An emergency audit was opened last night into revelations that ‘poverty barons’ are making millions in consultancy fees from the foreign aid budget.
Nearly £500million was paid out last year to firms that work on Third World programmes. Some give their directors seven-figure salaries.
The probe was launched by Justine Greening, who was appointed International Development Secretary against her will in David Cameron’s Cabinet reshuffle this month.
Miss Greening, who is an accountant by training, has demanded a rapid explanation of apparently extravagant spending and is said to be going through the Department for International Development’s budget ‘line by line’.
‘Justine will be sure to bring an accountant’s eye to DfID and will be looking extremely closely at every single area of spend to ensure value for money for the British taxpayer,’ said one source.
‘She has ordered a full report on all the issues that have been raised on her desk by the end of the month.’
One of the firms to profit from the ring-fenced aid budget is Adam Smith International.
The London-based consultancy, which promotes the free market in poor countries, has received contracts worth tens of millions of pounds in a single year.
Its work includes building schools in Pakistan, developing the free market in Nepal and reforming the tax system in Afghanistan.
Peter Young, a director of both ASI and its parent company Amphion Group, made more than £1million in 2010. He receives a salary of £250,000 and paid himself a dividend of £800,000 two years ago.
Defending his payout to the Mail, he said it was a one-off dividend accumulated over many years, adding: ‘I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to take pot-shots at success.’
Mr Young, who lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said: ‘For a very modest outlay the tax revenue of the Afghanistan government has gone up to £2billion
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204239/The-fat-cats-foreign-aid-Ministers-target-consultants-paid-500m-taxpayer.html#ixzz27PArJJ00