UK confirms freezing of aid to Zambia; we don’t tolerate fraud, corruption – Fergus

British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet has confirmed that his government has suspended all bilateral funding to Zambia owing to rampant corruptions, fraud and embezzlement of donor aid within government ministries.

High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet was commenting on a story published by News Diggers quoting the Africa Confidential report that UK had requested a refund of about US$4 million which was misappropriated by recipient government organisations.

“[It’s] correct that UK has frozen all bilateral funding to the Zambian government in light of potential concerns until audit results are known. #UKAid takes zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption,” High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet tweeted late yesterday.

Last week, Africa Confidential published another dossier, detailing how corruption and theft of donor funds has pushed Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Unicef to freeze aid to Zambia while the British demanded a refund of their embezzled US$4 million aid .

The dossier published on September 14 also gave details about an investigation of fraud that was being carried out involving the ministries of Education, Health, and Defence.

“DFID has also suspended its funding of cash transfers to poor families because US$4.7 million is believed to have been diverted at the Zambian post office, which administers the payments. Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Unicef have frozen funding and DFID has privately asked for £3 mn. (US$4 mn.) to be returned. DFID officials believe ministers were made aware of the fraud, which Zampost officials used to buy expensive vehicles, but refused to terminate Zampost’s contract,” read the report in part.

In June, the Zambian government remonstrated High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet for expressing diplomatic views on his Tweeter feed, but he insisted that the country had a serious corripuotion.

“The British taxpayer is investing money in development in Zambia, it would be a very serious matter if some of that money was misappropriated. And investors, they need confidence to invest in Zambia and there is a corruption problem in this country and it is quite serious,” said High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet then.

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