£1m of taxpayers’ despite the country holding a British dad on Death Row
Ministers handed out more than £1m of taxpayers’ cash to train up Ethiopian security officials – despite the country holding a British dad on Death Row
It was revealed 90 per cent of senior intelligence officials in the African country have completed degrees paid for on the foreign aid budget
BY LYNN DAVIDSON
19th February 2017
(The Sun) -MINISTERS have handed out more than £1m of taxpayers’ cash to train up Ethiopian security officials – despite the country holding a British dad on Death Row.
Charity bosses demanded an urgent review tonight – as it was revealed 90 per cent of senior intelligence officials in the African country have completed degrees paid for on the foreign aid budget.
The Department for International Development put a stop to payments for the programmes back in 2015 due to fears over “risk” and value for money.
But Foreign Office officials continued the payments months later under the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund – branded a secretive “slush fund” by MPs and peers.
The charity Reprieve described the scandal as “shameful”.
More than 54 MPs have written to the Foreign Office to push them to do more to fight dad of three Andy Tsege’s case.
The pro-democracy activist, who was granted asylum in the UK after feeling Ethiopia in 1979, was kidnapped in 2014 while travelling through an airport.
After being convicted and sentenced to death in absentia, he was held in solitary confinement for more a year.
Harriet McCulloch, a deputy director at Reprieve said there must be more scrutiny of where Britain’s aid foreign cash is going as she called on ministers to do more for Andy.
She said: “It’s shameful that the UK is funding Ethiopia’s security sector, when Ethiopian forces are holding a British dad illegally on death row.
“MPs are right to express serious concern over the government’s approach. Boris Johnson must explain why his department is training Ethiopian security officials, but refusing to negotiate Andy Tsege’s return home Britain.”
Earlier this month Labour MP Dame Margaret Beckett said it was “impossible” to evaluate the work the £1bn CSSF fund was carrying out.
The powerful Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy described its operations as “opaque” and lacking in direction and oversight because there was no minister responsible for it.
The fund handed out cash to 97 programmes in more than 40 countries including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Bahrain.
But the committee said there were no details of how the fund works, how programmes for funding are chosen and who is responsible for them.It said without further information “we cannot provide parliamentary accountability for taxpayers’ money spent via the CSSF”.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said yesterday: “Ethiopia is one of the world’s largest peacekeeping troop contributors, heavily engaged in the fight against Al Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia which is vital to build stability in the region and to UK interests.
“Training programmes supporting peace efforts in Africa are not related to Mr Tsege’s case or any others.”