Swedish aid slammed by auditor

Swedish aid slammed by auditor
Sweden's public auditors say they have found evidence of irregularities in a number of Swedish foreign aid projects, in a damning report on the conduct of Swedish aid work.

The projects at the centre of the allegations took place in Africa and are financed by Sida, the Swedish International Development Agency. The Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen) found irregularities in most of the projects they looked at. Neither Sida nor the agency’s own auditors detected the irregularities.

The National Audit Office’s Lennart Grufberg said Sida’s internal checks were insufficient. Measures to prevent irregularities were “almost non-existent,” he said.

The National Audit Office spent the past year investigating 15 Sida projects in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Tanzania. All the projects were managed locally by various non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In three out of four projects there were insufficient records to evaluate what kind of work had been carried out.

Grufberg says that Sida and the government take action to ensure better control of money channelled through NGOs.

Some 1.3 billion kronor of Swedish foreign aid money was channeled through NGOs last year. 370 projects received money to carry out 6,000 projects.