Char­ity worker led US agents to sus­pect ‘cor­rupt scheme’

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Michael O’Far­rell

ERNST Halilov was in­de­pen­dently wealthy – that much was known in Goal.

As a lo­gis­tics ex­pert in some of the world’s most-trou­bled disas­ter zones he also had a rep­u­ta­tion for get­ting things done.

Few though knew how he made his money, and cer­tainly to the wider world, Halilov was every inch the dash­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid worker.

That per­cep­tion, though, is shat­tered by the BDO In­ves­ti­ga­tion Re­port into his ac­tiv­i­ties at Goal.

Firstly, he was in­ves­ti­gated by Goal’s then head of Risk, Au­dit and Com­pli­ance, Jerry Cole, in late 2012 and early 2013 when al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion sur­faced in Goal’s South Su­dan pro­gramme.

Mr Cole’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Halilov found ‘ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties’ that ‘are com­mon risk in­di­ca­tors of col­lu­sion with sup­pli­ers to com­mit pro­cure­ment fraud.’

Not­with­stand­ing these con­cerns Halilov was still al­lowed – by those who in­ves­ti­gated him – to be­come a cru­cial linch­pin to Goal’s Syria pro­gramme.

And that was just where fur­ther con­cerns about cor­rup­tion would once again emerge.

Those con­cerns were first iden­ti­fied by spe­cial agents act­ing for the US for­eign aid De­part­ment Of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral (OIG).

The agents in­ter­viewed a Goal em­ployee in Syria in April of last year. When ques­tioned, the em­ployee ad­mit­ted to the agents that they were as­sist­ing Mr Halilov in what the agents be­lieve was ‘a cor­rupt scheme by pro­vid­ing him with con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion and at­tempt­ing to ma­nip­u­late Goal’s pro­cure­ment pro­cesses to favour cer­tain sup­plier com­pa­nies’.

This ruse saw them in­flu­ence three con­tracts for emer­gency flour ra­tions and food kits, all of which went to firms spec­i­fied by Halilov, the BDO re­port states.

The Goal em­ployee ‘ad­mit­ted that they ex­pected fi­nan­cial re­ward from Mr Halilov’. And pay­ments to the em­ployee were iden­ti­fied.

The fall­out af­ter MoS re­vealed the scan­dal pres­sure: first with the news: Mail on Sun­day broke story

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