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Statement on fraud in West Africa

Australian Red Cross has confirmed that funds from its Ebola appeal were highly unlikely to have been illegally taken – following the fraud uncovered by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC).

Proactive IFRC investigations found that around $AUD7.8 million of the $AUD162 million spent to fight Ebola worldwide in 2014-2016 may have been misappropriated, diverted or otherwise illegally taken in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Australia’s contribution to IFRC operations at the time was roughly $AUD490,000 but it was used in a way that is unlikely to be part of any fraud that has been identified.

The Ebola operation was one of the highest profile operations in recent Red Cross history. The courage and dedication of thousands of volunteers, backed by the resources, expertise and commitment of international staff, helped bring the outbreak to an end, potentially preventing more than 10,000 additional cases and further international spread as well as providing critical medical care and support to thousands of people infected by the disease.

Red Cross has zero tolerance for fraud. The IFRC and National Societies involved are pursuing every avenue to reclaim funds and any staff involved will be held to account.

IFRC has also put in place a strengthened ‘triple defence’ prevention framework to protect against fraud and corruption in high risk operations – including the use of trained auditors and independent internal investigators.