The Foreign Ministry’s corruption fighters started their hunt for misuse of funds four years ago, on the initiative of Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim. So far, they have disclosed 37 cases of corruption and other irregularities, and various organisations and individuals have had to pay back a total of NOK 23.9 million to the Norwegian treasury.
Mr Solheim commented, “I am convinced that transparency and openness regarding the issue of misuse of funds is our best weapon in the fight against corruption.”
Most of the cases involve misuse of funds in Africa or Asia. The overview also includes other cases such as complaints relating to visa applications. The report gives details of the 37 cases that have led to action being taken. You can read the report here.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “The overview we are presenting today shows that our zero tolerance policy for all forms of financial irregularities is real. We follow up all reports of possible irregularities in a systematic way. Under our policy of zero tolerance, we follow up all reports regardless of how small the amount may be.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will update the overview every three months. The Foreign Service Control Unit is working systematically to uncover misuse of any funds the Storting – the Norwegian parliament – has allocated to the Ministry, as well as funds handled by Norad (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation), Norfund (Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries) and FK Norway (Fredskorpset).
“This shows that our systems have become much better and that we are uncovering irregularities that we would not have discovered before. The aim is to uncover as much corruption as possible and ensure that funds really are used as intended. There will always be some cases that go unreported, but we have far better control than we had before. And the fact that there is greater likelihood of being caught has in itself a strong preventive effect,” said Mr Solheim.
Anyone who has any suspicion of financial irregularities should notify the Ministry or use its external whistleblowing channel. Read more about the Ministry’s zero tolerance policy on corruption here: www.regjeringen.no/upload/UD/Vedlegg/null_e.pdf