Analysis: From taxpayers to slayers?
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Analysis

Analysis: From taxpayers to slayers?

Jonathan Turner of UK Lawyers for Israel reflects on the shocking claims that tax-payers money possibly going to terrorists

Jonathan Turner

Jonathan Turner is Chief Executive of UK Lawyers for Israel

Scene after a terrorist attack in which three people were stabbed. The attack began on a bus and continued into the street in Rishon Lezion.
(Photo by Eliran Avital/MDA Spokesman/Israel Sun 2-11-15)
Scene after a terrorist attack in which three people were stabbed. The attack began on a bus and continued into the street in Rishon Lezion. (Photo by Eliran Avital/MDA Spokesman/Israel Sun 2-11-15)

The documents ordered to be disclosed are likely to provide further confirmation that UK aid money was used to fund the salaries of convicted Palestinian terrorists.

Ministers repeatedly insisted that “we know where our money goes” and that it is not used for payment of terrorists’ salaries.

However, it seems that for several years the money sent by DfID was paid into the same Palestinian Authority account from which the funds used to pay the terrorists’ salaries were drawn. The audits should tell us more about what did and didn’t happen.

Already we have learned from the Information Commissioner’s decision that DfID does not hold audit reports of any accounts into which the funds donated by Britain were disbursed between 2010 and 2015. This calls into question the assurances given by ministers that the audits showed that the money did not go to terrorists.

The decision also tells us that DFID doesn’t have the terms of reference for the audits carried out by PwC of the World Bank fund through which the British money was transferred. So how could they properly rely on these audits?

Jonathan Truner

PwC has already said that the narrow scope of its work did not require it to consider whether the funds were used to pay terrorists. Ministers and officials should not hand out hundreds of millions of pounds with no idea how it is audited.

The decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office is the culmination of almost four years’ work by UK Lawyers for Israel, in trying to obtain these documents. We started in November 2015 by asking the World Bank, then its auditors PwC, and finally the Government by suggesting questions made by MPs and Lords and then by a Freedom of Information Request.

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