Free-market aid contractors Adam Smith International tried to deceive MPs

Free-market aid contractors Adam Smith International tried to deceive MPs

Date: 12 February 2017

This morning the International Development Committee published its Special Report on Conduct of Adam Smith International (ASI). The report follows allegations that were made by the Mail on Sunday in December that aid contractors Adam Smith International “tried to deceive MPs and protect their lucrative business by faking glowing testimonials about their work overseas.”

Responding to the findings of the International Development Committee report, Aisha Dodwell, a campaigner on aid from Global Justice Now said:

“This report from the International Development Committee confirms the accusations that ASI attempted to falsify evidence to a parliamentary inquiry in order to present a more positive picture of their work. This behaviour shows serious contempt for the UK taxpayer who deserves to get an accurate picture of how aid money is being spent. And it shows contempt for the vulnerable communities in other countries who should be benefiting from UK aid spending, who have been used as pawns to try and justify the enormous consultancy fees that ASI is getting from DfID.  Our research has shown that in 2014 alone DfID spent £90million through the company, who witnessed a whopping £14million profit that same year.
“The fact that ASI would need to resort to such base forms of deceit to justify their approach to development should ring further alarm bells about their methodologies. The free market reforms that that they are pushing in some countries are based on an outdated and discredited development ideology that has been in no small part responsible for entrenching poverty and exacerbating inequality across the developing world. The reforms around mining that ASI have been pushing in countries like Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea seem to be more concerned about the needs of foreign mining companies while actively undermining the rights of local communities.
“Many UK taxpayers would be genuinely shocked if they knew that hundreds of millions of pounds of aid money was going to ‘free market’ consultants in the UK rather than to alleviate the conditions of poverty faced by vulnerable communities in the developing world. If aid money was being genuinely used as it should be, to strengthen public services, support civil society, and build democratic and accountable institutions, then there probably wouldn’t be any need for over-paid consultants to falsify positive feedback.”

In April 2016, Global Justice Now published the report, The Privatisation of UK aid – How Adam Smith International is profiting from the aid budget and subsequently gave evidence in parliament on the