Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Offshore-diving poverty quango jetsetting fatcats face overhaul

The horrible headline is similar to (a somewhat better) one used in Britain's Daily Mail to describe latest British government moves to rein in the secrecy-jurisdiction-diving Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), which we just blogged.

Following years of investigations by Private Eye, the Daily Mail has now dug up some important new expenses horrors for this wholly-owned part of the UK Department for International Development. The Mail story is worth reading. Here is just one snippet:
Aid charity War on Want said the lavish expenses were ‘a travesty’ of the organisation’s original aims. Christian Aid described the revelations as ‘shocking’ and said it also had concerns about the priorities of CDC, which has been accused of favouring easy investments in fast-growing countries, rather than difficult projects in the poorest nations.

CDC is also facing questions about the amount of tax paid by the companies it funds, with reports suggesting that almost half of its subsidiaries are based in tax havens.

A Christian Aid spokesman said: ‘We are shocked by the Mail’s revelations. ‘We are also very concerned about the secrecy surrounding the company’s activities in the countries it is supposed to benefit. We don’t even know whether CDC, and the companies it funds, are paying the taxes they should be in developing countries.

‘Tax is vitally important because – as in the UK – it pays for schools, hospitals, justice and so on.’
Quite so. Read more on aid, tax and development here.


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