WASHINGTON A key US Senator is so worried about corruption in the Pakistani government that he has asked the State Department to tighten control over $1.45 billion in aid to Pakistan this year. In a March 25 letter published by The Boston Globe on Friday, John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned if the money is squandered or stolen, a massive five-year effort to help the people of Pakistan could collapse. Among the Pakistani population there is already fear that the funds will merely enrich the corrupt elite, the Massachusetts Democrat was quoted as saying. Channelling so much of the money through untested institutions so quickly could serve to confirm these suspicions. The non-military aid is part of a landmark, five-year $7.5 billion assistance package to Pakistan that Kerry pushed through Congress last year. It is aimed at trying to roll back extremism by improving the lives of ordinary citizens through greater access to water, energy, education, and health care, as well as bolstering Pakistans fledgling democratic government. But the letter - Kerrys most forceful statement yet on how he believes the money should be spent - is a sign of unease among some on Capitol Hill over the administrations plans for the money, the Globe dispatch noted. Richard Holbrooke, the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, intends to funnel more than 50 percent of the funds directly through Pakistans government or local Pakistani organisations, bypassing the American organisations and companies that the US government usually hires to deliver aid abroad, it said. Holbrooke has said US entities have higher overhead costs and relying on them creates the perception that US aid benefits Americans, rather than the intended recipients. But Kerry, who has oversight responsibilities over the funds, fears that Pakistani organisations might not be ready yet to effectively spend so much money and that incidents of corruption in Pakistan will make accountability a challenge, according to the Globe. The danger is much greater than merely the possibility of a portion of funds being poorly spent, he wrote in a letter addressed to Holbrooke. Referring to the aid bill that bears his name, he wrote, lf significant portions of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman funds are, for example, siphoned off to private bank accounts, political support for continued appropriation of the money could evaporate in Washington and Pakistan. Holbrookes office said it is seeking the best way to provide the most benefit. Were always open to ways to operate in a manner that enhances sustainability, transparency, and accountability, as Senator Kerry has called for, and which are already core precepts that we have built into our assistance programmes, Dan Feldman, Holbrookes deputy, was quoted as saying. Kerrys office declined to comment on the letter, but Frederick Jones, a spokesman, told the Globe that the Senator wants to work cooperatively with the administration to think through the potential pitfalls that could occur. He said Kerry does not oppose funding for Pakistani institutions but wants to ensure that the right controls are in place for adequate monitoring, such as pre-award and post-award evaluations of development contracts. The letter urges more attention on Pakistans criminal justice system and greater coordination with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which have spent decades trying to build dams and improve water delivery systems in Pakistan. Kerry also suggested launching a website that tracks how the money is spent. This process is still largely opaque to the broader public, including our Pakistani friends and partners, he wrote. This lack of transparency can generate suspicion and distrust, defeating the core intent of the aid.