Friday, 25 September 2015

TWO callous conmen who swindled $1million from a foreign aid fund to treat people infected with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis have been thrown behind bars.

Sijbrandus Scheffer at Southwark Crown Court
Sijbrandus Scheffer at Southwark Crown Court
The two Dutchmen worked together to influence decisions over who would win a lucrative $43 million dollar contract from the United Nations to supply medication to treat HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in the Congo.

City of London police took eight years to unravel the elaborate scam which saw the United Nations charged an extra $1million so Sijbrandus Scheffer, 62, and known as Art, and Guido Bakker, 39, could receive the monstrous kickbacks.
It means vital UN cash from countries around the globe, including Britain, has been kept from helping needy in some of the most deprived areas in the world.
Det Sgt Paul Farley, who led the probe, said: "Art Scheffer and Guido Bakker were respected professionals working in the Congo whose heads were turned by greed."

The con involved sharing sensitive information about the bidding process for a programme to deliver life-saving drugs to sick patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The men charged a five per cent fee for ensuring the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) contract went to Danish company, Missionpharma.
In turn, Missionpharma overcharged the UN by almost $1 million to cover the men's fees, stripping money that could have been spent on other African aid projects.
Patrick Orr at Southwark Crown Court
Patrick Orr at Southwark Crown Court

Yesterday, Scheffer was jailed for 15 months after being convicted of three charges of money laundering and corruption.
Bakker, 39, was imprisoned for 12 months after pleading guilty in 2012 for playing a part in the corruption.
To cover the men's fees the company overcharged, taking away money that could have been spent saving more lives in the region
Det Sgt Farley
Det Sgt Farley added: "They chose to cash-in on their positions of authority and in doing so massively compromised the awarding of a contract designed to deliver millions of pounds worth of medical aid to people in Africa.
"To cover the men's fees the company overcharged, taking away money that could have been spent saving more lives in the region.
"This is something that I hope these convicted criminals will now fully consider as they face-up to several years behind bars."

The con began in 2005 when Bakker's company, World Response Consultancy, was working with the UNDP to help them deliver a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical contract across the Congo.
Using his position at the top of the company, Bakker was able to secretly share information to Missionpharma about the bidding process and the terms of the contract.

Scheffer was Bakker's business partner at the firm was also able to influence the final decision - taken in October 2005 - on who won the contract - ensuring Missionpharma were awarded the deal.
The $1 million fee was then paid to a company registered in Jersey that was owned by Bakker and Scheffer.
Their solicitor, Patrick Orr, was convicted at a separate trial in 2014 of laundering the proceeds of the crime.
City of London Police's Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit discovered how Scheffer and Bakker had travelled to Copenhagen in 2004 to meet with representatives from Missionpharma prior to the submission of the company's bid for the contract.

In January 2008, Scheffer was arrested at his home near Reading, while Bakker travelled to the UK and was arrested by appointment at Bishopsgate Police Station in September 2008.


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