Case study - internal audit for an international tribunal – fully outsourced

The assignment
Our client, an international tribunal and part of the United Nations (UN) family, is funded by multiple international governments. They wanted to develop a sector leading risk focused internal audit function. 

Our work
First engaged in 2012, we have been successfully retained year on year. The client operates under UN policies and procedures. The organisation is unique in nature, structure and funding, which brings specific and distinctive risks. 

Using our experience of international tribunals and courts, we:

  • developed a risk management process that is used to support a fully risk-based internal audit service;
  • provide a consistent team who fully understand the nuances of the client;
  • developed a consistent contact plan that raises the profile of internal audit and provides a team available to support management remotely; 
  • undertook regular risk management workshops; and
  • help the preparation of the audit strategy and delivery of the annual plan.

Benefits to the client
The client benefits from immediate access to a team with UN and tribunal experience, who provide a full-service offering including cyber, data analytics, risk consulting and risk-based auditing to provide the annual assurance statement. 

Case study – Proactive Integrity Review – Proactive investigations

The assignment
Our client, an established international expert in logistics and the distribution of goods, were rapidly: changing their method of delivery. Moving to payment in lieu of goods using cash transfers and payment cards, they were keen to assess the risks and adopt a proactive approach. 

Our work
Working across the whole organisation at the direction of the Office of Inspector General, we undertook a high-level fraud risk assessment. Our assessment provided insight into the delivery mechanism to create, develop and write a comprehensive Proactive Integrity Review (PIR) manual designed to robustly focus on fraud risk and expected controls. 

We trained the client’s staff and undertook several pilot PIRs in Jordan, Lebanon, Malawi and Turkey. Our team conducted an assessment for fraud risk across the Yemen and Syrian supply chains, and provided support to the investigation teams, using data analytics of cash payment data, targeted investigations and process reviews.

Benefit to the client
Access to a highly experienced team with extensive expertise in the identification of fraud and abuse within cash transfer systems. This information provided meaningful guidance and allowed for robust early identification of control improvements and the development of a bespoke PIR programme. 

Case study - investigations for East African government – Reactive investigations

The assignment
We were engaged by the auditor general of an East African country to undertake a forensic investigation of all government accounts following evidence of abuse. The assignment, funded by the donor community, was to:

  • provide independent assurance;
  • identify and track misappropriations; 
  • provide the forensic evidence required to progress civil or criminal prosecutions; and
  • identify IFMIS security gaps, making recommendations which would improve and strengthen the IFMIS Security Policy.

Our work
We provided over 1,000 days of technical support between 2013 and 2018, which included:

  • analysing seven main government bank accounts;
  • manually reviewing over 360,000 unique transactions identified as high value, duplicate or suspicious;
  • tracing specific transactions;
  • undertaking price comparison exercises;
  • contacting third party suppliers; and
  • quantifying the level of over-charging linked to the deleted accounting entries and suspicious payments and over inflated procurements.

As a result, we issued subpoenas and court orders, preparing 59 case files to support law enforcement.

Benefits to the client
As a result of our work, various public reports were presented, and potential thefts of up to $42m were identified. Our work assisted local law enforcement agencies in assessing quantum for criminal benefit, securing successful convictions and recovering misappropriated assets which has since lead to more than 30 successful prosecutions. We made 56 recommendations which formed the basis for the World Bank country plan from 2015 onward.

The fraud is widely referred to as ‘Cashgate’ and was reported on by local and international media.

Case study - market research in Tanzania – Test purchasing

The assignment
An international financing institution (IFI) required support to undertake a market survey in Tanzania, following an audit that uncovered a significant variance between malaria medications shipped to health facilities and medications reported as disbursed to beneficiaries by the health facilities. 

Our work
Working closely with our RSM partners in Tanzania we completed the assignment with oversight from RSM UK. The assignment involved visiting 65 pharmacies and local markets in two regions to determine if any of the IFI financed medications were available for sale instead of being distributed for free at the health facilities. 

In consultation with the IFI investigation team, we agreed a plan to purchase medications at agreed locations. Each purchase was required to contain at least one blister pack of medications clearly displaying the batch number as well as the original packaging.

The team were also tasked with engaging with sales representatives to enquire about the source of the medication. They also approached other buyers to understand the motivation of reverting to illicit markets. 

The team visited 65 drug stores over a five-day period to make test purchases and identified that some stores were selling IFI drugs that should have been distributed freely.

Benefit to the client
Our work provided access to local resource with the necessary language skills and abilities to make test purchases. The report outlined the exact locations of each purchase site, information on the seller, the market and the date and time of the purchase to assure the chain of custody. 

Details of the batch numbers of each blister pack, a photograph and the price were also obtained, and the purchased medicine bought as evidence was submitted to the IFI investigation team using the chain of custody method provided.