Ebola: corruption and aid

Ebola: corruption and aid

Systemic corruption in the health sector in West Africa hurt the response to the Ebola epidemic that has already killed more than 9,500 men, women and children. Poor risk monitoring in managing the aid funds has also led to claims of corruption and mismanagement. This must stop.

Transparency International has called on the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and the United Nations to conduct and publish a comprehensive audit of all Ebola emergency funds. In conjunction with this, governments and aid providers must ensure that health sector services are strengthened and the appropriate corruption risk assessments are implemented and monitored.

The aid audit must include the money donated by citizens of the affected countries, many of whom are desperately poor and gave what little they could in the hopes of helping in this crisis.

So far there has only been one audit in Sierra Leone which has raised more questions than answers and none in Liberia or Guinea, the three most affected countries.

Anyone found to have stolen these funds, inflated prices of goods at a time of emergency to profit from the crisis, or provided sub-standard equipment which led to people’s illness and death must be prosecuted and punished.

Strengthening health delivery

The health sectors in the countries affected and the humanitarian aid operations set up to tackle the disease were put at a terrible disadvantage in their efforts combatting Ebola because of corruption.

Research shows that 48 per cent of patients surveyed in Sierra Leone and 40 per cent in Liberia paid bribes to access health services, according to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. This was at a time when there was no national crisis or deadly epidemic.

Weak public financial management systems coupled with high levels of corruption create many opportunities for the abuse of power, bribery and unethical actions that can limit the ability of donations to stop the Ebola outbreak. When so much money floods into the region in such a short period of time, accountability for those funds should shoot to the top of any list of priorities."

 – José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.

In the coming months as the countries start rebuilding their economies, the governments must also focus on identifying and mitigating corruption risks in strengthening the health sectors.

Corruption-free aid

Humanitarian disasters like the Ebola outbreak require quick responses but they also require corruption safeguards to ensure money is well spent. Transparency International has worked extensively in this area to produce guidelines on what needs to be done to maximise the aid that is donated in times of crises.

Transparency International’s Humanitarian Aid Integrity Network, led by Transparency International Kenya, engages with and provides relevant support and training to governments, humanitarian aid providers and affected populations.

Transparency International Kenya is currently testing a complaint mechanism that provides affected populations with a coordinated system to report any grievances, including corruption, in the delivery of aid and basic services.

Implemented together with 40 partners from state institutions, county governments, international and local humanitarian agencies, the mechanism also acts as a referral system to all humanitarian aid providers involved and is accessible via the internet, SMS and in person.

Training men and women at the local level to become social auditors and conduct social accountability assessments enables these communities to monitor aid delivery and report suspected corruption. Download the handbook here.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Delia Ferreira Rubio elected Chair of Transparency International

At Transparency International’s Annual Membership meeting on 15 October, Delia Ferreira Rubio was elected chair and Rueben Lifuka was elected as vice-chair, along with seven new board members.

How to keep desperately needed humanitarian aid out of the hands of the corrupt

Around the globe, tens of millions of people need humanitarian assistance from governments, humanitarian aid agencies, and the UN, but even when lives are at stake and people at their most vulnerable, corruption and other abuses are not uncommon.

How the IMF can have real impact on fighting corruption

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is meeting in Washington DC this week. We want to send a strong message about what the multi-lateral lender can do to have greater impact on fighting corruption.

The impact of the Azerbaijani Laundromat

Since the story of the Azerbaijani Laundromat broke, Transparency International has been following up on the allegations and, along with OCCRP, calling for action to hold to account the politicians, businesses and intermediaries who were named in this complex money-for-influence scandal.

Corrupción en ascenso en América Latina y el Caribe

Conversamos con más de 22.000 personas en 20 países en América Latina y el Caribe sobre corrupción. Tomando en cuenta el tamaño estimado de la población de estos países, eso significa que alrededor de 90 millones de personas pagaron sobornos.

Corruption on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean

Transparency International asked more than 22,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean about corruption in their daily lives. The survey also looks at how institutions are perceived and how corruption has been developing in each country.

Sustainable Development Goals turn two: time to ensure justice for all

September 25, 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Transparency International highlights the need for governments to set meaningful targets for success.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world