Photo: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this year, this news outlet reported on the exposure of “Christian” charity World Vision’s head of Gaza operations as being a Hamas agent (who diverted millions of charitable funds to the terror group).

Hot on the heels of this startling discovery comes another multi-million dollar terrorist fraud allegation involving the very same organisation.

“There are big new developments in the case against World Vision for funding groups linked to another terrorist group in Gaza – the PFLP,” Andrew Hamilton a spokesman for The International Legal Forum told on Thursday.

“This time World Vision is even more heavily implicated as it was put on notice of the terror links and fraud 5 years ago and chose to do nothing despite being presented with extensive evidence.”

The Israeli Authorities have now formally confirmed all the allegations made against World Vision Australia 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.”

On July 19th, the International Legal Forum (“ILF”) sent a letter to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs informing her of the above findings by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Ministry of Justice Corporations Authority.

For many years since being first put on notice WVA has colluded with the terror linked NGOs the CAW and the UAWC to deceive 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. It is the ILF’s view that WVA’s CEO Tim Costello had the necessary guilty mind to sustain a criminal conviction because in a meeting in early 2013 after being presented with the large dossier of evidence of the terror links and fraud he refused to accept the obvious conclusions from the evidence and stated “you need to get your hands dirty to do good work”. Thus from early 2013 at least, WVA had unclean hands in relation to this matter.

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.

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