The Mail on Sunday has today published a story which asks the question in its headline: Did the family of UK aid’s poster boy steal taxpayers’ cash meant for earthquake victims?
It refers to Shahbaz Sharif the leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party who is accused of embezzling public funds. He denies any wrongdoing.
The paper suggests Sharif stole British taxpayers’ money given to Pakistan’s Earthquake Relief and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA), which was set up to help the victims of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
Our response to the question asked in the headline was robust and clear. It was carried close to the bottom of the 2,500 word story.
Here it is in full:
A Department for International Development spokesperson said:
“The UK’s financial support to ERRA over this period was for payment by results – which means we only gave money once the agreed work, which was primarily focused on building schools, was completed, and the work audited and verified.
“The UK taxpayer got exactly what it paid for and helped the vulnerable victims of a devastating earthquake. We are confident our robust systems protected UK taxpayers from fraud.”
The Mail on Sunday provides little substantial evidence to support its headline.
It says investigators in Pakistan “are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects” without providing any substantial evidence this was the case with the earthquake fund.
The piece goes on to quote Shahzad Akbar, Imran Khan's Asset Recovery Unit chief, saying it “appears” some money “may” have been stolen from aid and development projects, again without offering any substantial evidence this was the case with ERRA.
DFID also gave The Mail on Sunday some background on its work in Pakistan.
We told the paper how DFID’s work is lifting millions of the poorest people out of poverty whilst improving stability and security in both the UK and Pakistan, which ultimately benefits the UK as well.
Over 10 million children in primary schools – including 4.7 million girls – have benefited from UK education programmes since 2011. Over 5.8 million children in secondary schools, including 2.7 million girls, have also benefited from our work.
In addition, the UK has supported over 8 million people in Pakistan following natural disasters and conflict since 2011.
Comment by Farhan posted on
Is it a blog or official stance of dfid.
Comment by Ameen posted on
Quick response, very good.
Comment by Amjad Satti posted on
If you are confident that taxpayers money has not been stolen and used properly then must sue the newspaper. It is question of taxpayers money and reputation of organization.
Comment by Najeeb Ullah posted on
Investigation must be held. Don't try to hide Sharifs Family money laundering
Comment by Imran Riaz posted on
If DFID is certain that the whole matter is clean, why don't they sue the paper or take legal action against them?
On the other hand, there is a long of history of Sharif family's embezzlement with the public funds and all the trails lead to their London properties.
As a Pakistani, I would love to see how they come out of this mess. However, I seriously doubt the possibility of them being vindicated.
Comment by ABDUL posted on
I personally feel that YES the money must be stolen as per media news an amount of five million UK POUND was given which means in Pak rupee it was sufficient money to establish at least three thousand schools from zero level ...
I do not think three thousand schools were establish ... The correct version can be given by DFID , if they audit that three thousand schools were constructed from zero level then YES British people tax money is utilized safely if few or like few hundred schools were establish means it is stolen .. in Pakistan cost of construction is much lesser in compare to developed countries
Comment by Fawad posted on
Would have been more interested in your response, had it also added your side of ''substantial evidence'' in support of this piece.
Looking fwd to your substantial evidence.
I hope it's not a clarification before your new PM gets sworn in. Who is also mentioned in the same MoS article.
Comment by Azeem posted on
There is a lot f pressure on DFID to spend tax payer money properly. However they have no means to fund out about kuck backs. The schools were made surely...but with what kick backs... DFID would not know possibly.
Comment by Saad posted on
If you guys are correct then Shareef family sue the daily mail.. and I bet you they will never sue them.. looks to me both parties UK and Shareef made some money from it..
Comment by Haider posted on
Agree that MoS is a Tabloid but "seeing" is believing to what a rotten gang is this Sharif Clan.
Convicted & Certified by PAK's Supreme Court with a befitting sobriquet, "Sicilian Mafia."
Your British Minds just cannot comprehend the Sharif's clans fine art form of loot & plunder, a mind boggling avarice of Nawaz & Shabaz's Criminal Enterprise.
Aforesaid, there is an apt saying, "when there's smoke, there's fire."
I would recommend, don't be so dismissive of the MoS byline.
