Ministry for Foreign Affairs launched investigations concerning 17 cases of alleged misconduct in 2019

The financial statement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for 2019 includes 17 cases of misconduct and alleged misconduct concerning development cooperation. As a consequence of these cases of misconduct, a total of EUR 70,000 of the funds for 2019 are now subject to recovery action.

The number and scale of the cases of alleged misconduct in the financial statement of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2019 is about the same as in the previous years. Seven cases of alleged misconduct relate to bilateral development cooperation managed by the Foreign Service, seven cases were detected in cooperation by civil society organisations, one case relates to development cooperation not allocated by countries, and two to humanitarian aid.

Cases of alleged misconduct have been reported to the competent investigating authorities of the countries concerned. The actions taken to address the cases of alleged misconduct also include additional audits, close cooperation between donors and injured parties, and other relevant administrative procedures.

In 2019 the Ministry for Foreign Affairs also continued the processing of certain cases of alleged misconduct detected in the previous year.

Relating to misuse of development cooperation funds, a total of EUR 70,687 of the funds for 2019 are now subject to recovery action.

Measures taken to deal with misconduct in development cooperation

All those engaged in development cooperation activities are obligated to report any misuse of funds that they have detected. In addition, anyone can report their suspicion via the online service for reporting misuse.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs investigates all cases of alleged misconduct and funds that have been misused will be recovered. Alleged cases of misconduct are also reported to the National Audit Office of Finland and, if necessary, to the police.

In 2015-2019, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs received 109 reports of cases of alleged misuse. The scale of investigations varies a great deal: some cases are quickly proven unfounded while some may lead to a long chain of thorough investigations. If the suspicion concerns financial matters, an additional audit may be needed to establish the facts and make decisions. If misuse of funds is proven, the ministry will initiate recovery action.

The amounts involved in recovery actions have varied from EUR 30,000 to over a million. Investigating the cases of alleged misuse takes time, which is why the decisions concerning recovery are not always made in the same year when the alleged misuse was reported.

All decisions on claims for recovery are based on invoicing made by the Government Shared Services Centre for Finance and HR. The beneficiary is responsible for the implementation of the development cooperation project as a whole, including for any irregularities in the use of funds by their international partners.