Spain: Polisario officials sued for diversions scandal

pa-detournementThe scandal of international humanitarian aid embezzlement by Polisario leaders continues to make waves, especially in Spain where complaints are being lodged against officials of the Algeria-backed Sahrawi separatist movement.

The latest reaction came from the Spanish civil servants’ union “Manos Limpias” or “Clean Hands.”

The union lodged a complaint at a Spanish court on Thursday for the embezzlement of € 20 million by leaders of the Polisario and a Spanish association that supports the separatist movement.

All the people mentioned in the complaint are involved in the massive misappropriation of the humanitarian aid initially destined to the Sahrawi population living in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps in Algeria.

Manos Limpias based its complaint on the report published earlier this year by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

OLAF had actually conducted investigations on the ground that revealed shocking findings about the large-scale diversion of humanitarian aid. The diverted aid granted by various NGOs just between 2003 and 2007 amounted to some € 20 million worth of products and equipment.

The diversions start at the arrival of the aid-loaded cargos in the Algerian port of Oran, the OLAF investigations revealed, with supporting figures. There, Algerian and Polisario officials sort out the goods. The low-quality products are sent to the Tindouf camps and the high quality goods are diverted and sold in Algeria, Mauritania and Mali.

The massive diversions perpetrated over years were possible because of “the overestimation” of the camp population.

Algerian officials put the figure at 155,000 Sahrawis living in the Tindouf camps, but “neither Algeria nor the Polisario Front ever agreed to the holding of a census of the camps populations,” insists OLAF which assesses the number at 91,000 on the basis of “satellite pictures and scientific evaluation.”


No comments.

Leave a Reply