To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the business case for her Department's Programme 300667 entitled Supporting Economic Empowerment and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the statement by PwC that it was not required to consider whether funds had been transferred to persons implicated in terrorism, whether she plans to alter the terms of engagement for the auditors of this programme.
The UK has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and robust controls against the diversion of aid to ensure that funds are used only for their intended purpose. These include due diligence assessments of our partners, mapping of funds through the delivery chain, regular programme monitoring and annual audits.
DFID’s programme Supporting Economic Empowerment and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (SEED OPTs) has several components, working on trade facilitation and customs, water and energy, and helping the PA and Israel to abide by their obligations under the Paris Protocol. Work with the Palestinian Authority in the water and energy sectors will be channelled through The World Bank Partnership for Infrastructure Development in the West Bank and Gaza Multi Donor Trust Fund. Through this framework, funds will flow from the trust fund to dedicated accounts that will be managed by the PA in accordance with rules established by the World Bank.
Alongside a range of other safeguards, all components will be subject to financial audits. The terms of reference of the audits will vary depending on the component, however all independent financial audits provide assurance to DFID that the expenditure of funds will only be on agreed programme activities. The overall DFID OPTs portfolio is also subject to the regular audit cycle of DFID’s Internal Audit Department and the National Audit Office.