Friday, May 6, 2011

Haiti and the international aid scam

"Corruption takes many forms, and if the United States seems like it has less of it than many developing countries, this is partly because we have legalised so much of it. Election campaign contributions are only the most costly and debilitating form: a legalised bribery that, for example, gives the pharmaceutical and insurance companies a veto over healthcare policy and generally hollows out our limited form of democracy.
This legalisation of corruption reached a new milestone last December when one Lewis Lucke, a long-time US Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID) official turned influence-peddler, sued a consortium of firms operating in Haiti for $492,000, for breach of contract. As Lucke would have it (sorry!), he was promised $30,000 a month, plus incentives, to use his influence to secure contracts for these nice fellas. He got them $20m worth of contracts, but they cut him off after two months. The defendants in the case are Ashbritt, a US contractor with a questionable track record, and the GB Group, one of the largest Haitian conglomerates. Together, they formed the HaitiRecovery Group, which they incorporated in the Cayman Islands, to bid on reconstruction contracts."
Mark Weisbrot

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