UK’s DFID Rejects Mail on Sunday’s Story, Says Newspaper Provides Little Substantial Evidence To support Its Headline
UK’s Department For International Development (DFID) has rejected the claims made by the Mail on Sunday in a report about money laundering involving Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, saying, “The Mail on Sunday provides little substantial evidence to support its headline.”
Also read: Citing Pakistani Investigators, Mail on Sunday Publishes Report On Alleged Money Laundering by Shehbaz Sharif, His Family
A DFID spokesperson said: “The UK’s financial support to ERRA [Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority] over this period was for payment by results – which means we only gave money once the agreed work, which was primarily focused on building schools, was completed, and the work audited and verified.”
“The UK taxpayer got exactly what it paid for and helped the vulnerable victims of a devastating earthquake. We are confident our robust systems protected UK taxpayers from fraud,” the spokesperson added.
“The Mail on Sunday provides little substantial evidence to support its headline,” the DFID stressed.
The UK international development agency noted, “It [the newspaper] says investigators in Pakistan ‘are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects’ without providing any substantial evidence this was the case with the earthquake fund.”
“The piece goes on to quote Shahzad Akbar, Imran Khan’s Asset Recovery Unit chief, saying it ‘appears’ some money ‘may’ have been stolen from aid and development projects, again without offering any substantial evidence this was the case with ERRA,” the DFID said.
DFID also gave The Mail on Sunday some background on its work in Pakistan.
“We told the paper how DFID’s work is lifting millions of the poorest people out of poverty whilst improving stability and security in both the UK and Pakistan, which ultimately benefits the UK as well.”
It noted that over 10 million children in primary schools – including 4.7 million girls – have benefited from UK education programmes since 2011. “Over 5.8 million children in secondary schools, including 2.7 million girls, have also benefited from our work.”
“In addition, the UK has supported over 8 million people in Pakistan following natural disasters and conflict since 2011.”