Foreign aid

€3 million in State funding for Goal withheld as investigation into charity's Syrian finances continues

Two members of Goal’s Turkey staff have already been sacked in the aftermath of the scandal.

28238343015_32b3a62bf2_b | An international aid charity | An international aid charity

ALMOST €3 MILLION IN State funding is being withheld by the Department of Foreign Affairs from aid charity Goal until an investigation into the charity’s operations in Turkey and Syria is completed.

The initial scandal involving Goal emerged in late April as it was revealed that foreign aid agency USAid had suspended its funding of the charity after uncovering improprieties in procurement practices in Syria.

That suspension is still in place, although it’s understood that it only affects in the region of €6.2 million of the overall €113 million that the charity receives from USAid.

Two of Goal’s local staff members in Turkey have already lost their jobs in the fallout from the investigation, although chief executive Barry Andrews was keen to point out today that the nature of the problem is primarily confined to that region.

“USAid is investigating up to 25 agencies, but it’s important to remember that these allegations, broadly speaking, refer to collusion between suppliers in the region, with regard to the setting of prices and kickbacks received from staff,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.

There are a range of issues here, some of which are at Goal, which we hope we can get to the bottom of in the next few weeks.

26/2/2011 General Elections Campaigns Results Barry Andrews

Andrews stressed that he was constrained in what he could say given the ongoing nature of the investigation.

He insisted that Goal is active in 19 other countries, and the issues seen in Turkey are confined to that country.

“I mean we have received further funding from USAid in other countries,” he said.

But we are taking this very seriously.

Regarding the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) complaint that Goal didn’t inform it of the issue before the story broke in the Irish media, Andrews said “that is something we should not have done and we have apologised for it”.

He said that Goal is “very anxious” to get the €2.95 million in DFA funding that is currently being withheld released once more.

“We have undertaken to brief the DFA over the next couple of weeks, and to demonstrate that at Goal we are improving our systems and remediating any issues in our processes.” he said.

We have one million beneficiaries of our work in Syria – they are the ones being affected. We want to get back to doing what we normally do.
We have the strongest possible regulation, but you have to understand we operate in areas that don’t have such high standards of regulation.

Andrews added that he believes “our donors understand that you cannot entirely eliminate the possibility of problems like this happening”.

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