WWF has issued the following statement related to an ongoing investigation into inappropriate expense reporting connected to four projects in its Tanzania office:
In December 2011, WWF commissioned Ernst & Young for an independent investigation to examine allegations of inappropriate expense reporting in its office in Tanzania. The investigation is ongoing.
Upon discovery of the issue, WWF notified donors and other stakeholders and immediately implemented standard operating procedures designed to insulate donors from losses. WWF has committed to cover any unrecovered amounts.
WWF has also taken immediate disciplinary action. Thus far, 13 employees have left the organization, along with two managers who had oversight responsibility.
The issues discovered concern dishonest expense reports submitted by some staff associated with four projects. While the investigation is ongoing, current estimates indicate the total exposure at approximately US$200,000. The total budgets for the four projects in question is $US15.4 million.
WWF continues to actively investigate all facts and has installed a caretaker management team of experienced staff to oversee the office and ensure that productive work continues while the investigation proceeds.
WWF has a zero tolerance policy on fraud and corruption and takes all allegations of misappropriation very seriously. WWF holds itself fully accountable for careful stewardship of the funds entrusted to us and for effectively utilising those funds to achieve real and lasting conservation results.
WWF supports many important projects throughout Africa, including work in Coastal East Africa, Congo Basin, Namibia, and Madagascar - all of which are making great progress towards our conservation goals. This incident is distressing, but we will not allow it to diminish the important work being done in this part of the world. We will continue to closely monitor the progress of that work, as well as this investigation and the corrective measures being instituted.