UN internal watchdog says agency misspent $11 million on South Sudan refugee crisis

The recent influx of refugees increases the total number to 417,000 South Sudanese people who have been displaced by civil conflict and famine since December 2013. Image courtesy: UNCHR

An internal inquiry says the United Nations refugee agency has misspent millions of dollars on Africa’s largest refugee crisis, including paying for what became a parking lot at the Ugandan prime minister’s office.

The report by the U.N.’s internal watchdog says about $11 million alone is being spent on a recount of the South Sudanese who poured into Uganda, to weed out potentially hundreds of thousands of “ghost refugees.”

More than a million South Sudanese fled to neighboring Uganda after fresh fighting broke out in July 2016, causing a scramble by the U.N. and other humanitarian actors to help them find food and shelter.

Uganda has been praised internationally for welcoming refugees but has faced scrutiny over corruption in the process.

U.N. refugee and Ugandan spokespeople did not immediately comment.