Sonke has a commitment to uphold legal and ethical standards. All members of staff, as well as consultants, contractors, partner organisations and any other person with a financial or fiduciary relationship with Sonke is expected to share this commitment.
Purpose of the policy
The purpose of this policy is to spell out clearly the way in which Sonke seeks to prevent acts of fraud, bribery and corruption. It also ensures that staff members, interns and consultants understand the serious nature of deceitful actions. Anyone found contravening this policy will be subjected to disciplinary action which may result in dismissal after following due process.
Scope of the policy
This policy applies to all employees, consultants, contractors and service providers, as well as any person who may be affected by Sonke’s business operations.
Fraud is used to describe such acts as deception, bribery, forgery, extortion, corruption, conspiracy, misappropriation of funds, as well as concealment of material facts in CVs, financial statements, reports and other relevant documents. For practical purposes, fraud may be defined as the use of deception with the intent to obtain financial gain or unfair advantage in ways that are unjust or illegal.
Bribery is the act of giving or receiving something of value in exchange for influence or action in return, that the recipient would otherwise not have. Essentially, bribery is offering to do something for someone for the expressed purpose of receiving something that is beneficial in exchange. It may be money, goods, privilege, payment, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to influence an action, vote, or to influence a person in an official or public capacity.
In general, corruption is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit. Corruption may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement.
Fraud, bribery and corruption of any type represents a threat to the reputation of Sonke and to the resources for which it is responsible. Sonke is therefore committed to conduct a thorough investigation of any case of fraud, bribery or corruption and to the elimination of these activities within the organisation.
This policy intends to:
- promote awareness among all staff members of the risk of fraud, bribery or corruption and the damage that these acts shall cause to the resources and/or reputation of Sonke;
- establish and maintain controls aimed at preventing and detecting fraud, bribery or corruption; and
- to take disciplinary action whenever fraud, bribery or corruption is discovered or suspected (refer to Disciplinary policy).
Sonke considers it the duty of all employees to act honestly and with integrity at all times, and to report any suspected irregular actions without delay to unit managers, senior management and/or the Co- Executive Directors. It is also the organisation’s policy that no employee will suffer as a result of reporting reasonably held suspicions about the actions of other employees of Sonke.
The senior management team of Sonke is responsible for identifying major risks to which Sonke, its work and activities are exposed to and to ensure that appropriate systems, procedures and controls are in place.
Responsibilities of employees
The Co-Executive Director, with the support of senior management and all other managers, are responsible for day-to-day management of the organisation, and for the maintenance of the systems and controls designed to minimize incidents of fraud within the organization. All managers are responsible for ensuring that, through a system of line management, employees are:
- aware of the risks of fraud, bribery and corruption; and
- familiar with the types of impropriety that might be expected to occur within their areas of responsibility and to be alert to any indications of irregularity.
Similarly, the Co-Executive Directors, senior management team and all managers are responsible for ensuring that employees comply with systems established to prevent and detect fraudulent activities, bribery and/or corruption. The senior management and H.R. Unit Manager are specifically responsible for the design, implementation, development and maintenance of systems to prevent and detect fraudulent activities, bribery and corruption. It is also the responsibility of the H.R. Unit Manager to maintain a register of reported cases of suspected fraud.
All employees have a duty to act honestly and with integrity at all times, and to report any suspected irregular actions without delay. An employee who is concerned about the actions of management and/or a colleague/s and suspects fraud, bribery and corruption has been committed or planned should not give the suspect any idea of their suspicions, as this would jeopardize an investigation. The details should be reported immediately by the employee to his/her direct line manager and to the H.R. Unit Manager, if for any reason the employee feels unable to discuss the matter with his/her direct line manager, it should be discussed with another member of the senior management team.
The manager to whom the act of suspected fraud, bribery and or corruption has been reported should inform the H.R. Unit Manager who would carry out the investigation into the allegation. In the event that one or more of the senior management is implicated in the suspected fraud, bribery and corruption, the incident should be reported to the Chairperson of the Board immediately.
Procedure for responding to reports of suspected fraud
If the Line Manager or H.R. Unit Manager concludes that an allegation of a suspected irregularity has substance, he/she must report the matter to the Co-Executive Director, who is responsible both for ensuring that an investigation is initiated and for determining the nature of the investigation. Such an investigation will aim to:
- establish the extent of the fraudulent act;
- identify the perpetrator; and
- determine whether other employees are involved.
The investigation shall consider whether a lack of adequate systems and internal controls allowed for fraud, bribery or corruption to be committed, or whether the problem arose due to the failure of management to ensure compliance with the existing systems.
If the investigation concludes that fraud, bribery or corruption arose from non-compliance with existing systems, on the part of management, those responsible will be subjected to disciplinary action. Serious negligence on the part of the SMT, any other manager or employee is considered grounds for dismissal after due process has been followed.
Anonymous reporting to the hotline
If an employee has reason to believe that fraud, corruption or bribery is taking place in the organisation and want to report it anonymously then they may report such information to the following email address and SMS number:
- Toll Free No: 080 033 3059
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- SMS: 33490
- Online: www.whistleblowing.co.za
It is the policy of Sonke to report all cases of fraud, bribery or corruption to the police, and to also seriously consider proceeding with criminal charges. Sonke shall make every effort possible to recover funds that the organisation has been defrauded of. Whether or not the matter is referred to the police, disciplinary action, which may result in dismissal, will be taken against the employee(s) concerned.
An allegation which proves to be unfounded and of malicious intent would be considered an act of gross misconduct on the part of the employee reporting the matter. Disciplinary action may result in dismissal against any employee making false and unsubstantiated allegations.
Confidentiality and Conclusion
Staff members should be assured that all information received will be treated with strict confidence and shall not be disclosed to third parties unless there is a legal obligation to do so.