Comment by Arshad mahmood posted on
Whole world knows it that government of pti top to bottom are full of garbage the cancer hospital he built with help of mostly British Pakistani including my self yet when you take someone there for check up before you can get inside you are asked to the pay one fees or another yet when it was built it was for poor people of Pakistan judge for yourself
Comment by Ajmal posted on
Arshad Mahmood.... I hope you are not among our poor people!
The cancer hospital of PM Imran Khan, before he held the seat, always possessed a respectable country wide reputation despite the fact ex-Sharif's govt. didn't appreciate this project generously, on political reasons. Now acussing for fund misuse while in opposition but never dared to call an investigative audit for Imran's cancer hospital during their ruling era. How strange?
Comment by Asim posted on
Arshad Mahmood...not sure where are you getting your facts from. I actually have family and a dear friend who is getting treatment at that hospital and alhamdullilah they are doing wonderful job. The hospital first evaluated if the patient can afford the treatment. Once that was confirmed they were approved and asked if they can pay 20% of the treatment cost which was later reduced to 10% and then literally free. This was all done by actually speaking to the patient’s family. They are very happy with the treatment and how the hospital deals with patients case by case. Patients that can’t afford treatment at all (once verified) are treated 100% free of charge. The ones who can afford it have to pay.
Comment by Ishrat salim posted on
the above para has been taken out of the whole story, hence, let us wait for comments from the daily mail, who published it in the first place. they have even given money trail etc and investigation is still on going.
Comment by Syed Sibit e hassan Sherazi posted on
they are Really corrupt and mafia ,,they make money a lot of from corruption,News by Mail is true ,,they money laundered by different ways ,,Your Govt should investigate,
Comment by M S Latif posted on
I don’t under stand why The British Government doesn’t take some concrete steps against the people who have stolen money of the tax payers of poor countries and why they don’t do anything to return back money to the countries from where this money was looted and transferred to The UK,
Comment by Syed Sibit E hassan sherazi posted on
there are no school are colleges build by fund ,,they take A LOT OF loan from IMF AND wasted on some project and take half of funds in corruption.
Here it is common ,when a corrupt person is accused of corruption he runs from the Pakistan And stay in london,and get political relief from london.
we strongly apeal to notice it .
Comment by Iftikhar Haider posted on
Very good.Aid money should be spent exactly like this.
Comment by Frank posted on
So PMLN or Sharif family should Sue Daily Mail otherwise we will think this story was true and they have stolen the funds as any Print Publisher in UK do not even think about printing such story without a proof.
Comment by Zulfi posted on
Do you have audit reports if all your projects to refute David’s claim?
Comment by Shahabaz Rasheed posted on
Thanks for sporting Pakistan govt UK
Comment by Akram Malik posted on
Even the money was paid after the job was don ,was it dificult to take the money out of that payment ......so funny .
Comment by Farhan Zeb posted on
As a Pakistani and British citizen, I have confidence in British institutions but unfortunately if Shahbaz Sharif is involved in any distribution of Aid money then it need to be thoroughly investigated as he is a proven corrupt and a liar person.
Comment by johnny bairstow posted on
Where are the proofs of work completed?
Comment by Nasir posted on
There is need to think very deeply, UK give protection to foreign thieves in all kind of corruption each and every departments, but here I am very anxious on it. They are giving some in relief of afdectees, but how you try to find out corruption from your given funds, it true you already know SS, NS are biggest thieves of Pakistan and how you @re placing the milk in front of a cat.
Comment by Syed Tahir Jalil posted on
So it means like majority of the people in Punjab and also in Pakistan consider Shahbaz Sharif one of the best person to rule the country with his brother. The family wonders in country development can't be denied. Blane game in Pakistan having no roots is now over the horizon. But there is One who knows the truth!
Comment by A concerned Citizen posted on
To make it clear to the Tax Payers. Why doesn't the UK Government publish a white paper along with the Money Trail and audit reports of all the project carried out with questioned money.
Comment by Syed Mazhar posted on
Thank you for prompt clarification. However taking dailymail into court this time will stop such fake news in future.
Comment by Ali posted on
There must be investigations on both. daily mail or shahbaz Shareef must be penalized depending whoever turned out to be guilty so there is some respect left in UK News reporting ! Let’s see if Shahbaz Shareef goes to sue news paper if he is true ??
Comment by Shamsi Khan posted on
Does the UK Government deny that the Sharifs have several dozen prime properties in the UK? Were the Sharifs ever asked how they managed to buy so many prime properties?