Friday, April 21, 2006

Tsunami Aid Investigation

Massive Fraud Hits Tsunami Aid
The Times (London)
April 16, 2006

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami sparked an outpouring of charitable giving to reestablish services in south and southeast Asia. Now, those funds are stalled while Oxfam and Save the Children investigate corruption claims. These two international aid organizations, based in the U.K., believe contractors hired to build new housing structures in Indonesia have misused funds and completed shoddy structures.

A preliminary investigation by an anticorruption organization reveals that 30-40% of aid funds may have been tainted. Other financial and governmental institutions, including the World Bank, have joined in condemning the small number of entrepreneurs who control these construction firms.

While the investigation continues, many of the projects commenced by these contractors will have to be destroyed and rebuilt properly. Prior to these fraud claims, the total cost of recovery was estimated at $5 billion USD.


Helen said...

This is terrible.

But then again, I think given how the world out there is like, we are not supposed to be surprised.

Kris said...

Helen, you sound so cynical.

What has law school done to you?!


Helen said...

I talked to a friend of mine who's Indonesian, and she said, oh wow the news came out just now?


The world we live in is a pretty bleak dark place if you ask me--and law school education ain't helping now.

Actually back when the aid effort was ongoing, my friend's complained to me that she got calls from these rich people saying that they will only give if their name can be reported on the TV show that she was working on. She was disheartened, but I told her, money is money, the dollar sign doesn't come with much values--if it helps, we should just suck it up and take it as it comes!

KLH said...

This particular article only appeared because two British chartiable organizations revealed that they were having problems.

Goes to show how little news actually reaches us.

Yet, I know tons about recent Hollywood births and the hip styles for summer...

Helen said...

This whole corruption issue plagues all aid-giving efforts that I have seen in China, and for it to happen in Indonesia really doesn't surprise me at all. I think KLH is right in that there is a function that the NGOs are serving in this scenario. Many aid programs now incorporate watch-dog groups as checks on potential government misconduct. It seems like civil society will indeed be a driving force behind clean governance, and I hope that soon enough I can dispouse my rather "realistic" (I wouldn't call myself cynical) view of the world. :)

As to press conduct, well, sometimes even serious news can be entertainment ;)