8 November 2017
The Red Cross estimates that fraud by its officials during the Ebola outbreak cost it an estimated $6M.
It has produced the $6M figure after discovering various cases of fraud in efforts to tackle the disease’s outbreak in West Africa during 2014-16. The humanitarian organisation, whose headquarters is in Geneva, said in a statement that it was "outraged", and would "ensure any staff involved are held to account."
The Red Cross has said that the operations set up to contain the outbreak were among the most complex in recent humanitarian history, with several groups moving quickly to deploy staff, mobilise volunteers and spend tens of millions of dollars on medical equipment and other supplies.
It has said it had found evidence of wrongdoing that included "likely collusion" between former employees and a bank, overbilling and fake invoices, customs irregularities and inflated prices for relief items.
It is a sad state of affairs when charitable and humanitarian organisations fall victim to fraud. But while the Red Cross’ problems are on a large scale, they are far from being unique.
Such organisations are often extremely busy, run largely on goodwill and / or understaffed. This creates an environment where those looking to commit fraud can do so knowing it is unlikely to go undetected.
We have warned about this on a number of occasions.
Read our article: CHARITABLE TRUST