Criminal investigators hired by charities as pressure mounts over fraud
* Humanitarian NGOs hire criminal investigators as funds grow
* Mounting pressure for greater accountability
* Push for NGOs to publish annual fraud data
By Tom Esslemont
LONDON, Sept 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Rising mistrust of international charities and a public push for greater transparency on spending in corruption-prone crisis zones are compelling some non-government organisations (NGOs) to hire a new recruit - the criminal investigator.
In a bid to prevent as well as report fraudulent activity, Plan International, Oxfam GB, Americares and International Medical Corps are among those to have appointed trained counter-fraud directors at their head offices.
Others, such as Medicins Sans Frontieres, Handicap International and Action Against Hunger use auditors and finance officers to handle cases of fraud.
The growing trend to hire criminal investigators comes after the NGO sector has doubled in size in the past decade with a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey finding 50 of the world's biggest humanitarian NGOs spent $18 billion in 2013-14.
This rapid growth has fuelled concerns over a lack of accountability with the annual Edelman Trust Barometer finding NGOs were the most trusted of four institutions but trust slipped in the past year with a perception they had become too money focused. Continuación...