The European Union Delegation to Uganda has identified through its UN implementing partners UNHCR and WFP allegations of malfeasance and corruption in managing refugee assistance programmes in Uganda. EU funding has been provided to the two UN agencies responsible for these programmes and the allegations were brought immediately and directly to the attention of the Government of Uganda.
We take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to any allegations of misconduct occurring in European Union funded projects and even more so when this has potential negative effects on an already very vulnerable population such as refugees and host communities.
Our UN partners, the UNHCR and the World Food Programme, have duly informed us and we have been coordinating closely with them, with other donors and with the Office of the Prime Minister to get a clear understanding of these troubling allegations as well as to discuss the immediate appropriate actions and the way forward.
In meetings with the Government and partners the EU Delegation has called for urgent and thorough investigations as well as for changes to the registration system for refugees. We take note of the Prime Minister’s commitment on zero tolerance to malfeasance and of the firm lead he has taken to address all allegations resolutely and immediately. The Prime Minister communicated his decisions and vision already last week at the Press conference with UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi and we understand that some actions have been taken.
With the Government of Uganda successfully developing a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), it is indeed of outmost importance to address swiftly and thoroughly any allegations of malfeasance in order not to impair this important process and the public support from the European taxpayers.
The European Union Delegation is monitoring the development of the investigations and will continue to coordinate closely with Government and with partners towards a swift and thorough review of refugee operations in Uganda to ensure that critical services to refugees can be provided efficiently and transparently.
Finally, as soon we were informed about allegations of corruption and fraud affecting EU supported humanitarian actions, we formally submitted the case to the EU's anti-fraud office (OLAF), for investigation.