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UN For Straight Aid In Swiss, Pak Bank Accounts

Aug 26th 2010 at 10:15 AM

Geneva: As Washington anxiety extra clearness from Pakistan on how it is spending its flood aid money; a UN agency has launched an extraordinary appeal for relief funds to be sent straight to a Pakistani or Swiss bank account with none of the usual monitoring looks after. The press release issued by the UN’s incomprehensible International Telecommunication Union asks donors to wire money to the National Bank of Pakistan or Switzerland’s UBS AG to assist the flood-affected sufferers and rebuild telephone networks. ITU’s ask for affects only a tiny part of the total aid for Pakistan. But it touches on corruption fears raised in particular by the United States, which has provided the largest portion of the $800 million promised for flood relief. While urging more international donations, Washington’s aid chief warned during a visit to the country that the purse strings may be cut for Pakistan’s long rehabilitation effort in front if the government cannot prove that it is spending money suitably. It will require a demonstration of genuine clearness and accountability and that resources spent in Pakistan get results, Rajiv Shah told the AP. The US State Department rejected to remark on ITU’s aid campaign. ITU spokesperson Sanjay Acharya defended the appeal, which was made at the request of the Pakistan government. We cannot possibly say No, we don’t trust you, Mr Acharya said. For the Pakistani account, he said, it’s their responsibility. We can’t monitor that. The request is sensitive because the global body is very much trying to rally cash assistance for one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history, while guaranteeing that each dollar will be accounted for. In Islamabad, Information Ministry secretary Najibullah Malik promised that all money would be circulated clearly. Money from public aid appeals rarely goes straight to governments. Normal UN appeals are undoubtedly clear, said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN’s aid coordination office OCHA, whose money requests are accompanied by a complete breakdown of planned operations. She wouldn’t speak particularly about ITU, and said that generally for the UN each plan has a cost, and we add up all of these to form the appeal. But the ITU’s request for money is separate from the UN’s $459 million joined appeal for Pakistan, and the agency functions as a mostly independent body within the UN system. Mr. Acharya accepted that particulars were still obscure on the two funds his agency was promoting. The Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund 2010 is under the direct control of the Pakistani government, while money in the ITU account in Switzerland will be paid out with the help of Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology. AP

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