Purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines regarding fraud prevention and reporting. The policy applies to all faculty, staff and student employees of Clarke University.
Clarke University is committed to the highest standards of openness and accountability in all its affairs. A culture of honesty and opposition to fraud and corruption will be maintained. This policy outlines the principles in a commitment to detect, report and manage fraud and corruption. Further, this policy provides a means by which employees can voice their concerns about suspected fraud or corruption. It also outlines how the university will deal with such complaints.
This plan is implemented in the event suspicions of fraud or corruption have been raised. Fraud is defined as “the intentional distortion of financial statements or other records by persons internal or external to Clarke University that is carried out to conceal the misappropriation of assets or otherwise for gain”. Corruption is defined as “the offering, giving, soliciting or acceptance of an inducement or reward which may influence the action of another person”.
Fraudulent or corrupt acts may include:
- Systems Issues: where a process/system exists which is prone to abuse by employees.
- Financial Issues: where employees have fraudulently obtained money from the university.
- Equipment Issues: where the university’s equipment is used for inappropriate personal use.
- Other Issues: activities undertaken by employees of the university which may: be unlawful; against the university’s policies; fall below established standards or practices; or amount to improper conduct.
This is not an exhaustive list. If you are in doubt about the seriousness of a concern, advice and guidance can be obtained from the President or Vice President for Business and Finance.
- Harassment, Victimization or Retaliation: The university recognizes that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make. The university will not tolerate harassment, victimization or retaliation and will take action to protect those who raise a concern in good faith.
- Confidentiality: The university will do its best to protect an individual’s identity when he or she raises a concern and does not want his/her name to be disclosed. However, during the investigation process a statement by the individual may be required as part of the evidence.
- Anonymous Allegations: This policy encourages individuals to put their names to allegations. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but they will be considered at the discretion of the university. In exercising this discretion, the factors to be taken into account would include: the seriousness of the issues raised, the credibility of the concern, and the likelihood of confirming the allegation from attributable sources.
- Untrue Allegations: If an allegation is made in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against the originator. However, if malicious or vexatious allegations are made, action may be considered against the individual making the allegation. Malicious or vexatious allegations could result in disciplinary action including suspension and/or termination.
- Employee Actions: Employees are normally the first to realize that there is something seriously wrong. However, they may not express their concerns because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the university. They may also fear harassment, victimization or retaliation. Employees are encouraged to raise serious concerns within the university rather than overlooking a problem or contacting the media or other external bodies.
- Fraud Notification: Employees should contact their immediate supervisor, the Vice President for Business and Finance or the President. In instances where an employee is not comfortable with reporting a concern to the President or Vice President for Business and Finance, the Chair of the Audit Committee may be contacted. The nature of the complaint will determine the university’s course of action. The names of the members of the Board of Trustees and their committee assignments are posted on the university’s website.
If necessary, the Vice President for Business and Finance will notify the Account Administrator at the appropriate financial institution. Information to provide includes the check number, date, amount and endorsements. A copy of the front and back of the check will be made.
Where loss is substantial, legal advice will be obtained without delay. Legal advice should also be obtained about the prospects for recovering losses, where the perpetrator refuses repayment. The university will normally expect to recover costs in addition to losses.
The university accepts that those employees who reported the alleged fraud or corruption need to be assured that the matter has been properly addressed.
Within 5 working days of a concern being received, the President or Vice President for Business and Finance will write to the complainant:
- Acknowledging that the concern has been received;
- Indicating how he/she proposes to deal with the matter;
- Giving an estimate of how long it will take to provide a final response;
- Informing whether any initial inquiries have been made; and
- Informing whether any further investigations will take place and if not, why not.
Employees suspected of committing or involved in fraud or corruption may be suspended with pay or without pay during an investigation of allegations. The determination of suspension with or without pay will be dependent upon the seriousness of the allegation.
Various forms of disciplinary action will be taken against employees who are found to have committed or have been involved in fraud or corruption. Actions taken could include termination of employment and/or referral for legal action.
This policy will be reviewed every two years.