The operations director of an aid-to-Ethiopia program under investigation by California officials has left for Addis Ababa to try to end confusion and controversy over use of funds collected in a massive U.S. advertising campaign.
A spokesman for International Christian Aid (InterAid), based in Camarillo, Calif., said InterAid official Hans Hatting intended to reassure officials of an Ethiopian-based aid coordinator, the Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA), that his group would provide more than $300,000 in assistance for starving Ethiopians.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development, who said yesterday that the agency had no record of CRDA among groups working in Ethiopia, said today that a further investigation established that CRDA was a legitimate organization helping many American relief groups providing aid to needy Ethiopians.
The accusations against InterAid, an international religious group that runs programs in several countries, surfaced last week. News reports suggested that it had not spent any of the money raised in a recent campaign focusing on the famine in Ethiopia.
But Monday InterAid President L. Joe Bass provided telexes and a bill of lading reporting shipments of protein, medicine and an automobile to Ethiopia. He said InterAid was not registered with the Ethiopian government because it was working through CRDA.
John Swenson, assistant director of Catholic Relief Services, and Carol Capps, associate for development policy with Church World Service and Lutheran World Relief, today vouched for CRDA as an umbrella group including many religious relief groups like theirs.
There was no answer today at CRDA's operations office in Addis Ababa.