There are many different definitions of corruption, but a widespread and simple definition (which is also used by the World Bank) is that “corruption is abuse of public office for private gain”. Norad also uses the following definition: “Corruption is any transaction between public and private operators where public goods are illegally transformed into private advantages.” Corruption can be found at all levels; both as a part of the entire political system in a country (so-called “grand corruption”), and as a part of the daily lives of the common people where bribes and other factors are expected in the face of local administration and healthcare (so-called “petty corruption”). Corruption comes in many forms, for example bribes, embezzlement, and blackmail. However, it is worth noting that it is not always about money. For example, bypassing normal procedures to provide someone with a job or other advantages, so-called favouritism/nepotism, also counts as corruption.
It is not hard to see the negative consequences of corruption. The poorest are often left with even greater difficulties in terms of accessing basic services, such as health and education, infrastructure is not expanded, the resources in the country are unfairly divided, and the economic growth and investments are inhibited, while the aid becomes less efficient. Last, but not least, corruption undermines the trust towards democratic processes and political systems in many countries.
What we do
Digni’s members all work in countries that are high up on the Transparency Internationals «Corruption Perception Index». Corruption is therefore an issue we take very seriously. Digni is 100 percent financed by Norad and we therefore see it as our responsibility to fight corruption to ensure that Norwegian public means reaches those that need it the most.
In the last few years, Digni has put in a significant effort to prevent corruption.
Norwegian authorities have adopted a zero tolerance policy for fraud in Norwegian aid, which Digni of course follow. This includes reporting all cases that appear directly to Norad, and cooperating with Norad to handle said cases.
How we prevent corruption
A successful anti-corruption work needs to focus on people and systems. In other words, one has to work to build attitudes, consciousness and knowledge amongst the different employees at all levels, while simultaneously making sure to establish transparent systems and routines that minimizes the risk and possibility of corruption.
In the last few years, Digni has put in a significant effort to prevent corruption by, amongst other things, doing the following:
- Actively working on attitudes to corruption amongst our members and their partner organisations, by supporting our member Wycliffe in the development and spreading of a grassroots course on anti-corruption. The course, which was revised and relaunched in 2016, is already being used by many organizations in Asia, Africa, South-America and the Middle East, and has been translated into several languages.
- Develop and implement good routines and checklists for a proper financial management within the projects.
- Actively contribute to an anti-corruption group, where the civil society organisations in Norway gather to share experiences in the anti-corruption work.
- Raise the expertise amongst Digni’s employees and members in terms of prevention, disclosure and handling cases of corruption through different courses and training.
How We Handle Corruption Cases
- evaluations, inspections and revision
- direct notification to a member or Digni
Digni will, with suspicion of corruption, start a dialogue with the member to try to clarify what has happened, and ensure all relevant documentation and values within the project.
Every year, Digni publishes a list of closed cases of corruption. The numbers are gathered from the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s report on financial irregularities.
- Q1 – Myanmar: Very weak financial management and internal control with local partner. NOK 1.521.865 is paid back to Norad.
- Q1 – Cambodia: Embezzlement with local partner. NOK 1.785 is paid back to Norad.
- Q1 – Liberia: Embezzlement with local partner. NOK 34.330 is paid back to the project.
- Q2 – Cambodia: Payment for hand-out of food, and nepotism, with local partner. NOK 533 is paid back to the project.
- Q3 – DR Congo: Burglary and theft with local partner. NOK 2.458 is paid back to the project.
- Q2 – Liberia: Embezzlement with local partner. NOK 2.052 is paid back to the project.
- Q4 – Sierra Leone: Burglary with the local partner. NOK 1.841 is paid back to the project.
- Q4 – Vetnam: Undocumented costs with local partner. NOK 383 is paid back to the project.
- Q4 – Kenya: Burglary with the local partner. NOK 3.158 is paid back to the project.
- Q4 – Liberia: Theft with the local partner. NOK 2.783 is paid back to the project.
- Q1 – China: Embezzlement with the local partner. NOK 222.461 is paid back to Norad.
- Q1 – Ecuador: Embezzlement and corruption with the local partner. NOK 18.385 is paid back to Norad.
- Q1 – Sengal: Prepaid equipment not delievered to the local partner. NOK 464.065 is paid back to Norad.
- Q2 – Africa: Employees with the local partner of CHRISCH in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania did systematically embezzle of project funds over several years. Costs accounted for without valid documentation. NOK 2.546.365 is paid back to Norad.
- October – Botswana: Burglary and theft of two checks from local partner with subsequent withdrawals from bank. 99.978 NOK refunded to Norad.
- Oktober – Kenya: Embezzlement by local employee. 1089 NOK refunded to Norad.
- Desember – Mosambik: Computer theft at local partner. 590 NOK refunded to Norad.
Digni had no closed corruption cases this year.
- June – Madagascar: Embezzlement by a local partner. 2,159 NOK refunded to Norad.
- September – Ivory Coast: Embezzlement by a local partner. 148 NOK refunded to Norad.
- October – Ethiopia: Improper payments made by a local partner. 79,430 NOK refunded to Norad.
- November – India: Defaults on two occasions by a local partner. 329,451 NOK refunded to Norad.
- November – Uganda: Embezzlement by a local partner. 6,606 NOK refunded to Norad.
|Case Closed||Country||Amound Paid Back||Reaction|
|jan.14||Peru||64.796||Embezzlement. The people involved were dismissed.|
|jan.14||Ethiopia||5.918||Embezzlement/theft. The suspected is reported to local authorities.|
|may.14||Madagascar||19.674||Unsatisfactory documentation of payments by a local partner.|
|jun.14||Vietnam||47.030||Fraud/forgery by a local partner. Risk-reducing measures.|
|dec.14||India||23.889||Unsatisfactory accounting by a local partner.|
|dec.14||Mongolia||720||Wrongful travel allowance.|
|Case Closed||Country||Amount Paid Back||Reaction|
|jun.13||Ethiopia||18.639||Embezzlement. The people involved were dismissed.|
|Case Closed||Country||Amount Paid Back||Reaction|
|sep.12||Mongolia||35.715||Defalcation by manager. The case is handled in accordance with Mongolian law. The funds are paid back.|
Are you looking for a simple course on corruption and how to prevent it? Digni and Wycliffe Norway have developed a simple, free and grassroots-based anti-corruption course together.
The course has been launched in a new edition in 2016!
The course is recommended because:
- Everyone can participate. The course avoids using complicated words, and explains important terminology. This way, anyone can participate without any particular expertise.
- You can hold the course yourself. It’s not necessary to hire someone to hold the course, but you can download the material and do it yourself. There is a manual for the course holder.
- The course can be customised. Is it too long or too short? Alternatively, are you interested in using just parts of the material? You can edit the material you find yourself. For example, we recommend making the case-related tasks more relevant for the culture they will be used in.
- It is for free.
The anti-corruption course was first developed to be used in project work in development countries, but the material is universal, and can therefore be used anywhere.
You can see and download the videos included in the course on Digni’s Vimeo-page, or below.
The course is available in English, Spanish and French. We recommend translating the course into local languages.