EU executive: more aid payments for Somalia ‘temporarily suspended’

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UNITED NATIONS – The European Union’s executive said on Tuesday that disbursements of humanitarian aid in Somalia were “temporarily suspended” after a U.N. probe found widespread theft and misuse of support meant to avert famine.

Quoting senior EU officials, Reuters reported exclusively on Monday that the European Commission had temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia because of the U.N. findings.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the European Commission, Balazs Ujvari, confirmed the temporary suspension.

“The Commission has not asked for the suspension of humanitarian operations in Somalia: as per standard procedures, the ongoing operations have received a pre-financing of 80% and can still be implemented through this initial funding,” he said.

“Nevertheless, in view of the issues communicated by the report concerned, the Commission had to take some precautionary measures to safeguard the EU funds and therefore further disbursements are temporarily suspended until clarifications and reassurance are provided as regards the resolution of the identified issues.”

The U.N. investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces and humanitarian workers were all involved in stealing aid intended for vulnerable people. REUTERS

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