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Ombudsman gets P7-M UK aid to continue anti-graft drive

The British government has extended anew its financial aid to the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to support the latter’s anti-corruption drive to help spur the economic and social development of the country.

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Dec. 23, 2014. All-party talks involving the five main political parties in Northern Ireland continued overnight with the British and Irish governments as politicians try to find a solution on a number of issues hampering power-sharing. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Dec. 23, 2014. All-party talks involving the five main political parties in Northern Ireland continued overnight with the British and Irish governments as politicians try to find a solution on a number of issues hampering power-sharing. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

British Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) extending the assistance of Great Britain in the training OMB prosecutors in the gathering of evidence and prosecution of grafters in the government service.

For this year, Ahmad said some P6.7 million in grant has been set aside for the OMB in a program dubbed as “Cultivating Accountability Toward National Growth and Empowerment Project.”

The British envoy said the project has been going on since 2011 and renewed every year to promote the rule of law and democracy, adding “no one is above the law.”

Ahmad said his government wants the OMB succeed in its fight against thief of public funds to help improve the lives of Filipinos and also to protect British investments in the country.

He said Great Britain has the biggest investment in the Philippines among the European Union (EU) states amounting to P70 billion which investment covered various industries like telecommunication, energy and consumer products, “with more investments in the pipeline.”

For her part, Ms. Morales expressed gratitude to the support of the British government in promoting good governance for the country, further strengthening the social, political and economic ties between the two countries.