It is busy times at our office in Dhaka. It is time for the yearly audit to take place. Last fall the Swedish "Riksrevisionsverket", a governmental institution, published results after an investigation into how Swedish NGOs canalize aid money to their partner organization.
The investigation team looked at small organizations, rather than larger donor agencies. The report showed that many small NGOs have a hard time fulfilling the demands of the Swedish audit system. For me, being in charge of budget and book-keeping here at our office in Dhaka, the report pointed out issues that I learnt from and that we have taken into consideration in our work here. The report thus making this years audit even more interesting.
It is widely known that Bangladesh is a country with widespread corruption, within almost all spheres of society. My strategy is always to pretend that I simply don't understand when I have a feeling that someone wants a bribe. Actually it always works and I am proud to say I have never paid a bribe here.
But after a day with the audit guy I just had to ask. I was careful in addressing the question, afraid of being misunderstood. But I just had to ask how an audit firm in one of the most corrupt countries in the world handles the issue of corruption. The answer was kind of interesting.
When paying a bribe you somehow account for that under a head in your book-keeping called something like "business promotion" or "necessary fees". You show this figure to the audit firm and explains approximately whom you have paid and how much. (excerpt)
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