- Britain has squandered millions of pounds in aid money to fund a project in Nigeria designed to boost leather exports – but has instead seen corrupt officials shipping rocks overseas.
- An investigation found that taxpayers’ money was being wasted on schemes that the Department for International Development (Dfid) turned a blind eye to if they went wrong and actually in some cases made poverty worse in the country.
- A watchdog also claimed Dfid beefed up its achievements on projects to make them sound more successful than they were.
- And in a blistering attack on the waste of taxpayers’ money, MP Margaret Hodge accused the department of a ‘terrible waste of money’ after paying billions to ‘expensive consultants with massive mark ups’ rather than have their own in-house workers.
- A total of £250million of British money is given to Nigeria every year.
- But a File on Four probe for BBC Radio 4 investigation found that £9million had been spent on a programme designed to strengthen the meat and leather sector in northern Nigeria.
- But a consultant, known as Tom, said this was ‘impossible’ and that rocks were being exported instead of leather.
- He said: ‘Over invoicing is fairly simple but the level of this scam, I gather from talking to people in the industry internationally is that the 2010 figures would have required tens of millions of animals to be slaughtered in that one year -an impossibility.
‘So what you do is ship empty containers full of rocks, get someone in customs to sign off that they are official exports without checking their contents, get some paperwork done in the importing country and then collect up some unbankable cash that needs cleaning so to speak and send it back to Nigeria where the government pays you an extra 30 per cent for your laundry work and issues you with a trade able foreign currency certificate.
- A watchdog also claimed Dfid (headquarters pictured) beefed up its achievements on projects to make them sound more successful than they were.
- Source: Mail Online
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