To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 20 June 2016 (HL413), what is their assessment of (1) the adequacy of independent audits relating to UK direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, and (2) the regular reviews of those audits, following of PwC’s response to a complaint submitted to the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that the narrow scope of its auditing work did not require it to consider the distribution of funds to individuals implicated as terrorists.
UK officials safeguard and continuously monitor the expenditure of UK aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. UK aid is channelled through the EU Palestinian-European Socio-Economic Management Assistance Mechanism (PEGASE). Our money goes into a special, dedicated bank account before being paid to individuals who have been vetted in advance. Independent auditors then check that the money paid out of the UK dedicated bank account only goes to these vetted individuals after every disbursement. We remain confident that these measures enable us to adequately monitor and evaluate our support to the Palestinian Authority.
The UK National Contact Point has published its Initial Assessment of the complaint made by a UK NGO. This concluded that the issues raised in the complaint merit further examination. The Initial Assessment is not an indication of any wrongdoing by the respondent. The UK National Contact Point is now working with both parties to facilitate mediation on the issues raised. In line with its procedures, the NCP will not be expected to publish further information on the case until this stage of the process is complete and a Final Statement has been prepared.