The actions of Adam Smith International (ASI) have been branded as “appalling” by MPs after the private British contractor was found to have engineered aid recipients into writing “letters of appreciation”.
The letters were then used by the firm, who received millions in taxpayer's money, to show MPs their good work.
In a scathing Government report on ASI, the International Development committee called the company’s actions “deplorable”, “entirely inappropriate” and revealed a “serious lack of judgement”.
The committee discovered the firm had taken an “active” role in pushing the people who benefited from their aid payments to write positive reviews and cast their work in a better light.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel is believed to have found their actions 'appalling'
he letters were used to show MPs ASI's good work
In one instance an ASI manager returned a “generic” letter and told them to write it again to “really highlight” how the company “has been exceptional and surpassed other programmes”.
People close to International Development Secretary Priti Patel have said the MP believes ASI’s actions were “appalling” and “left a clear question over its’ ethical integrity”.
A spokesman added: “Like the committee, we are deeply troubled about the culture and behaviour of Adam Smith International.
“Recent events and the committee’s damning report have been highly damaging to our trust in ASI as commercial partner.
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Committee chairman Stephen Twigg said the actions of the company showed a 'blatant disregard'
“DFID has conducted its own forensic investigation into the allegations that ASI falsified submissions to the International Development Committee documents for commercial gain.
“Since these allegations came to light, we have frozen awards of new contracts to ASI and we are taking detailed advice on next steps.”
International Development Committee chairman Stephen Twigg said the actions of the company showed a “blatant disregard” towards the government.
Mr Twigg said: "The committee deplores the inappropriate conduct shown by Adam Smith International – the attempts to conceal their involvement in collecting beneficial testimonials about their work and the application of pressure on beneficiaries to submit evidence.
The committee found the firm had taken an “active” role in pushing beneficiaries to write positively
"This shows blatant disregard for the proceedings of select committees, and by extension, the House of Commons.”
A spokesperson for Adam Smith International claimed MPs had since understood they "were not told untruths or misled, and that no submissions were falsified".
The spokesperson added: ”We asked for testimonials from our beneficiaries in good faith, believing they would help the IDC International Development Committee understand the impact and value of the work done by DfID's contractors.
"Our own investigation concurs with the committee's findings that the way we did this 'overstepped the mark', which we sincerely regret.
"To ensure that this does not happen again we have taken rigorous steps to tighten procedures and strengthen oversight."
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