Sounding off on IRD’s planned legal action against USAID

Courtroom. IRD files a suit to lift the suspension issued by USAID. Photo by: vaXzine / CC BY-NC-ND 

International Relief and Development is about to sue what was once its biggest funder, the U.S. Agency for International Development. The news, reported last week by Devex, came five months after USAID announced it would no longer provide new funding to IRD due to the latter’s alleged misconduct.

IRD told Devex that the decision to pursue legal action against USAID is designed to lift the suspension, arguing that the agency committed “arbitrary, capricious abuse of discretion” by “completely ignoring” its massive reorganization efforts, new financial safeguards and ouster of the board of directors. This, they said, is in violation of the “Administrative Procedure Act.”

“I know from experience, litigation is the natural next step when so much evidence is missing,” said Roger Ervin, who took the helm at IRD in December 2014.

There was very little sympathy toward IRD among some of the Devex readers who commented on the latest developments.

Angela M Gavel wrote: “The Gravy Train has run dry for IRD. If IRD took the suspension seriously, the new CEO wouldn't have given promotions and increases after the suspension. They need to rely on the private sector for donations, oops, they are not used to being watched. IRD needs to close the doors. The Federal Government would be really stupid to ever trust them, new CEO or not.”

The perception of IRD, meanwhile, was split among Devex readers who claimed having experience working for IRD.

David Seider, who said he had worked for IRD in the field and at headquarters for a number of years, believed the organization deserves to be blacklisted and “should never ever be eligible for any donor funding,” calling it “incompetent.”

“I was aghast at how poorly run they were … If you are a true development professional, you don't want to work there and if you are donor, you don't want to fund them. Stay away at all costs and hope USAID wins this case,” Seider added.

A reader named Rana agreed with Seider’s description, noting a “terrible experience” working for IRD in Jordan for several years.

In contrast, reader Pajan wrote of being “so proud” of working for IRD for the last seven years in Afghanistan.

“I can tell you that you can walk by the village back in southern Afghanistan and the people will tell you that how much they love IRD and the security that they have is because of the programs well implemented by IRD in those districts,” Pajan said.

Meanwhile Henry Rwamugema applauded IRD’s move to take USAID to court.

Rwamugema  wrote: “Good for you IRD! The legal battle is appropriate. You have the platform for voicing your grudges!”

What do you think of IRD’s planned legal action against USAID? Share your views by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

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    Ma. Eliza Villarino

    Currently based in New York City, Eliza is a veteran journalist focused on covering the most pressing issues and latest innovations in global health, humanitarian aid, sustainability and development. A member of Mensa, Eliza has earned a master's degree in public affairs and bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Philippines.