Guidelines for Reporting Waste, Fraud, or Abuse

Resource Government
May 17, 2013 — 1,110 views  
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Every ethical company or organization must focus to reduce or eliminate fraud, abuse, and waste. The intentional act of deceiving or cheating someone with an intention to harm them is fraud. Waste is a reckless or thoughtless act that results in squandering and mismanagement of resources. Abuse involves misuse of power and authority for personal financial gains or for the benefit of a business associate or a close family member. 

Responsibility for Reporting

Almost every stakeholder has the responsibility to report fraud, abuse, or waste on noticing any instance of them. More specifically, the management of the institution or staff may report any such incident if they have reasonable basis to infer that activities related to fraud, abuse, or waste have taken place. Common people, including citizens and students, also have the right and responsibility to report fraud, abuse, or waste. At the time of reporting such occurrences, a formal proof may not be required, but there must be a reasonable ground for believing that a violation has taken place.

The instances of reporting malafide intentions resulting in false accusations may likely result in a disciplinary action. Similarly, intentionally not reporting the same by an employee who has the knowledge of abuse, waste, or fraud could also lead to disciplinary action. So, it is with extreme sense of responsibility that cases related to waste, fraud, or abuse should be reported.

Protection from any Form of Retaliation

Not many people will come forward to report abuse, fraud, or waste if some form of protection against retaliation is not guaranteed to them. Protection against retaliation is offered by the state law, according to which retaliation or discrimination against employees reporting dishonest actions is prohibited. Similarly, they cannot be discriminated against when they cooperate with the investigating agency or the auditors. In case a person discriminates someone who reports a dishonest act or cooperates with investigating personnel, they shall be liable for committing an offense equivalent to a class A misdemeanor. 

While every effort may be taken to keep the reported information confidential, it may not be practically possible all the time. But there can be occasions when the alleged discrimination may not be sustained. In other words, the person alleging discrimination or retaliation must be able to show that the discrimination has taken place and have a substantial basis.

Method of Reporting

Every organization has the system of reporting set in place. Generally, an employee who has reasonable ground to believe that a fraud, abuse, or waste has taken place is expected to report the event to an official who could be the department head or the supervisor. Some organizations have internal auditors to receive complaints on abuse, fraud, or waste.

In case the instance of abuse, fraud, or waste involves the immediate superior or the supervisor, the employee is expected to report the matter to the next level official or the supervisor at the highest level. The employee who comes across one of these incidents should not investigate on their own for it could influence the formal investigation.  

The supervisor on receiving the notice of fraud, waste, or abuse will forward the matter to the internal audit team, the president, the vice president, or the internal campus police.

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