Tackling fraud in UK aid: country case studies

A review assessing how effectively fraud risk in UK aid is managed at the country level.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 26 March 2024
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Anti-corruption, tax avoidance and fiduciary risk, Country focus
  5. Case study: India, Kenya, Lebanon, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Somalia, Syria
  6. Lead commissioner: Tarek Rouchdy

Read the review


This review found that budget reductions, the COVID-19 pandemic and the FCDO merger created more favourable conditions for increased fraud risk, despite the UK having strong programme management processes in place.


  • Under-investment in central anti-fraud teams leaves overseas staff lacking support and more vulnerable to fraud.
  • Staff were not trained sufficiently on the new financial system, introduced after the merger between the Foreign, Commonwealth Office and Department (FCDO) and Department for International Development (DFID), leading to payment delays, offline workarounds and increased fraud risk.
  • Restrictions on staff travel during the COVID-19 pandemic meant fewer field visits, which are widely considered necessary for tackling fraud.
  • FCDO’s ambassadors and high commissioners had a mixed understanding of their responsibilities on fraud prevention regarding programmes managed from the UK or by other government departments.
  • FCDO is largely reactive, rather than proactive in discovering fraud and risks being left behind by increasingly sophisticated fraudsters.


  1. FCDO should take a substantially more robust and proactive approach to anticipating and finding fraud in aid delivery.
  2. FCDO should strengthen its second line of defence in the top 20 ODA recipient countries, allocating dedicated, well-trained and sufficiently senior resources to manage fraud risks.
  3. FCDO should develop specific guidance on capital investments within the Programme Operating Framework.
  4. FCDO should increase Head of Mission oversight of and accountability for fraud risks relating to centrally managed programmes and other government department programmes that operate in their country.


Approach publication

19 December 2023

Evidence gathering


Review publication

26 March 2024

Government response

Expected May 2024

Further scrutiny

To be confirmed