructed that no further aid funding should be provided through Ugandan government systems.”

The statement did not reveal the amount that will be suspended but the minister was reported to have specified €16 million.

Gilmore has sent a group of officials led by his ministry’s evaluation and audit unit to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, to examine the draft report and see if the defrauded amount can be restored for its original purpose — rebuilding North Uganda. In the statement, he said he expects a report from the mission next week.

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    Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news for the Development Newswire. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.