DevWin – which stands for “Development with Integrity” – was launched to help international NGO’s that operate in high-risk environments to better navigate fraud and corruption risks, including how to better identify and prevent them and how to comply with their funder’s compliance and reporting requirements, without putting their funding relationships at risk.
DvWin personnel were retained to assist in responding to the following actual events, which illustrate the problems faced by many NGOs that are ill-equipped to deal with them:
Several international humanitarian NGOs operating in the Middle East recently fell victim to an organized criminal network that targeted the billions of dollars in humanitarian aid distributed in the region.
The network, operating through shell companies quickly set up to exploit the huge demand for aid-related goods and services, bribed local NGO employees with lavish entertainment, gifts and cash payments in exchange for high-priced contracts, often for substandard products – or no product at all. Among the goods delivered were food kits that contained portions of sand and pebbles rather than the required nutritional content. Other bad actors diverted up to 40% of goods and services intended for eligible refuges to third parties for resale at a profit.
The victim NGOs had not been trained to recognize and respond to the many red flags of the above schemes and as a result were exposed to very serious losses, in some cases for several years. Several NGOs were reluctant to report the losses to their funders, and others withheld information when the funders inquired. This created an entirely new set of problems, exposing the uncooperative NGOs to consequences, including substantial fines and penalties, suspensions and debarments, even more severe than the those caused by the underlying frauds.
To combat these problems, DevWin will offer practical training, including:
- How to detect and prevent the most common and costly fraud and corruption schemes faced by international aid organizations, including the offer of kickbacks and bribes, conflicts of interest, bid rigging and collusion by suppliers, the delivery of substandard goods and services, embezzlements and other misconduct by NGO staff, their local partners and suppliers.
- How to evaluate and respond to allegations or suspicions of fraud or corruption: what to do and what not to do if fraud is alleged; when and how to conduct an internal review or to outsource an investigation, and when and how to report possible fraud to funders in compliance with their requirements.
- How to build capacity to conduct internal investigations, including how to create a “Fraud Investigation Playbook” that covers how to put together the investigative team, the steps and the rules to follow to ensure fairness and effectiveness.
- How to identify fraud risks in standard audits and how to conduct special fraud audits.
In addition to training, DevWin can provide highly qualified and experienced consultants to conduct the following at cost-effective rates:
- Outsourced investigations when required for serious allegations of fraud and corruption and sexual harassment cases.
- Fraud risk assessments, including the adequacy of compliance programs and procurement systems (where most serious fraud risks occurs); an important step not only to reduce fraud risks but also to build trust and strong relationship with funders, even if fraud problems arise.
- Fraud audits, if fraud is suspected or alleged, but not substantiated.
All DevWin consultants have worked in the international aid and development community, and include experienced fraud investigators, Inspector General personnel, forensic auditors and fraud prevention specialists.