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.
- 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.|