Did you know that nearly three years after Ebola hit Sierra Leone, millions of dollars in funds raised to fight the deadly virus have still not been accounted for?
According to the BBC auditors at the Red Cross Federation have revealed that several million dollars of aid money was lost to fraud and corruption during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
The Ebola outbreak in 2014 mainly affected Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and required a massive humanitarian operation, with around $100m (£76m) in cash donations dispersed to Red Cross societies in those three countries by the Red Cross Federation in Geneva.
According to Red Cross, in Liberia, $2.7m (over £2m) disappeared in fraudulently overpriced supplies, or in salaries for non-existent aid workers.
In Sierra Leone, Red Cross staff apparently colluded with a local bank to skim off over $2m. In Guinea, where investigations are ongoing, around $1m disappeared in fake customs bills.
The Red Cross says it is deeply sorry for the losses, adding that it has introduced stricter financial rules, and has promised to hold any Red Cross staff involved to account.
Fraud involving donor money is every aid agency’s nightmare.
The Red Cross is probably the world’s best known humanitarian organisation, and this revelation will be damaging.