December 2022 - Zambia

What happened: It was suspected that an NCA employee was requesting payment/kickbacks from suppliers and partners. During the course of the investigation into these suspicions, evidence was discovered that the employee had been working as a consultant for private sector companies whose business presented a conflict of interest vis a vis NCA’s own work. Furthermore, one of the partners staff had also worked on one of these consultancies and had used NCA project funds to support a field trip forming part of the work paid under the consultancy. NCA had not been informed of these consultancies and would not have approved that the employee would work on them whilst employed at NCA had a request been made.

What did we do: The local employee had their contract terminated for gross misconduct for non-disclosure of a conflict of interest.  The partner had their partnership agreement terminated for misuse of project funds. Norad’s share of the resultant financial loss was calculated to be NOK 5,521 and was subsequently repaid by the partner. The amount has been repaid by NCA to Norad.

What did we learn: The case has reinforced the importance of having established procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest.