Patel’s pitiful bid to defend waste and corruption
Published by The Mail on Sunday (25th June, 2017)
Earlier this month I found myself sitting in an impressive Whitehall office being grilled by officials at the aid watchdog. It was, they said, the first time they had interviewed a journalist since the Independent Commission for Aid Impact was set up six years ago.
Their questioning followed my revelations into dirty tricks, duplicity and fat-cat private contractors creaming off cash in the poverty industry. The body has now announced three inquiries into spending by the Department for International Development.
They follow our reports into how the surging tide of aid cash was leading to corruption, waste and highly questionable schemes in order to hit an absurd international target, ignored by most nations.
So I was staggered to see an interview last week by Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, trying to defend the work of her department (which, incidentally, she argued should be scrapped before landing the post).
It was not a surprise to see her spouting the standard nonsense about British aid saving lives around the planet, but it was astounding to see her claiming ‘newspapers could twist up a story every day about UK aid, but to date there hasn’t been one that’s been 100 per cent accurate’.
This was offensive nonsense. Ms Patel would do better to get a grip on a department guilty of obscene waste, of insane spending, of appalling procurement, of crushing whistleblowers, of funding terror and repression, and of damaging developing countries with its arrogant, bungling, neo-colonial interventions.
Instead, she hits out at journalists who dare to expose how taxpayers’ money is going astray.
How pitiful of Ms Patel, a minor-league minister who proves how fast politicians can shift their views when given the bait of a cushy job.