GAO issues scathing report on risk of fraud in Syrian humanitarian assistance

Posted 8 December 2016 – In July 2016, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a scathing report on the risk of pervasive fraud related to human assistance efforts in Syria.

The US has been the war-torn country’s largest donor over the years, with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department at the forefront.

With these bureaucratic behemoths leading the charge, what could possibly go wrong? For starters, given the complex nature of the ever-shifting battlefield, State and USAID have admitted their own inability to monitor programs inside the country. They do not even know if essential items like food and medical supplies are making it to the right people or going right into the hands of extremist groups.

Furthermore, the GAO cited a lack of fraud detection in financial assistance programs to Syria. “State and USAID may not have visibility into areas of risk needed to effectively oversee programs and provide reasonable assurance that humanitarian assistance funding is being used for its intended purpose—to assist individuals in desperate need inside Syria.”

These oversights should be corrected in the president-elect’s new administration.

Read the full report at the GAO website.