We take a firm position against corruption in any form and actively work to prevent, avoid and detect all forms of corruption, through a set of compliance procedures and a detailed Code of Conduct.
Fragile and conflict affected states are known to be extra exposed to corruption. Transparency International’s annual corruption index ranks many of the countries where NRC works to be among the most corrupt countries in the world. Due to the very challenging environments we operate in, our procedures and control mechanisms are constantly strengthened and adjusted to further improve our global and country specific prevention measures.
In 2014, a new Anti-Corruption Policy was drafted (adopted by the Board of Directors early 2015), our misconduct reporting- and investigation procedures were revised and a new Anti-corruption handbook was developed. The handbook helps NRC’s managers and staff to better understand the overall corruption threats and how to apply appropriate control measures throughout the organisation. New Anti-Corruption trainings tools for NRCs Anti- Corruption workshops and Corruption risk mappings were launched and applied in NRC’s country offices.
Assessing and investigating alleged corruption and proving evidence is an important aspect, but can be both resource demanding, difficult and even dangerous. In criminal cases we alert the police and take legal action, if appropriate. In some countries or places however, the police and prosecutors can be part of crime or otherwise corrupt. Thus in certain cases/countries extra care and discretion must be used before legal action is taken.
A pool of 12 internal investigators from NRC’s Head Office’s own staff (within finance, logistics and internal audit) was established and trained. This to enable the organisation to quickly respond and deploy investigation teams when there is a need to strengthen investigations of alleged corruption in any of the NRC offices.
Each year by end June we publish an overview of the corruption cases that were investigated and closed the previous year. During 2014, 23 cases of possible corruption were investigated. Four of them were investigated by external investigation companies, the rest by internal investigation teams, following NRC’s investigation procedures. Out of the 23 cases, 2 cases are (pr mid June 2015) pending conclusion, 5 cases were found to be groundless or could not be substantiated, 2 cases concerned irregularities (not intentional fraud) and in 14 cases (presented below) the investigations concluded that corruption had taken place. The 23 cases were either detected as a result of NRC’s internal control or through NRC’s whistle blowing system.
In each of the cases where irregularities and/or misconduct were detected, we have learned from the incidents and proper prevention and disciplinary measures were applied accordingly. Affected donors have been informed along the way and where money has been lost the loss has been covered by NRC.
Below is a brief presentation of the 14 corruption-cases that were closed in 2014:
1) Cash theft
A staff member stole cash from the cash box two times, respectively USD 300 and USD 47. When caught, the staff member returned the stolen money to NRC and was dismissed.
2) Stolen plastic sheets
A staff member stole plastic sheets from NRC’s warehouse to a value of USD 1.368 . The staff member was dismissed and run away. All attempts of getting the stolen plastic sheets back failed.
Syria | Loss of 3 Replenishment Kits
Despite strict security procedures, NRC lost 3 Replenishment Kits during transportation when the truck crossed a warzone. The value of the lost kits is USD 59.
DRC | Theft of a high-lift
A driver stole a high-lift, admitted the case and returned the stolen item. The driver resigned during the investigation.
1) Conflict of interest
One of the rental cars a field office was renting proved to belong to a staff member. The staff member/car owner had already left NRC when the investigation was executed. The investigation also proved that the staff member who approved the car rental contract was aware of the ownership, but kept quiet. As a result this person’s contract was terminated. The case did not lead to any financial loss for NRC.
At a Training Centre, NRC’s education beneficiaries received only 55 % of their entitled transportation allowances and other benefits, during a period of four months. The trainer in question resigned during the investigation. Estimated loss is USD 1.380.
1) Bribe extortion
During the recruitment process of refugees hired to do daily/short time work in a refugee camp, one staff member took USD 98 (in total) in bribes from the hired refugees. The staff member was summarily dismissed.
One Senior Supervisor among the refugee workers received bribes of at least USD 60 during (another) recruitment process of refugee daily/short time workers. The Senior Supervisor’s contract was terminated and the recruitment procedures and control mechanisms improved.
Ethiopia | Forgery of financial documents
There was an estimated loss of 1.663 grass bundles bought for a shelter project at the total value of USD 5.117. 5 NRC staff directly or indirectly knowingly participated in forging financial documents and their contracts were terminated.
Mali | Kickback extortion
Two NRC staff members contacted a supplier and asked him for money (between USD 3.000 – 17.000) to help him win a tender. The supplier reported the case to NRC and both staff members were summarily dismissed. Since the case was reported early, NRC did not suffer any financial loss.
Colombia | Embezzlement within the Emergency Programme
Building materials worth USD 20.901 had not been delivered according to plan. A staff member admitted to have misappropriated the funds and was summarily dismissed. Total loss for NRC was USD 51.643; USD 20.901 in misappropriated funds and USD 30.742 in (extra) construction costs to complete the works and rectify the damage from the misconduct.
Pakistan | Stolen NFIs
During NRC’s distribution of 300 NFI kits, members of the IDP community suddenly started to loot the NFI kits from the truck at one of the distribution points. The NRC staff alerted the village police and three police officers came to the location and managed to stop the violence, take back some of the kits from the looters and handed those over to the beneficiaries, but 165 NFI kits went missing. The value of the loss is USD 7.697 and NRC has covered the loss.