1. Preventing Fraud and Corruption
AIPP has its own constitution, bylaws and core values, which shall be the basis for this zero-tolerance anti-corruption policy. This policy outlines the acceptable and non-acceptable behaviors of all AIPP officers and staff, as well as member-organizations and partners having direct project partnership with AIPP to ensure compliance with anti-corruption laws. These include compliance with all domestic and foreign laws prohibiting improper payments, gifts or incentives/inducements of any kind to and receive from any person, agencies including private and public sectors. This policy also applies while dealing with any government and its agencies. This policy can be revised as needed and agreed by the Executive Council (EC) and/or simple majority of the members to make it more relevant and appropriate taken into account changes within and outside AIPP. All members, partners and staff are required to comply with this policy.
1.1. Anti-corruption Policy in AIPP
The anti-corruption policy is an integral part of the overall governance system of AIPP.
1.1.1. Purpose of the policy
The main purpose of this policy is to promote and strengthen the measures to ensure accountability and transparency to combat corruption practices more efficiently and effectively in AIPP in line with national and international laws, policies against corruption.
1.1.2. Definition and Scope
The definition of Anti-corruption in this document is based on commonly applied by international financial institutions.
· “Bribery practice” means any offering, giving, receiving or soliciting, directly or indirectly, of anything of value to improperly influence the actions or decisions of another party to gain and retain the vested interest. Anything of value includes cash, gifts and courtesies.
· “Corrupt practice” means abuse of any entrusted power for personal gain and financial benefit in both private and public services and businesses undermining good governance and the rule of law.
· “Facilitative Payments” means small sums paid to government officials or any other parties to facilitate or expedite the action or routing.
· “Fraudulent practice” means any action intended to deceive another party in order to improperly obtain a financial or other benefit or avoid an obligation
· “Collusive practice” means any secret agreement/arrangement between two or more entities without the knowledge of a third party, designed to improperly influence the actions of the third party
· “Coercive practice” means impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or its property, or persons closely related to a party, to improperly influence the actions of that party
· “Reprisal” means any act taken against an AIPP staff or other entity for their revelation of violations to or non-compliance with AIPP regulations and rules by an individual or entity
· “Whistle-blower” means any AIPP staff or any third party who reveals corruption in any AIPP activity/project/programme by contacting either anonymously or openly to the concerned authority of AIPP
· “Whistle-blower protection” means measures taken to ensure that anyone who reveals fraud and corruption in AIPP operations is protected from reprisals
The scope of this policy does not cover ethical conduct or procedural lapses of staff and consultants that do not fall within the scope of corrupt, fraudulent, collusive or coercive practices as defined above (e.g. harassment, mismanagement, disrespectful behaviour and breaches of legal and contractual obligations not involving fraud, corruption, coercion or collusion). Other policies and practices of AIPP remain applicable in dealing with such lapses with appropriate sanctions or remedies.
1.2. AIPP Staff, Individuals and Project/activity Partners
AIPP will apply a zero-tolerance policy where it has determined through an investigative process that its staff, consultants or project/activity partners have engaged in fraudulent, corrupt, collusive or coercive practices. “Zero tolerance” means that AIPP will pursue all allegations falling under the scope of this policy and that appropriate sanctions will be applied where the allegations are substantiated. AIPP will enforce a range of disciplinary measures and sanctions for all such cases, in accordance with applicable AIPP rules and regulations and contractual provisions. Such measures will include referral to the competent national authorities where warranted. Where such cases where concerned individuals are employed by another entity, AIPP will take all possible steps to ensure that the other entity takes appropriate actions in a manner consistent with this policy. AIPP will continue to improve its internal controls so as to ensure that it is effective in preventing, detecting and investigating fraudulent, corrupt, collusive and coercive practices pertaining to its staff, consultants or project/activity partners and dealings with governments. It will take all possible actions to protect individuals and agencies from reprisals that submit allegations of corrupt practices in its activities and operations and individuals subject to unfair or malicious allegations.
1.3. Prevention and Detection
The framework of internal controls is the organization’s main shield against fraud and corruption in its operations. In this regard, AIPP’s control processes for the prevention and detection of irregular practices have developed over time in line with its changing operational modalities and exigencies. The increasing expansion of AIPP’s project partnership with members and networks, its expanding field presence and hiring of consultants are developments that have prompted the strengthening of such control processes in recent years.
AIPP rules and regulations, legal instruments and control processes (including internal check and balance of finance management and external audit) define and enforce the parameters of proper conduct for staff, consultants, and project partners, and constitute prevention and detection controls against the incidence of fraud and corruption. The present prevention and detection framework has been largely shaped by a series of recent initiatives. The ongoing initiative (2013) of systematizing the administrative management system, improving the staff supervision policies and procedures are shaping more ethical and accountable collective culture through competency-based recruitment practices, revamped performance evaluation, training, capacity building and better human resource management, and an AIPP-specific code of conduct clearly defining acceptable bounds of ethical behaviour of AIPP staff. These are all elements of the revised Operational Manual of the AIPP Regional Secretariat issued in 2013. The revised financial management policy and guideline and training Manual for AIPP staff and project partners along with capacity building on finance management has created improved capabilities for more transparent and readily accessible information on transactions, and streamlined and more effective controls over financial and procurement actions. AIPP has also introduced an asset liability management framework dealing with misuse, damage or loss of property by any staff.
