- Published on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 02:26
- Written by FINNIGAN WA SIMBEYE
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Britain ’s Department for International Development (DFID) is eagerly awaiting an audit report on allegations of financial irregularities in the World Wildlife Fund for Nature Tanzania office before deciding the future relation with the local office.
DFID Media and Communications Advisor Eunice Urio said in a statement in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that the Britons have zero tolerance on corruption and in case of any hint of embezzlement, appropriate measures will be taken to safeguard UK taxpayers’ money and recover any lost cent.
The Britons, through WWF UK, are the main sponsors of WWF Tanzania whose patron is Crown Prince Charles. Ernst & Young, an auditing firm, is investigating allegations of money misappropriation by the wildlife fund. Ms Urio said DFID does not provide direct support to WWF Tanzania but has a partnership program with WWF UK to provide flexible and strategic funding for development work across the world, adding that the department is in close contact with the Royal Norwegian Embassy on the issue.
Norwegian Embassy suspended funds allocated to two projects including a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) Readiness Project being carried out at Rufiji delta in Coast region last January following reports of financial irregularities.
Norwegian Embassy Advisor Simon Milledge told Daily News recently that reports of mismanagement of funds were first reported by WWF last December and involved two projects including one for strengthening capacity of environmental civil society organizations worth over 25 million Norwegian Kroners (about. 7bn/-) signed in April 2008.
The second project was signed by WWF Tanzania in December 2010 worth NOK 13.9 million (about4bn/-) to support implementation of REDD project named, ‘Enhancing Tanzanian capacity to deliver short and long term data on forest carbon stocks across the country.’
In the case of the first project, over NOK 19.8 million (over 5bn/-) has been spent while only NOK 2.77 million (over 760m/-) has been disbursed in the second project. WWF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Programme Office (ESARPO) Director of Communications and Branding, Kimunya Mugo said the conservation group estimates that only 85,000 US dollars (approx. 135.4m/-) has been misappropriated.