Pak shock over "Anti-Fraud Hotline" project to monitor entire Kerry-Lugar aid

Islamabad, Sep 23 (ANI): The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Transparency International, Pakistan (TIP), have signed an agreement to prevent corruption in utilisation of the 7.5 billion dollars aid being doled out to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill.

The "Anti-Fraud Hotline" project, signed between USAID and TIP, would come as a major shock for the PPP-led Pakistan government, as the entire aid has been put under a strict monitoring regime to be supervised by TIP, the watchdog organization which has already pointed out many corruption scandals in the country, The News reported.

"The objective of the project is to ensure transparency and prevention of corruption in the utilization of $7.5 billion grant to be provided to Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar Bill," TIP said in a press release.

According to the agreement, TIP's role would be to register complaints, monitoring under Public Procurement Rules 2004, while the Office of Inspector General USAID (OIG) would be conducting the investigations and take further action, the official announcement said.

"This will be achieved by ensuring that all procurements of the USAID funds are made under the Pakistan Public Procurement Rules 2004 by all government and non-government organizations (NGOs)," the announcement said.

TIP will establish an Anti-Fraud Hotline, so that corruption related complaints regarding the USAID funded projects can be registered through the internet, fax, telephone or by post.

"Citizens and civil society organizations will be provided with awareness through print and electronic media, so as to enable them to report corruption that they may witness in USAID funded projects," said the announcement.

As a follow-up event, TIP is organizing a high profile seminar in Islamabad in which international TI speakers, US officials and Pakistan Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh will address the issue of need of transparency in utilization of aid to Pakistan in general and for flood relief in particular. (ANI)

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