Workshop: Fraud Awareness and Prevention Workshop for USAID Implementing Partners & sub-Grantees

Date: March 27, 2019

Venue: Serena Hotel, Faisalabad

Guest Speakers: Mr. Matthew Rathgeber – Audit Director, Asia Regional Office, USAID Office of Inspector General; Mr. Saad Rashid – Executive Director TI-Pakistan; Mr. Jawad Aziz and Mr. Muhammad Riaz – Foreign Service National Investigators, USAID OIG; Mr. Muhammad Anwar Khan – Director (Legal), Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Punjab; Mr. Asim Jaleel – Deputy Director (M&E), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Islamabad; Mr. Amjad Majeed Aulakh – Director Investigations, NAB Lahore; Mr. Kashif Ali – Director, TI-Pakistan.

Summary:
Transparency International Pakistan in collaboration with USAID/OIG successfully conducted a workshop on “Fraud Awareness and Prevention” for USAID Implementing Partners and sub-Grantees on March 27, 2019 at Serena Hotel, Faisalabad.

The prime objective of the workshop appertained to raising awareness and understanding regarding fraud and corruption amongst the implementing partners and sub-Grantees of USAID funded projects working in the province of Punjab, Pakistan. The workshop provided the participants an excellent avenue to directly discuss their concerns and challenges with the representatives of USAID OIG, ACE, PPRA, NAB and TI-Pakistan in an interactive manner. It urged proactive participation from the audience to encourage vigilant reporting of fraud related instances they might have experienced in USAID funded projects to AFH Hotline. Approximately 40 participants from number of organizations attended the workshop. The event was also broadcasted live on Anti-Fraud Hotline Social Media page to engage AFH online audience.

After completing the registration process, the workshop commenced at 9:00 am with recitation of a passage from the Holy Quran. It was followed by a Welcome Note by Mr. Matthew Rathgeber, Audit Director, Asia Regional Office, USAID OIG. Mr. Matthew warmly welcomed all the attendees for their participation and gave an overview outlining the salient objectives of the workshop. He further elaborated on the subject of impact of corruption on public resources, institutions and businesses in the context of globalized economies. After the welcome note, Ms. Huma Ashar, Assistant Manager Project – Anti-Fraud Hotline briefly addressed the audience regarding a breakout discussion session which was to be held in second half of the workshop.

Moving on, Mr. Saad Rashid, Executive Director TI-Pakistan, gave an elaborate presentation on the objectives, operations and management of complaint handing mechanism under the Anti-Fraud Hotline project. During his presentation, Mr. Saad Rashid informed the participants that the Anti-Fraud Hotline has received more than 108,000 calls to date resulting in successful formulation of over 8,450 complaints since the inception of the project.

The next speaker Mr. Muhammad Riaz, Foreign Service National Investigator USAID OIG, who is also a certified fraud examiner, gave a presentation on ‘OIG – Investigations Fraud Awareness Briefing’. He started off by explaining the role of OIG and its responsibilities. Then, he explained different types of investigations that OIG carries out which are categorized as criminal, civil and administrative. He also shed light on a key subject of Conflict of Interest (COI) and its different types and incorporated real case scenarios to help audience understand how to avoid COI in implementation of their respective projects.

Later on, Mr. Jawad, Foreign Service National Investigator USAID OIG, proceeded with his session by presenting a well-documented case of a fake reporting in a completed project to explain the distinct forms of fraud USAID OIG has come across in the projects. In an interactive manner, Mr. Jawad took the audience through the psychology of a criminal mind and explained the factors that may enable someone to commit a fraud. He went on to discuss key areas with high instances of fraud such as Procurement and Fake Invoicing at length during the presentation. Mr. Jawad also explained the process as to how OIG receives complaints and maintains the integrity of complainant’s information by ensuring strict confidentiality of their identity. The session remained very interactive as participants shared their opinions as well as apprehensions regarding investigations and monitoring procedures of OIG.

Mr. Muhammad Anwar Khan – Director (Legal), Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), provided a comprehensive overview of the ACE institutional mandate, legal jurisdiction and operations across Punjab since its inception. Moreover, he discussed a number of ongoing investigations and case studies to explain the significance of recent developments that have shaped the evolution of ACE over the last decade. Mr. Muhammad Anwar also extended his cooperation to the participating organizations and encouraged them to bring to the attention of Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) the corruption related issues they may come across.

Moving on, Ms. Huma Ashar, Assistant Manager Project, Anti-Fraud Hotline gave a detailed presentation on Complaints Registration. She explained the different means of communications such as fax, email, website, SMS, WhatsApp etc which can be availed to register any complaint. She was also accompanied by Mr. Kashif Ali, Director, TI-Pakistan, who co-delivered an interactive session and shared some common scenarios that Anti-Fraud Hotline comes across in the implementation of the projects. He further elaborated on red flags that the implementing partners and sub grantees should look out for in order to identify and prevent corruption. He also encouraged the audience to vigilantly report any incidence of corruption to Anti-Fraud Hotline at the earliest. The presentation was primarily designed to help the audience understand the nuances of complaint registration process through use of actual complaints anonymized for this presentation.

The next session was conducted by Mr. Asim Jaleel – Deputy Director (M&E), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) who discussed the origins of PPRA regulations alongside elaborating the extensive scope of its operations. Besides an extensive discussion over lack of clarity and limitations with respect to procurement planning procedures in public entities and development sector, he also shared PPRA’s intention to make Procurement Planning obligatory for all government offices in near future. Moreover, he deliberated on multiple aspects of e-procurement and how it’s going to revolutionize the field of public procurement by ensuring increased efficiency, transparency and cost savings.

Before the breakout discussion session, Mr. Amjad Majeed Aulakh – Director Investigations, NAB Lahore, presented an overview of NAB’s organogram and explained the mechanism of complaint management at NAB. It was followed by the investigative mechanisms the agency has in place to deal with different types of corruption cases. He went on to explain the jurisdiction of NAB offices and also touched upon in detail their collaboration with USAID in order to curb corruption in the utilization of USAID funds across Pakistan. Mr. Amjad also shared his gratitude towards TI Pakistan for playing a crucial role in highlighting and reporting numerous cases of corruption that helped NAB in resolving them.

Moving on, Mr. Shamail Adnan Khan, Analyst Anti-Fraud Hotline, conducted the breakout discussion session based on a selected Case Study pertaining to fraudulent documents. The participants were engaged in an exercise which focused on pointing out discrepancies in Request for Quotations and fake invoicing. An interactive discussion followed as the participants were given a total of 20 minutes for discussion. The session was quite informative as it provided the participants an opportunity to ask questions from relevant subject specialist moderators. The discussion session was also highly interactive as the groups were diligent in pointing out the right answers.

A Q&A session was held at the end of the workshop which provided the implementing partners and sub-grantees an opportunity to share their concerns and to seek solution for the issues faced by them. Five representatives from USAID OIG, TI-Pakistan, PPRA and NAB answered questions from the participants.

Towards the conclusion of the workshop, Mr. Riaz, Foreign Service National Investigator USAID OIG extended his felicitations to everyone for their proactive participation. He urged them to avail maximum benefit of Anti-Fraud Hotline to report any kind of fraud and corruption they might come across. He also expressed his hope that the audience will apply the knowledge gained at the workshop to develop and institutionalize anti–corruption strategies to prevent fraud in their respective projects.