Written Question: Poor management of humanitarian aid in Uganda

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted: 23 March 2021

Question for written answer E-001574/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Dominique Bilde (ID)

Subject: Poor management of humanitarian aid in Uganda

The New Humanitarian reports that an audit by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services found irregularities in UNHCR’s humanitarian aid in Uganda in 2016-2017(1). In 2019 Germany and the United Kingdom froze their aid to UNHCR Uganda(2).

  1. According to the aforesaid article in The New Humanitarian, the European Anti-Fraud Office confirmed in December that it was investigating allegations of fraud and irregularities regarding projects in Uganda(3). An internal Parliament briefing in January 2021 noted that allegations of ‘fraud’ and ‘corruption’ had been raised in February 2018, following which the Ugandan authorities and its international partners had agreed on a joint action plan. Can the Commission confirm whether it was established that funds had been misappropriated, and what were the amounts involved?
  2. According to The Guardian, a government investigation in 2018 found that the number of refugees had been overestimated by 300 000(4). Given that Uganda is the country with the highest number of refugees in the world — 1.4 million —, how will the Commission ensure that its EUR 34.45 million in humanitarian aid (2020 aid figure) is properly managed(5)?

(1) ‘The report found that the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, critically mismanaged donor funds in Uganda in 2016-2017.’, https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/02/28/donors-freeze-uganda-refugee-aid-after-un-mismanagement-scandal
(2) Idem. ‘Germany and the UK’s Department for International Development, or DFID, both confirmed to IRIN that they have frozen funding to UNHCR Uganda.’
(3) Idem. “The European Anti-Fraud Office in December confirmed to IRIN that it was ‘investigating allegations of fraud and irregularities regarding specific projects funded by the European Union to support refugee settlements in Uganda.’ ”
(4) https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/oct/30/inquiry-finds-refugee-numbers-exaggerated-in-uganda
(5) https://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/africa/uganda_en#:~:text=Since%202017%2C%20the%20EU%20supported,million%20refugees%20and%20host%20communities

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