The Israeli Authorities have now confirmed allegations made against World Vision Australia (WVA) in 2012 regarding their funding of the Palestinian NGO: the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (“UAWC”). These include that:
- The UAWC is linked to the proscribed terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”);
- The Committee of Agricultural Works (“CAW”), an Israeli NGO, is also linked to the PFLP and exists solely to allow the fraudulent use of its official Israeli Government registration documents;
- The use of the CAW’s documents in relation to the UAWC was “intended to deceive the Australian Parliament and Australian Government Relief Organization (AusAid) in order to mobilize funds for the UAWC, which as stated above, is a body operating on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”
For many years since being first put on notice, WVA has apparently deceived the Australian Government into providing millions of dollars of aid funding to the UAWC. Total Australian government funding of the UAWC via WVA since 2006 is estimated at A$9 million.
The ILF has requested that a criminal investigation be launched by the Australian Government against the WVA for providing false, misleading and deceptive information to the Australian Government in order to obtain taxpayer funds for a terror linked group.
World Vision Australia's CEO, Tim Costello says “you need to get your hands dirty to do good work”
In a meeting in early 2013, after being presented with the large dossier of evidence of the terror links and fraud, WVA’s CEO Tim Costello refused to accept the obvious conclusions from the evidence and stated “you need to get your hands dirty to do good work”.
According to the ILF
"It is clear that World Vision is guilty of criminal negligence at best, wilful blindness or conspiracy with terror linked groups at worst. Either way, it is time that a clear message be sent to World Vision, as well as other charities around the world; providing support for a terror organization is a serious crime under international law, if you won't conduct proper due diligence and ignore warnings, you are putting yourselves at risk of paying a heavy price."
This becomes even more imperative given the fact that this is not the first time WVA is implicated in a multi-million dollar fraud to fund a proscribed terrorist group. The criminal process against the head of World Vision in Gaza as a Hamas agent who diverted the majority of charitable funds to Hamas is underway. These two serious incidents highlight the need for a complete re-assessment of WVA’s protocols and policies concerning funds provided to NGOs working in areas of the world where proscribed terrorist organisations are active and have substantial support.
The ILA’s request to pursue criminal charges in this regard aims to serve not only the particular justice of this case, but for the Australian Government to send a clear message, setting the bar high in its expectations from organisations such as WVA when it comes to risks of terror funding, particularly when it involves its taxpayers' funds.
Terrorist organisations are masters of deception and NGOs working in these risky areas are wide-open to being infiltrated and co-opted by terrorist groups. As these incidents have demonstrated, the risk of the Australian Government unwittingly funding terrorist organisations is too high for the Australian taxpayer to accept and needs to be stopped.