Reports of Corrupt Practices in Cross-Border Aid to Syria

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is conducting a complex investigation into cross-border aid programs providing humanitarian relief in Syria.  These programs are run from both Turkey and Jordan by multiple nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with funds from USAID and other international donors. Recent international press reports have raised issues of irregularities involving some of these programs.

USAID OIG’s investigation has identified corrupt practices involving a number of these programs operating from Turkey.  The investigation to date has identified a network of commercial vendors, NGO employees, and others who have colluded to engage in bid-rigging and multiple bribery and kickback schemes related to contracts to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria.  Some early concerns about these practices surfaced through one USAID implementer, which identified and self-reported procurement irregularities affecting its programs.

Aid organizations providing life-saving assistance in Syria and the surrounding region face an extremely high-risk environment.  Lack of fully competitive procurements, insufficient oversight, and the absence of adequate internal controls for obtaining, storing, and delivering relief supplies can jeopardize the integrity of these relief efforts and deny critical aid to those in need.

To date, OIG’s investigation has established grounds resulting in the suspension of 14 entities and individuals involved with aid programs from Turkey.  As a result of the suspensions, these parties are no longer able to receive U.S. government awards.  A portion of USAID-funded cross-border programs in Syria were suspended as a result of this investigation, and several NGOs delivering aid to Syria have terminated staff members’ employment based on demonstrated misconduct.

USAID OIG will continue to promote integrity and accountability in cross-border aid programs for Syria and routinely coordinates with the oversight and accountability offices of other international donors.

Those with information involving fraud, waste, or abuse in USAID programs in Syria and around the world are urged to contact USAID OIG.  Reports can be made directly and confidentially through OIG’s hotline at 1 (800) 230-6539 FREE or (202) 712-1023 in the United States.  Complaints can also be sent via email to ig.hotline@usaid.gov, or submitted through OIG’s web site at: https://oig.usaid.gov/content/oig-hotline.