No organization is immune to corruption and other irregularities, but SCA is at particular risk as Afghanistan is one of the world's most corruption-prone countries. SCA is very aware that corruption pervades public and private structures, with strong links to the criminal economy, and exerts a serious impact on our target groups' everyday lives. In the end, corruption means that human rights are disregarded.
Both donors and recipients in rural Afghanistan, as well as authorities, often state that SCA operations are efficient and that the organization is vigilant against corruption. SCA feels it is vital to maintain this situation and this can only be achieved through a combination of efficiency at work, strong defence of our target groups' rights, and zero tolerance of corruption.
SCA's activities against corruption are regulated in its Anti-corruption Policy. SCA defines fraud and corruption as, among other things:
Corrupt behaviour: abuse of position and influence for an individual's own benefit by offering, giving, receiving or requesting, directly or indirectly, something of value in order to benefit another party or influence its actions.
Fraud: to act or refrain from acting, in a manner that knowingly or recklessly misleads for an individual's own benefit or in order to avoid an obligation. Fraud may include misappropriation of funds or assets, forgery, theft, nepotism, concealment of material facts or any misuse of funds for purposes other than specified in donor agreements.
Pressure and coercion: to degrade or damage a party or his/her property, or threaten it, in order to influence behaviour.
All the areas at risk of corruption in Afghanistan are also relevant to Swedish conditions, as well as the management of funds raised and the organisation's assets.
As a complement to regulation and control, SCA has whistleblower systems both in Afghanistan and in Sweden. All employees are required to report suspected irregularities, and here members, target groups, partners and the general public play an important role.
Reporting suspected corruption or other irregularities
- Reports of suspected corruption can be made in several ways.
- An e-mail can be sent to email@example.com. The message may be written in Swedish or English.
- Employees at the SCA office in Kabul can submit a written report via a special mailbox in the administration building.
Employees or members who are closer to the SCA field or project office may submit a report in a sealed envelope to the employee with the right to register items with the SCA internal courier service. The package is to be addressed to the Corruption Prevention Committee (CPC) and left in the mailbox as above. The person submitting the report must attach sufficient relevant data to enable the monitoring of the case. The report must include a description of the incident, if the case is not clear, also a justification as to why the incident constitutes an irregularity. Time and date information, as well as the names of anyone involved facilitates monitoring. Any documentation to be attached if possible.
The individuals submitting the report should state their names and contact details. Unfortunately SCA has limited capabilities as concerns following up anonymous complaints, and will not act on anonymous accusations unless there are special reasons for anonymity given. If the report is made anonymously, proof or strong evidence of fraud or corruption must be presented. SCA strives to fully protect whistleblowers from negative consequences. If contact information is enclosed, SCA will send an acknowledgment of receipt of the report.
The Corruption Prevention Committee consists of SCA's CFO, Head of Internal Audit and the Head of Program Implementation.
Management of corruption cases after report
On notification of well-founded suspicion or proven cases of fraud or corruption, the Corruption Prevention Committee will inform SCA management. This information must include:
- A description of the case, everyone involved, its scope, steps taken to investigate and resolve the incident, recommended disciplinary action and/or criminal penalties. This description is to be supported, where possible, by appropriate documentation such as written statements, copies of documents, etc.
- If appropriate, recommended action for recovery of lost funds.
- An estimate of the extent to which SCA rules and control routines have been circumvented, and a description of how this was possible.
- Proposals for how in-house guidelines, procedures and controls could be strengthened to prevent any recurrence.
- How and when the case is expected to be dealt with and the measures taken.
In all cases of confirmed fraud or corruption SCA will always:
- With drive and determination, attempt to regain any lost assets.
- Take any appropriate internal disciplinary action.
- Strengthen routines and internal controls in order to avoid repetition.
- Inform the SCA Board of Directors on the incident and the measures planned in the case.
- Inform Sida and other donors concerned on the incident and the measures planned in the case
Protection of whistleblowers
All information sent by mail or e-mail must be managed confidentially. After CPC conclusion and decision in the matter, the underlying material initially submitted will be destroyed.
CPC is required to protect the person making the report by never disclosing his/her identity to any third party, and if necessary implementing measures to prevent reprisals.
CPC will also propose how to manage cases where monitoring provides evidence that the person reporting did not act in good faith, but reported with intent to harm another person or otherwise mislead the committee for personal gain or revenge. This is in order to provide protection for individuals who are wrongly accused of fraud or corruption.