1.4. Further Steps
Any society and organization is susceptible to corruption even if there is a well-established checks and balances system in place. Corruption may occur anywhere, if there is no proper vigilance and effective counter measures. Notwithstanding recent improvements, AIPP also recognizes that, in keeping with evolving good practices, further development of such controls and counter measures will be necessary to ensure effective check and balance, full adherence to a zero-tolerance policy. This will include incorporating these policies into legal and procedural documentation (where not already reflected); issuing appropriate guidance to AIPP members, staff, project partners and individuals. Time, determination and consistency are important for effective execution of anti-corruption policies.
The Executive Council has the overall responsibility in overseeing the compliance with the anti-corruption policy. In particular, the Chairperson will be responsible for monitoring the overall compliance with the anti-corruption policy of the secretariat. Likewise, the Head of AIPP’s partner organizations are responsible for monitoring compliance with the anti-corruption policy in their respective organizations.
1.6. Communication and Orientation
The anti-corruption policy will be communicated to all AIPP members, partners and staff to comply with the policy. AIPP members and partners, if necessary, will translate the policy in their national languages. An orientation will be given to the staff and members/partners on the anti-corruption policy, as appropriate such as during the inception workshop meetings for project partners and in the meeting of programme committees. The anti-corruption policy statement will be available in the AIPP websites. The policy statement shall be published in the annual reports.
1.7. Implementation of Anti-corruption policy
Figure: Flow chart for implementation of Anti-Corruption Policy in AIPP
1.7.1. Complaints Channels
All suspicions of economical frauds, bribery and corruption should immediately be reported directly to the President of the AIPP Advisory Board, through confidential channels established by AIPP. The anonymity of the whistleblower will be respected and protected.
For this purpose, the following means of communication for confidential reporting will be established:
· A confidential anti-corruption hotline and an e-mail address to be managed by the President of the AIPP Advisory Board has been set up for confidential reporting. All corrupt practices and information on any allegation will be reported to President of the AIPP Advisory Board through these channels. S/He will involve 2-3 Board members in the consultation process. The telephone number and email address will be provided to all secretariat members, communicated to all members and partners and also publicized in the annual report of AIPP, websites and others. Special measures will be put in place to ensure adequate security in the operation of these channels.
· A simple complaint format will be developed, circulated to members and partners and also posted in the websites of AIPP. Whistleblowers are encouraged to use the complaint format for providing the necessary information but in their own discretion. The format is provided so as to enable the AIPP investigation body to act without hindrances (ensuring that they have enough information to proceed with their investigation). The investigation committee (IC) may seek additional information in the process of the investigation.
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1.7.2. Investigation Committee (IC)
On receipt of any complaints of alleged corruption or suspicion of indulging in corrupt practices, the President of the AIPP Advisory Board will call the other advisory board members (minimum of 3 members of the board) to assess/evaluate the allegation.If the Board deems that the complaint is legitimate or there’s merit, Investigation Committee will be formed. The IC will be constituted within two weeks of the receipt of the report.
Composition of the Investigation Committee (IC)
The composition of the IC, headed by the President of AIPP Advisory Board will be as follows:
· Three members of the Advisory Board
· At least two (2) individuals with integrity
· One Lawyer (recommended by the Board for cases with perceived serious legal implications).
1.7.3. Sanction Committee (SC)
A Sanction Committee (SC) will be constituted of not more than five (5) members from amongst the EC members and designed person from the AIPP Advisory Board. The Chairperson of the EC will head the SC together with the designated person in the AIPP Advisory Board along with three other members from the EC or the Board.
The SC will review the findings of the investigation and decide on appropriate sanctions to impose on the party found guilty.
Based on investigation and sanctions, the EC will take actions for the corrupt person/officer/entity accordingly. The EC can also deliver it to Secretary General for necessary actions particularly for corrupt practices within the secretariat, whereas EC will decide and take actions to matters related to AIPP members and partners in consultation with SG and Programme Committees, if necessary.
In most of the cases, EC and AIPP Advisory Board will handle the case of corruption internally in consultation with SG and secretariat, as appropriate. If the case is serious that needs legal process like Court case, the reliable lawyer shall be hired for additional legal support, as required.
1.8. Consequences of Violation
All forms of corruption will result in immediate investigation and appropriate action shall be taken against anyone found guilty. AIPP shall abide by procedures of due process in upholding the principle of innocence unless proven guilty. In the case of AIPP staff, the person found guilty of any form of corruption as defined above will be made known to all other staff, members and partners for preventive purposes in additional to other appropriate action.
1.9. Communication of the Report
All incidences of corruption or an act of suspected corruption will result in a report stating the severity and scope of the issue and actions taken thereafter. All reports shall be sent to the EC and the Advisory Board of AIPP.
AIPP will strictly maintain confidentiality of all information it receives, including the identity of anyone making a complaint or reporting a concern about wrongdoing.
AIPP commits to protect any whistleblowers, who in good faith has reported alleged fraud and corruption or who has otherwise cooperated with an investigation process, from retaliation.
However, if AIPP determines that the information it receives is malicious or deliberately false, AIPP will take appropriate action.
|What kind of concerns should be reported to AIPP?
AIPP investigates allegations of fraud and corruption in relation to the operation of AIPP Secretariat and in the implementation of projects and programme activities.
Concerns to report to AIPP include:
· Giving of bribes or gifts to government officials in violation of the law of the country by AIPP staff
· Fraud and corruption by AIPP staff members and individuals or entities implementing the projects or activities with AIPP
· Suspected contract irregularities and violations of AIPP’s procurement guidelines
· Kickbacks, bribes or gratuities for purposes such as influencing the awarding of contracts
· Personal Benefits and entitlement in awarding contracts
· Inappropriate giving and receiving of gifts in return for personal favors
AIPP staff members, AIPP members and partners are required to promptly report potential cases of fraud and corruption through the hotline number and/or email provided.