PRESS STATEMENT: Misappropriation of DVB assets in the news network inside Burma

Investigations initiated by DVB, conducted by the PwC Forensic Services (PricewaterhouseCoopersAS), have revealed evidence of thefts of assets including cash, supplies, and equipment. The PwC investigations have also revealed assets bought privately by the involved trusted employees and probably financed through disloyal and possible fraudulent acts towards DVB.

The PwC Report will be delivered to DVB at the end of this week (December 23, 2011).  Based on the presentation of findings by PwC to DVB and the donor organizations, DVB has decided to formally file a report to the prosecuting authority in Norway, as there is probable cause of suspicion towards two trusted employees handling the news network inside Burma (operational and financial managers) for acting disloyal and probably fraudulent.

The DVB Board of Directors is of the opinion that the involved personnel have exploited a system based on trust and non audit trail cash handling.

The DVB news network inside Burma has since its establishment in 2006 received a total of NOK 16 million ($US2.7 million). The PwC forensic audit report will present an estimate of the proceeds of the disloyal and possible fraudulent acts.

The areas of these acts are misleading salary and cost reports, misuse of saving funds, retain of financial reports, manipulation of account information regarding investments, private investments etc. This implies that DVB journalists and families of jailed journalists did not get the payments they were entitled to.

The report will include advise to DVB on how to improve the internal control procedure to avoid such incidents in the future. There is no reason to believe that other parts of DVB have been involved. DVB Board of Directors therefore has scheduled to reinstate the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director of DVB as of 1 Jan 2012.

Background: In May 2011 DVB was made aware of possible asset misappropriation (theft of assets including cash or supplies and equipment by staff in trusted positions for their own benefit). DVB management conducted its own internal investigation over the following months. DVB management reported the findings to the Board of Directors and donor organisations at the beginning of September 2011.

In October 2011, PwC Forensic Services (PricewaterhouseCoopersAS) was retained as an external and independent consultant by DVB in order to conduct a forensic audit and to evaluate the internal control procedures. The PwC forensic audit has been focusing on the DVB Thailand (Mae Sot) office, which ran news network operations inside Burma.

Contact person DVB:  Harald Bøckman, Chairperson DVB, tel. +47 94 14 38 38, [email protected]

Contact person PwC: Partner Helge Kvamme, Leader Forensic Services, tel. +47 95 26 12 70, [email protected]