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Benin minister quits over Dutch water aid fraud claims

Benin’s minister for energy and water has resigned following allegations from the Netherlands of massive fraud in drinking water projects, the government confirmed on Wednesday.

Dutch deputy development minister Liliane Ploumen last week announced an immediate suspension in “developmental relations” with the tiny West African nation following an audit into aid spending.

The review claimed that some four million euros ($4.5 million) had disappeared from Benin’s coffers and that bilateral aid would be stopped until Benin’s government took steps to tackle the issue.

“The minister for energy and water resigned on (Tuesday) May 12,” the government’s general-secretary Alassani Tigri told AFP.

According to Benin’s presidency, an investigation would be launched into The Hague’s allegations.

“With a view to allowing the international audit to take place without any influence on his part, (Kassa) decided to submit his resignation to the president, who accepted it”, a statement said.

“All staff of the (drinking water) project and some senior managers of the ministry have been made available to economic and financial investigators,” it added.

The Netherlands is Benin’s largest donor for water development projects and has pumped an estimated 50 million euros into the impoverished country, which neighbours Nigeria.

The European Union has contributed a further 20 million euros to supply clean drinking water.


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