The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has condemned a recently uncovered scam aimed at defrauding displaced people in Mogadishu and urges residents of the Somali capital to beware of the illegal scheme.
WFP has learned individuals posing as WFP employees have been selling fake ration cards to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mogadishu, claiming these cards entitle the holders to receive food from WFP. These individuals do not represent WFP, the cards are not genuine, and payment is never required to access WFP assistance programmes, the UN said.
“WFP is concerned about the fraudulent use of its name in efforts to cheat vulnerable Somalis and calls on the authorities to take action against the culprits. As a humanitarian organisation WFP condemns those seeking to profit from the plight of the poorest people who have already lost so much. WFP never asks for money in order to be enrolled in its programmes,” Stefano Porretti, WFP representative for Somalia said.
WFP supports hot meal centres in Mogadishu, which provide daily cooked meals for more than 75 000 urban poor. No registration or ration cards are needed in order to receive this food, meaning anyone who shows up will be provided with a meal. The programme is designed to be flexible so as to accommodate the changing number of people requiring assistance. The agency also provides specialised nutritional support to malnourished mothers and young children.
The work of WFP in Somalia aims to address basic food needs, strengthen coping mechanisms and support the efforts to achieve food security of vulnerable Somalis so they can cope more effectively with hardships, the organisation said.