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Food for thought

Getting to the root of the problem

Widespread misconduct in an aid organisation: truth and consequences

Our client, a private volunteer organisation, was approached by local partners and anonymous sources who revealed kickbacks to local officials and other allegations of misconduct. In turn, the organisation asked PwC to investigate and verify these allegations of misconduct.

The organisation provides support for underprivileged people working in local food sectors in Africa and Latin America, generating sustainable income for people in the community. A Swiss team from PwC flew to the client’s headquarters to conduct groundwork.

First, they collected and reviewed physical and electronic documents and conducted extensive interviews with employees. Findings revealed that most payments were made through a single bank account. Accounting was done in a single Excel file. Data lost due to a software crash made tracing actions and responsibilities impossible. Employees were paid on the spot and did not have work contracts, and social expenses were paid only for some.

Investigation of local partners found similar practices. A single file or a written log was used for accounting. Expenses were paid without explicit reasons or authorisation. Salaries paid were higher than salaries budgeted. Payments for equipment, hotels and restaurants could not be reconciled.

PwC made extensive recommendations. To name a few: procedures and rules for expense payments, salaries, spending on projects, communication and documentation; separation of head organisation and local partners; bank accounts with clear authorisations and allowances; accounting and project management software.

With responsible practices in place, the organisation can focus on its mission of supporting the underprivileged via local food sectors. Social justice is the result of truth and consequences. Food for thought.


Forensics Technology Solutions

When a crisis of integrity such as allegations of fraud and corruption comes up, we respond immediately. Our core forensic experts travel straight to the site to investigate. Back at our forensics lab in Zurich, our colleagues from Forensics Technology Solutions trained in acquisition and analysis of electronic data set to work and our legal experts review files as they come in.

Forensic Technology Solutions Switzerland has conducted large and complex global investigations and disclosure exercises. We are a special tech team within PwC Switzerland connected to the global PwC Forensics network with more than 3,000 investigators and forensic accountants in 75 countries.

It all comes down to experience, expertise, capacity – and trust.

Are you a tech sleuth? We’re always looking for bright, inquisitive talent to join our Forensics Technology Solutions Team. Apply now!

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