Letter from the Secretary of DFAT, Peter Varghese AO, to The Australian regarding claims of fraud in the aid program
The claim in your editorial of 25 August that corruption and incompetence in the former AusAID were rife cannot be allowed to stand.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and AusAID before it, has zero tolerance for fraud and corruption in Australia's aid program. The Foreign Minister has been absolutely determined on this issue.
Ean Higgins' related article on 24 August is both wrong and mischievous in claiming that AusAID tried to hush up corruption. Far from hushing things up, AusAID published an annual fraud fact sheet, identifying levels of fraud in the aid program and detailing the actions taken to prevent and manage aid-related fraud. This continues under DFAT.
The Australian aid program operates in countries where corruption is a problem. We cannot guarantee that corruption will never occur. What we can and do guarantee is that we have robust systems for detecting fraud and corruption and to recover lost monies. Our track record here over many years is strong and there for all to see.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade