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Refugee Scam: Donors Threaten to Withhold Funding :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Refugee Scam: Donors Threaten to Withhold Funding

Teresa Ongalo, the Senior Regional Spokesperson UNHCR, says donors have indicated their decision to withhold funding until they are able to verify the number of refugees.
Refugees arrive from DRC after crossing Lake Albert

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Uganda risks losing donor funding for refugees unless their number is verified, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR has warned.

 

According to UNHCR, several donors have threatened to withhold funding following the reported theft of money meant for refugees operations in Uganda in the office of the Prime Minister. 

OPM officials are accused of conniving with Aid workers to inflate the number of refugees to attract more aid, which they share.South Sudan refugees reportedly complainted to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees about the theft, Filippo Grandi during his recent visit to Uganda.

Now, UNHCR says they stand a risk of losing funding unless the number of refugees is verified. Teresa Ongalo, the Senior Regional Spokesperson UNHCR, says donors have indicated their decision to withhold funding until they are able to verify the number of refugees.

 

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Without divulging details, Ongalo said UNHCR through its internal accountability system and office of Inspector General are handling some investigations. She declined to confirm whether the case is related to Uganda or not, saying she isn't at liberty to talk about the matter.

 

 

However, according to information on the UNHCR social media page, UNHCR is investigating “allegations received at the end of 2017, including fuel embezzlement, allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, irregular tendering of water trucking, and fraud in food distribution."

 

Ongalo also dismissed claims that the UNHCR Country Representative has been sacked, saying he is serving refugees tirelessly.

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She said a new registration mechanism that will start in March 1st this year will solve the problem of exaggerated numbers. She says this will be through a globally acclaimed biometric system. 

Earlier reports indicated that donors had withdrawn funding for refugees. URN confirmed with a source that some donors who channel aid through humanitarian organizations had withdrawn funding for two days but this was reinstated after it was found out that the scam didn't affect them directly.

Uganda hosts an estimated 1.3 million refugee's majority being from South Sudan. The country has been under conflict since 2013 when the conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar.  

Uganda is also refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Khartoum, Somalia and Eritrea, among others. 

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