A finance manager at the Commonwealth Secretariat was jailed for 20 months today after stealing £375,00 of aid money with bogus expenses claims and fake contracts, the Times UK reported.
A judge questioned why it was so easy for Pradeep Moorthy to steal the money for four years after he became addicted to gambling following a trip to Las Vegas.
Britain gives the Secretariat £15 million of taxpayer funding each year, about a third of its total budget.
The inter-governmental agency based in Central London organises the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which will be held in Sri Lanka in November.
The Commons’ public accounts committee criticised the Department for International Development (DFiD) in February for continuing to fund four international agencies, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, because they provided poor value for taxpayers.
DFiD itself heavily criticised the Secretariat in 2011 for “unsatisfactory” weaknesses in its financial management and said almost every area of operations was “weak” or “unsatisfactory”.
Moorthy, 31, was a programme assistant with responsibility for the budget of the Secretariat’s Social Transformation Programme Division (SPTD) and travel spending. The SPTD is responsible for overseeing aid programmes on improvement in child health, universal primary education and tackling Aids and malaria.