A client came to us for assistance based on suspicions that local staff in one of its African offices had constructed a fraudulent scheme to skim money from the client’s procurement system. 

Specifically, the client suspected that these staff members had awarded contracts to non-existent companies and had grossly inflated contracts with other legitimate companies, with the promise of splitting and pocketing the mark-up.  The client faced obvious resistance when its internal auditors began questioning the in-country staff, and its internal investigation did not result in conclusive findings.

TDI developed a discreet, multi-pronged strategy to investigate the scheme without alerting the suspected individuals.  TDI collected intelligence regarding the motivations and actions of the  staff members who were believed to have perpetrated the fraud.  Simultaneously, TDI leveraged its local sources to investigate and pinpoint the vendors within the client’s supply chain network who colluded with these suspected staff members.  TDI dispatched local sources—who knew the local language and business customs—to conduct site visits of each vendor, no matter how remote the location.  Through this investigative step, TDI was able to: 1) confirm if the vendors existed or if they had the necessary operations to deliver on their contracts with the client; 2) collect intelligence regarding each vendor’s standard pricing to determine which vendors had overcharged the client; and 3) identify indications of collusion between the vendors and the client’s staff members.

TDI demonstrated that several of the client’s vendors were fake or otherwise did not have the capabilities to meet contractual obligations.  Additionally, a group of five vendors was found to have colluded to charge the client fees well above their typical rates.  TDI’s investigation also developed intelligence regarding discontent within the client’s local office—which certain staff members used to justify the fraud scheme—as well as regarding the internal procedures that these individuals manipulated to perpetuate the fraud.

Armed with TDI’s ground-level intelligence, the client determined which vendors it needed to dismiss and reconstituted its local management structure and governance to avoid future such fraud schemes.