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July 15, 2019

Little substantial evidence in Daily Mail story: DFID

A
Agencies
July 15, 2019

LONDON: The Department for International Development (DFID) on Sunday discredited a report published by the Mail on Sunday in which it was alleged the Sharif family had laundered quake victims’ aid money and had embezzled tens of millions of pounds of public money to Britain.

In its statement, DFID said, “The UK’s financial support to ERRA over this period was for payment by results – which means we only gave money once the agreed work, which was primarily focused on building schools, was completed, and the work audited and verified.”

“The UK taxpayer got exactly what it paid for and helped the vulnerable victims of a devastating earthquake. We are confident our robust systems protected UK taxpayers from fraud,” it added.

DFID further said the Mail on Sunday provided little substantial evidence.

“The report says investigators in Pakistan ‘are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects’ without providing any substantial evidence this was the case with the earthquake fund,” DFID added.

It added, that the piece goes on to quote Shahzad Akbar, Prime Minister Imran Khan's Asset Recovery Unit chief, saying it “appears” some money “may” have been stolen from aid and development projects, again without offering any substantial evidence this was the case with ERRA.

The DFID added it has given The Mail on Sunday some background on its work in Pakistan.

“We told the paper how DFID’s work is lifting millions of the poorest people out of poverty whilst improving stability and security in both the UK and Pakistan, which ultimately benefits the UK as well. Over 10 million children in primary schools – including 4.7 million girls – have benefited from UK education programmes since 2011. Over 5.8 million children in secondary schools, including 2.7 million girls, have also benefited from our work,” it said, adding the UK has supported over 8 million people in Pakistan following natural disasters and conflict since 2011.