Vietnamese partners found misusing funds in climate change research projects

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Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) report which reveals more than US$547,000 was improperly used by four climate change projects in Vietnam.

According to the ministry, signs of irregularities were uncovered in the four projects funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) last October, and the misused funds made up 23 percent of the total.

On Friday, the Danish Embassy in Hanoi announced it will immediately suspend aid for three climate-change research projects in Vietnam due to reports of fraud.

The PWC report posted on the website of Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs says all the irregularities were committed by Vietnamese partners, although the four projects involved both Danish and Vietnamese partners.

One of the four projects will continue operating as scheduled since the misused sum was small, the embassy said.

In the project to study impacts of Climate Change on land use and livelihoods in the Red River Delta, up to $212,000 were misused, according to the report.

The Vietnamese partner of the project is Vietnam National University-Hanoi's International Center for Advanced Research on Global Change.

Among other things, around $48,000 was paid to two research officers whose job was merely to revise documents, collect and process data, according to the report.


It is Denmark's turn to suspend aid to Vietnam on fraud report

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Some items of expenditure did not have receipts; some were written in the books but did not exist in fact, it says.

In another project "Assessing the Impact Trends of Climate Change on Physical and Environmental Conditions and Socio-Economic Development in Central Vietnam," around $259,000 is suspected to have been misused by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology's Institute of Geography.

Money was paid to a number of employees without clear jobs, and spent on "unclear items" at the order of project managers, according to the report.

The PWC report also said these items of expenditures must be verified further.

In the "Climate Change and Estuarine Ecosystems" project, more than $62,600 was wasted by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology's Institute of Oceanography, the report says.

The largest misuse of funds uncovered was a scholarship awarded to the daughter of a project coordinator, which was approved by the project's director, according to the report.

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