Some $4 million worth of donor funds were misappropriated from a school rehabilitation project in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwestern Pakistan, UNICEF has confirmed.
UNICEF first uncovered irregularities in the $6.2 million project in 2010. It suspended funding for the project and launched an investigation that confirmed misappropriation of funds through overbilling for sub-standard repairs.
UNICEF said the investigation did not establish whether its staff knowingly contributed or benefited from the fraud. The investigation also failed to conclusively identify which parties were involved, UNICEF said.
The affected funds were from Australia, Canada, the European Commission, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and the United States. In a joint statement released April 13, the donors said UNICEF has informed them of the results of the investigation. The donors commended UNICEF’s response to the incident and welcomed the measures undertaken to strengthen its monitoring and risk management systems.
The donors did urge UNICEF to work with the government of Pakistan to recover the misappropriated funds.
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