Probe into Kerry-Lugar funds’ embezzlement by NGOs in Pakistan

By Awais Saleem, IANS,

Islamabad : Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to investigate reports of alleged corruption in the funds being disbursed to NGOs for development projects under the Kerry-Lugar bill.

Support TwoCircles

A two-member delegation of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) met NAB chairman Justice (retd.) Deedar Hussain Shah Thursday and “requested him to look into the matter to ensure transparency in the development schemes aimed for the betterment of Pakistan people”.

The US government has already lodged formal complaints with NAB regarding financial embezzlement in local NGOs and the association of some US nationals with them. Justice Shah assured the US officials that “complaints will be thoroughly investigated and accused will be brought to book”.

The Kerry-Lugar-Burman bill, signed by US President Barack Obama in October 2009, envisions providing non-military financial assistance worth $7.5 billion to Pakistan in five years. Much of this aid was to disburse through American NGOs for development projects at mass level in Pakistan.

There have been reports that some local NGOs have used US citizens as front men while some others have pooled with the non-governmental organizations in US to squeeze funding. This is against the spirit of the funding agreement and prompted the US authorities to lodge complaints for a formal probe.