In accordance with Digni’s cooperation agreement with Norad, Digni shall make public a description of our effort to combat financial irregularities during the previous year, including summaries of cases of financial irregularities that were closed in the reporting year.
Eight cases of financial irregularities were concluded in 2019:
- Frelsesarmeen (FA) for a project implemented in Bangladesh. A financial review and corrections approved by FA’s auditor was conducted. Miscalculation of currencies in the period 2012-2013, and hence corrections for the years 2012-2016 due to the influence on project costs. The case was registered in April 2016. NOK 39,881 was repaid by FA to Norad.
- Misjonsalliansen (MA) for a project implemented in Liberia. Misuse of funds for private gain. The case was registered in March 2018. NOK 2,052 was repaid by MA to the project.
- Misjonsalliansen (MA) for a project implemented in Liberia. Breach of the bank’s routines where customers’ loans were embezzled by an employee. The case was registered in April 2018. NOK 34,330 was repaid by MA to the project.
- Normisjon (NOR) for a project implemented in Cambodia. Conflicts and nepotism in addition to two corruption cases from 2015 not reported. The case was registered in August 2018. NOK 1,785 was repaid by NOR to Norad.
- Misjonsalliansen (MA) for a project implemented in Vietnam. Mismanagement regarding travel expenses. The case was registered in January 2019. NOK 383 was repaid by MA to the project.
- Metodistkirkens Misjonsselskap (MM) for a project implemented in Sierra Leone. Theft of belongings of the project. The case was registered in February 2019. NOK 1,841 was repaid by MM to the project.
- Pinsemisjonen (NPM) for a project implemented in Kenya. Theft of a computer belonging to the project. The case was registered in April 2019. NOK 3,158 was repaid by NPM to Norad.
- Misjonsalliansen (MA) for project implemented in Liberia. Theft of fuel by an employee of the project. The case was registered in May 2019. NOK 2,783 was repaid by MA to the project.
In 5 of the 8 concluded cases, repayment was made to the project rather than to Norad, in accordance with the new Norad guidelines as of December 2018. Repayment to project can be made when certain criteria are met, such as immediate reporting of the case and documentation of well-functioning internal control systems.
At the end of 2019, several cases of suspicion of financial irregularities were still under investigation. The remaining cases vary in scope and complexity. These will be reported on when the cases have been concluded.
Handling of financial irregularities cases has through the year been quite time consuming both for Digni and for the member organizations and the partners. Some cases display varying degrees of weaknesses in the financial management of the partner organization.
Also, a lack of awareness of the contractual obligations was observed for some members and partners. Measures have been put in place to address critical capacity gaps and to raise awareness about the terms of the agreements. Digni hired a controller in September 2019 to coordinate the follow-up of investigations into suspicions of financial irregularities and to strengthen the internal control environment of Digni’s cooperating organizations.
Regional network meetings and member meetings have been used to build competence. Digni also continued to lead the civil society working group on anti-corruption forum (formerly hosted by Bistandstorget).
Digni will continue to prioritize capacity and systems development related to financial management and anti-corruption measures in the secretariat and in relation to members and the implementing partners. A competence building program on partner capacity development will be initiated in 2020 and continue in 2021.