- Rwandan President accused of enriching himself at his country’s expense
- Ugandan dictator allegedly used aid money to pay for a £30million jet
- President of Gabon spent £85million on a Parisian mansion
Godfrey Bloom’s comments about what he sees as the abuses of British aid to ‘bongo bongo land’ have provoked a storm.
But there is ample evidence to back up the Ukip MEP’s claims. Here, we examine some of the most flagrant abuses.
As well as arming a violent revolt in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, President Paul Kagame is accused of enriching himself at his country’s expense.
His luxuries include two private jets – South African-registered Bombardier BD-700 Global Expresses – costing £30million each.
He owns an opulent palace in the Rwandan capital Kigali and his weekend retreat is a huge farm in the countryside.
He has a weakness for Rolex watches, and in 2011 he stayed in a £12,000-a-night hotel room in New York – a sum that would take the average Rwandan worker 18 years to earn.
Britain is Rwanda’s biggest foreign aid donor and last year was due to hand over £75million.
Kagame has been pictured with David Cameron, who described the country last year as a ‘continuing success story’.
In July last year Britain temporarily suspended £16million of the aid package following a critical report, but the then International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, a personal friend of Kagame, reinstated the payments on his last day in the job.
In November, Britain halted a further £21million in aid payments over human rights concerns.
In 2009 dictator Yoweri Museveni allegedly used aid money to pay for a £30million private jet, a top-of-the-range Gulfstream G550.
The then Labour government gave his poverty ravaged country £70million in 2008/09 through the Department for International Development and an additional £57million through the European Union.
As millions of his people struggled to feed themselves, Museveni lavished the cash on the 562mph plane, described as the ‘world’s most versatile and stylish ultra-long-range jet’.
Two years later it emerged he was buying six Russian fighter jets for nearly £500million – the same amount as Britain is scheduled to give in aid to Uganda by 2016. Museveni, who has led Uganda since 1986, has been severely criticised for his human rights record.
Ali Bongo, president of the impoverished state, spent £85million on a 48,000 sq ft mansion in the heart of Paris three years ago.
The 14-bedroom property on the upmarket Rue de l’Universite includes a heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, seven parking spaces and a tennis court. He is thought to own 39 properties in the French capital.
Between 2005 and 2009 Britain spent £6.1million on aid to Gabon through international agencies such as the European Union, the World Bank and United Nations.
In 2011 it was revealed that Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the French Congo, had built up a multi-million-pound Paris property portfolio with the help of British taxpayers’ aid money.
A report by anti-corruption groups showed he owned 16 of the most luxurious residences there.
His country is among the biggest recipients of UK foreign aid. In 2011 it received £133million and that sum is set to rise to £258million by 2015.
Teodoro Obiang Mangue, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, lived a playboy lifestyle in a beach mansion in Malibu, California, and once spent a reported £1.8million on Michael Jackson memorabilia.
He is accused of amassing £65million from the African country while serving as its forestry minister.
He spent £21million on the Malibu mansion, bought a £26million Gulfstream jet and a fleet of 24 luxury cars.
His father owns several properties in Paris including an entire six-storey period building on the prestigious Avenue Foch, worth £15million.
In 2011 as part of a corruption investigation French authorities seized and later sold nine luxury cars from the Obiang family, including a Ferrari, an Aston Martin V8, two Bentleys and a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe. They raised £2.7million at auction.
Also seized were one of Teodoro’s Paris homes, art works and 300 bottles of Chateau Petrus worth almost £2million.
Britain has no direct aid programme with the country but funnels money through the EU, World Bank and UN – more than £3.5million between 2005 and 2009.
Last year it emerged that President Jacob Zuma had spent £17.5million to upgrade his rural home into a luxury mansion. The sum is almost exactly the amount Britain gave to South Africa the previous year.
The Zuma estate includes 31 new houses, a bunker accessed by lifts, a helipad and state-of-the art security systems, including fingerprint-controlled access pads. In addition, roads to the property were given £40million of improvements.
Zuma, who has four wives and at least 20 children, is said to have spent only £700,000 of his own money on the project.
Britain is committed to spending an average of £19million a year in aid on South Africa until 2015.
In one of the worst cases of the blatant theft of aid money, £1.2million given by Britain to ‘support peacekeeping’ was stolen.
According to WikiLeaks files, in 2009 the country’s ‘top brass’ stole the money and spent it on plasma TVs and other consumer items.
A secret cable from the US embassy reported ‘deep corruption’ within the defence ministry, ‘primarily through pocketing [by the top brass] of enlisted men’s salaries’.