Investigations into USAID attempts to contract humanitarian aid shipments into Syria found the program rife with bribery and fraud, with USAID Inspector General Ann Barr saying some partners took advantage of the “less than full and open competition.”
The US program was billions of dollars, but in many cases their local partners took bribes to decide who was going to win the biggest contracts, and didn’t inspect deliveries. In one case, Barr notes a USAID “partner” who accepted food packages purely on weight, and not contents.
This meant in at least one case that a shipment of food ration kits that were supposed to be lentils was just full of salt, and in other cases more expensive foods or goods were substituted for cheaper alternatives, and then billed at the higher price.
Though Barr didn’t get too deeply into this aspect, she also revealed that about one-fifth of all complaints about the Syria programs related to shipments being diverted into the hands of various militant groups. USAID suspended six programs already related to this. Barr denied any aid was diverted to ISIS, but admitted a growing amount was ending up in the hands of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front