Kathmandu, Nepal ... [ANN] In a statement released by the United States Information Service (USIS), the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and its financial management are endorsed by the main U.S. government donor organization, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The statement was prompted by previous allegations made in the Nepalese press against ADRA. ADRA’s denial of the charges was reported in an Adventist News Network release of September 17, 1997.

The USIS statement refers to news articles stating that ADRA’s maternal and child health activities are not well managed and that USAID funds are being misused.

"These allegations are without merit," says the statement. "USAID, which is Nepal’s oldest bilateral donor, wishes to emphasize that it is fully satisfied with the performance of ADRA’s USAID-funded programs in Nepal, as well as with ADRA’s accountability for these programs. USAID has demonstrated its confidence in ADRA’s capabilities by providing it with a new five-year grant for US$1.8 million."

The allegation of financial mismanagement by ADRA is totally rejected, since all USAID programs are subject to regular, independent financial audits, according to the statement.

"These audits affirm that ADRA is properly utilizing USAID funds in accordance with U.S. Government financial regulations for the activities specified in their agreements with USAID."

The statement goes further in expressing USAID’s appreciation for ADRA’s health programs in Nepal.

"USAID has been very pleased with ADRA’s performance in implementing its USAID-funded health programs. USAID looks forward to continuing to support the Government of Nepal’s health services in Kavre and Rasuwa districts over the next five years through this beneficial partnership with ADRA," the statement concludes.

The press in Nepal have recognized the importance of the USIS release. The Rising Nepal national daily newspaper ran the text of the statement in full in its October 29 issue.

"We are delighted for the clarification this official statement brings to our ongoing work in Nepal," said Rick Kajiura, Communication director for ADRA-International. "We appreciate the endorsement of our programs and their financial management."

ADRA is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for humanitarian development and relief work in 143 countries. [Jonathan Gallagher]