Millions in British tsunami aid unaccounted for: report

LONDON, Nov 23, 2006 (AFP) – More than nine million pounds (13 million euros, 17 million dollars) of British government aid for victims of the Asian tsunami may not yet have been spent, a parliamentary committee said Thursday.

The British government committed 75 million pounds in humanitarian assistance following the December 26, 2004 disaster, including 52.6 million pounds to third parties such as United Nations agencies, charities and other NGOs.

By May 2006, the Department for International Development could account for spending of 43.3 million pounds by third parties, but 9.3 million pounds was not fully accounted for, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

That 9.3 million pounds included 4.6 million pounds given to UN agencies, 800,000 pounds to NGOs and 3.9 million pounds to DFID’s Indonesia Aid Programme.

The PAC report said that it would remain unclear whether this money had in fact been spent or not until the third parties provided full accounts.

It praised DFID’s “swift and impressive” initial response to the disaster and the “exceptionally generous” British public, who donated 300 million pounds.

But chairman Edward Leigh said: “It is clear now, however, that the departmen