The Norwegian People’s Aid, on Tuesday issued a statement saying it has “reached agreement on a settlement with the US authorities and will pay the US authorities 2,025,000 US Dollars due to an unintentional breach of a clause in an agreement made with USAID in 2012.”
The NPA has been receiving grants from USAID, and, according to the US Justice Dept., “each year it applied for aid, the NPA wrongly indicated on forms it had not and would not provide aid to any organization on the US list,” because doing so would violate the False Claims Act.
The DOJ said the NPA provided material support to Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Iran, and therefore was not eligible to receive relief funds from USAID.
“In September 2017, after several rounds of submitting documentation, NPA was informed by the United States authorities that the organization was under investigation for non-compliance to a clause in an agreement made with USAID in 2012, following the filing of a claim by a third party. The alleged related to a certification made to USAID when NPA received funds to support an emergency aid mission in South Sudan in 2012,” the NPA statement went.
“The settlement agreement follows claims from the US government that NPA breached the U.S. False Claims Act when signing the USAID grant agreement in South Sudan, by failing to disclose NPA’s activities in support for a democratization project for youth in Gaza from 2012-2016, and a de-mining project in Iran that ended in 2008, the latter an assignment for the Norwegian oil company Norsk Hydro,” the NPA said.
NPA Secretary General Henriette Killi Westhrin wrote that “although we disagreed on the fairness of the claim, NPA has accepted paying the settlement to reach closure. Due to the estimated costs, resources and time necessary to take this case to trial, we have concluded that the best decision for us is to agree on the settlement. In this way we can focus on our mission of making the world a safer and more just place.”