Written Question: Bribery concerning humanitarian aid in Syria
Date submitted: 23 March 2021
Question for written answer E-001572/2021
to the Commission
Dominique Bilde (ID)
Subject: Bribery concerning humanitarian aid in Syria
On 23 December 2020, according to the US Department of Justice, Ernest Halilov, a former employee of the Irish non-governmental organisation (NGO) Goal, pleaded guilty to paying bribes to NGO procurement officials in exchange for sensitive information about NGO contracts funded in part by the US, including in relation to the refugee crisis in Syria(1).
According to a press report, he also admitted to receiving more than USD 395 000 in bribes from aid contracts by Goal and two other NGOs between 2011 and 2016(2).
The European Union mobilised EUR 197 million in humanitarian aid to Syria in 2020(3). The NGO Goal cites the Commission as a partner for its work in Syria(4). Has the Commission ascertained whether European humanitarian aid was involved in the case of fraud referred to above and how exactly does it intend to prevent similar scandals?
(1) https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-ngo-procurement-official-pleads-guilty-bribery; ‘A former non-governmental organisation (NGO) procurement official pleaded guilty today to paying bribes to NGO procurement officers in exchange for sensitive procurement information related to NGO contracts funded in part by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). These contracts were for the procurement of food and supplies that would ultimately be provided to those affected by various humanitarian crises, including refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.’
(2) https://extra.ie/2020/12/27/news/irish-news/former-goal-worker-bribes-aid-contracts; ‘Halilov, 42, a citizen of Turkmenistan, also admitted receiving more than USD 395 000 in kickbacks from aid contracts by Goal and two other NGOs between 2011 and 2016.’