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30 July 2017

National security chief freezes foreign aid fund in crackdown on taxpayers’ cash being wasted

BRITAIN’s national security chief has launched an unprecedented review of overseas aid to stop so much taxpayers’ cash being wasted.

Under the move a new ‘pro-democracy’ Empowerment Fund set up by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been FROZEN until the autumn.

Mark Sewell is freezing BoJo’s new aid plan
Richard Pohle – The Times

The Sun can reveal that Mark Sedwill, Theresa May’s new National Security Adviser, told Cabinet Ministers of his decision earlier this month.

He launched a “capability review” of the Government’s cross-department Conflict, Stability and Security Fund – which spends over £1 billion a year on ‘fragile states’ such as Afghanistan.

And he also demanded line-by-line checks of Foreign Office aid spending through the Prosperity Fund and the new Empowerment Fund.

While the checks won’t be able to change the Britain’s overall £13 billion a year aid budget – the Security Chief wants to stamp out mistakes and ensure the aid provides “value for money” when it is spent on potential security issues and helping nations in conflict zones.

On Saturday it emerged the government ploughs £1.9 billion a year of overseas aid to countries with dire human rights records such as Zimbabwe and Egypt.

Bojo’s plan is being frozen
Getty Images – Getty
Probe after aid spent on fish

Yesterday political activists in Kenya urged Britain to cancel a democracy development programme in the country – given brutal violence in the run-up to elections on August 8.

Political analyst Professor Barrack Muluka of the University of Nairobi said it represented a “grotesque waste of public money”.

A source told the Sun: “Mark Sedwill wants to check how these funds are operating and see the money is being spent in the right way.

“Development of the Empowerment Fund has essentially been paused.”

Boris Johnson had hoped to siphon off £700 million of aid to funnel cash through the Empowerment Fund into bolstering the security of Baltic states and Ukraine.


Development Secretary Priti Patel has been dogged by headlines of aid waste for the past year.

But a damning report earlier this month said other departments were guilty of “rushing” aid out door without sufficient checks.

In February it emerged the Foreign Office has £580 million-worth of aid programmes for well-off nations including China, India, Turkey and Brazil in the pipeline awaiting sign off.

Priti Patel has been accused of wasting aid
JONATHAN BRADY

Taxpayers’ cash has gone to China – the world’s second largest economy – to help pay for social care and train football coaches.

The Foreign Office has also given £4 million to North Korea.

Two years ago we revealed cash had also gone on “Funding Nemo” – trying to find females for a rare breed of Madagascan tropical fish.

IT DOESN’T HELP

AID GONE WRONG

  • £3,400 to find female mates for “gorgeously ugly” endangered Madagascan tropical fish
  • £4m to North Korea – including English lessons for regime officials
  • £3m to China – world’s second biggest economy – to train up football coaches
  • £9m to Ethiopian ‘Spice Girls’ to inspire positive change in the country
  • £64m to Rwanda – despite ruthless regime run by dictator Paul Kagame

WHERE IT GOES RIGHT

  • £100m for humanitarian aid in south Sudan and Somalia


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