ISLAMABAD - The foul play in the distribution of humanitarian aid funds not only undermines the spirit of this acclaimed cause of helping out the people in need but also leaves the donors to think twice before making funds allocations for the needy. Given that the donor states are justifiably sensitive to negativities and controversies pertaining to humanitarian assistance programmes, a country like Pakistan that had been worst hit by flash floods and has borne the cost of two large scale operations against the militants resulting in mega displacements of masses, cannot simply afford misdoings in humanitarian aid. It is beyond any shred of doubt that the international humanitarian community comprising the United Nations, its implementation partners and other NGOs and INGOs have very strict tracking system to ensure transparency in allocation and utilisation of humanitarian funds. But preventing the wrong from happening and taking the guilty to task once any wrong is done are two separate things altogether. Needless to mention that strict actions of highest possible standards have had been taken by the respective humanitarian organisations against their officials found in any kind of financial irregularities but any adequate measures to recover the embezzled funds or stolen items seem to be missing. On Sunday, Oxfam issued a statement that it was investigating irregularities in one of its flood relief project in Sindh. Whether the guilty would be simply terminated from their jobs and set free thereafter, or they would be actually made to bear the cost of misappropriated funds, remains to be seen. When approached by The Nation, Programme Manger, Oxfam, Pakistan, Dr Noreen Khalid said that investigations were under way, likely to be completed in around three weeks. At the moment, she said, it would be too early to comment on the involvement of anyone and the nature of embezzlements. To a query regarding recovery of misused funds, Dr Noreen said that any course of action would be devised in the light of inquiry report, to be shared with media. The Oxfam official said that her organisation had adopted Transparency Internationals handbook on Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Emergencies 2010. We exercise zero tolerance towards corruption and donors value Oxfams high moral and ethical standards, she claimed. Sharing views on ensuring transparency in humanitarian aid, Head of International Development Aid at Norwegian Embassy Terje Thodesen said, We are very concerned that funds are utilised in the right direction. The moment we receive any report about misdoings, we report it to Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our Foreign Ministry has a Central Commission that actively monitors funds utilisation and if any misappropriation is detected, actions are taken accordingly. Wu Jin Song, Chief Representative of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Pakistan, told this scribe, If donors want a system of checks and balances, they are justified. I agree with you that the guilty should be put to due course of trial and embezzled stuff should be recovered from them instead of simply applying job terminations. Back in March 2006, two officials of a UN agency, a storekeeper and a warehouse in charge at Garhi Dupatta in AJK, were sacked when an internal inquiry found them guilty of selling the humanitarian aid in the commercial market and maintaining erroneous logbook.