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Camp leader tries to divert food aid to himself, family

VUYO MKIZE

SURVIVOR: Baby Ernesto Fanwell Chauke (3 days old) sleeps at the Chakelani compound for flood victims. Credit: INLSA

Mozambique: Nearly 60 000 hungry people waiting for aid had to watch a truck of food pull out of their camp in Chokwe because of the camp administrator’s failed efforts allegedly to divert the aid packages to himself and his cronies.

The aid was intended for Chokwe’s largest camp of people displaced following severe flooding. But it didn’t happen because of disorganisation and allegations of corruption.

Relief organisation Gift of the Givers (GOTG) flanked by officials from the SANDF drove into Chakelani camp yesterday with a 34-ton truck carrying supplies and food to hand out to leaders at the camp to distribute. A short while later it left – still fully loaded.

This followed the discovery that a fictitious list of needy people had been drawn up. The names of the camp’s administrator and people close to him were put down as those standing to benefit from the aid.

“There is definitely something wrong happening there,” said Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the organisation. “I had asked the administrator to give me a list of the needy people but when we got here, number one, two and three is himself, his deputy and then his family.

“The problem is, in a disaster situation like this, it is the weakest people that suffer. It is the lactating mothers, the elderly, the sick, who don’t have the energy to get up and go get their food parcels themselves. They get left behind, they suffer. My job is to see to it that that doesn’t happen.”

Sooliman and his team abandoned their operation at the camp because of the administrator’s blatant efforts to divert aid packages to himself.

Sooliman vowed not to return until proper lists of the needy were drawn up and submitted.

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