European Parliament Reacts to the Tindouf Camps Humanitarian Aid Scandal
07/19/2020

Finally, the Budgetary Control and Development Committees of the European Parliament are both actively involved in investigating the case

Online PR News – 19-July-2020 – Berlin – Berlin, Germany., July 18, 2020 -- Finally, the Budgetary Control and Development Committees of the European Parliament are both actively involved in investigating the case of the Embezzlement of Humanitarian Aid destined to the refugees in the Tindouf camps in Southern Algeria.

A source within the European Parliament, speaking on strict condition of anonymity, confirmed that last week "the Budgetary Control Committee is aware of the article published by EUtoday of June 30th". French MEP Nicolas Bay, Vice-President of the Parliament’s Identity and Democracy group issued a damning statement in which he referred to the 2003-07 investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud office -OLAF-. In January 2015, a report was finally published revealing a system of massive embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario Front with the complicity of Algeria. This damning report indicated that the actual number of refugees in the Tindouf camps was completely unknown. The Algerian authorities prohibit the EU from sending a mission to assess the situation. The OLAF report mentioned even names of all the people involved in the embezzlement of humanitarian aid from both polisario and Algerian side. This report clearly shows that the amount of humanitarian aid is given to the inflated number of refugees and therefore needs reconsideration.

The Director of the Brussels office of the Taxpayer's Association of Europe, a federation of 29 national taxpayers’ associations throughout Europe, said that his association has been aware of the issue of the embezzlement for some time. M. Walter Grupp, said that he "and the taxpayers association agree with number 235 of the report [OLAF] because nothing has been concretized since 2015. He added that they “ urge the Commission to ensure that the Algerian or Sahrawi individuals incriminated by the OLAF report no longer have access to aid funded by Union taxpayers; calls on the Commission to re-evaluate and adapt Union aid to the actual needs of the population concerned and to ensure that the interests and needs of the refugees will not be harmed because they are the most vulnerable to any possible irregularity. The census of the refugees is a condition sine qua non." He also commented that the Budgetary Control Committee must take note of evidence proving continued diversion of humanitarian aid intended for the Tindouf camps, and that the European Commission should clarify what measures, if any, were taken in response to the findings of the 2007 OLAF report.

EUtoday Interviewed MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk on this matter. The Bulgarian MEP recently raised the issue of the aid embezzlement with the European Commission. He said in the interview that "Of course, The European Parliament closely follows the situation on the ground and takes action when necessary. The EU taxpayers' money must be spent properly and we should not close our eyes when there is such a misuse of funds." MEP Dominique Bilde confronted EU Commissioner Janez Lenar?i" who is in charge of humanitarian aid. Calling for a prompt investigation saying that "Part of the humanitarian aid would be sold to help purchase military equipment… tanks and missiles, and the number of refugees would be greatly overstated in order to get more subsidies. This suspicious system has been documented since the OLAF investigation… When will the European Commission have the courage to put an end to this scandal and finally make the Algerian state face up to its responsibilities?". Commissioner Lenar?i? confirmed "there are often doubts about the real figures in the areas where we cannot access”.

Will there be a census of the Tindouf refugee camps? Will the people behind the humanitarian aid theft face criminal charges for diverting the Aid causing malnutrition in the camps among children and old people? Will the E.U. hold Algeria and polisario accountable for using the refugees’ miseries to enrich few thugs? When will the OLAF report be considered a fact and a proof that humanitarian aid is being diverted and the malnutrition in the camps is caused by the greed of the polisario leadership and their protectors in Algiers?

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