Transparency International Executive Director Robert Barrington has welcomed the suspension of aid to Zambia by some western donors after audit reports showed massive theft of donor funds.
Mr. Barrington has since demanded that all those that were involved in the theft are held accountable.
Mr. Barrington said: “Where suspected corruption is involved, it clearly cannot simply mean business as usual. Cutting off aid altogether is one of the options, but it is at one end of the scale, and the UK must be very confident that it has sufficient evidence to take such action.”
He added, “The next steps are to make sure those who have stolen the money are held to account, and to find a way to start the aid flows again in a way that minimises the risks of corruption.”
Mr. Barrington also called on the UK and its overseas territories not to allow individuals who have stolen from the poor to launder their money in those places.
“The danger is that this can punish the poor twice over: ordinary people should not be made to pay for the crimes of their rulers. The one thing we don’t want to see is that the stolen funds end up being laundered through London or the UK’s overseas territories – the UK should also be taking action to get its own house in order.”
And Transparency International Zambia Chairman Reuben Lifuka told the Guardian: “Unfortunately, this is not the first time that this has happened. The government of Zambia put in place mechanisms to prevent this type of crime but when it failed they were not honest enough to bring it to public attention. I call on the government and anti-corruption commission to urgently investigate the allegations as … [this] has widespread implications for those who need assistance.”