The fight against the Ebola virus, which killed 11,000 people during the 2013-2016 epidemic, received funding from a variety of sources, the International Red Cross being one of them.
On October 20, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) published a press release that went pretty much unnoticed, stating that huge sums of money had been diverted from the project, with the help of some rogue members of staff.
Between 2014 and 2016, fraud cost around 2 billion naira or 6 million USD in West Africa (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia). This was mainly due to inflated bills, a common fraud practice. The humanitarian NGO said it was "outraged" by this discovery and vowed to do its best to find the fraudsters and bring them to justice.
A Structural Issue
The Red Cross added that it had put in place a "triple defense" framework to prevent such malpractice in the future. A plethora of new measures were set up, among them, a cap on spending in certain high-risk regions.
In an interview with RFI, Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, founder of Aid Watch, said that this state of affairs were not surprising and that, on the contrary, it was symptomatic of any international aid structure working in challenging environments:
"As soon as you start working in countries rife with corruption, where fraud is systematic, there is no reason to think it wouldn't happen to NGOs.
You are mainly confronted to overpriced contracts, embezzlement of food relief and black market resale. There are also other schemes, such as the creation of fake NGOs that act as intermediaries and divert parts of the influx of funds.
This is something that you can find elsewhere in Africa. It means that we shouldn't be surprised by what the Red Cross is experiencing. It's a structural issue"
Well, we think this is a load of shit, and sounds like these organizations are trying to divert blame from themselves onto these less developed countries. And we are not here for it.