Guilty verdicts returned on all counts, except oneWashington, D.C., November 16, 2010
-- World Vision
applauds today’s ruling by the United States District Court, District of Columbia, which returned guilty verdicts against Joseph Bondo and Morris Fahnbulleh, two former WV Liberia employees, on several fraud charges. Fahnbulleh was found guilty on 14 charges including Conspiracy to Defraud the US Government, Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud and False Claims. Bondo was found guilty of 13 charges including Conspiracy to Defraud the US Government, Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, False Claims, and Tampering with a Witness. Bondo was found not guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud.
The violations were committed from January 2005 through February 2007 during implementation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Community Resettlement and Rehabilitation Project (CRRP) in Liberia.
The CRRP was designed to provide food and work for people emerging from the lengthy civil conflict in Liberia. World Vision was selected by Catholic Relief Services
as a sub-grantee for food distribution and food-for-work projects.
A 12-person jury deliberated three days. The U.S. Government prosecuted the case for four weeks and called several current and former World Vision employees – as well as USAID employees - to testify. Many of the witnesses travelled from Liberia.
We commend the efforts of the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the Department of Justice in prosecuting this case. World Vision reported the criminal behavior to Catholic Relief Services and fully cooperated with the U.S. Government from the outset of the USAID investigation and preparation for trial. We provided detailed documentation and informational interviews. We are grateful our efforts have been useful in bringing justice in this case.
World Vision deeply regrets the violations of U.S. law and the distress this fraudulent activity may have caused to donors and intended beneficiaries who have placed their trust in us. In addition to cooperating with the U.S. Government in its investigation and prosecution, World Vision also repaid to USAID all misappropriated funds.
World Vision works in some of the most difficult contexts around the globe where risk can never be eliminated. However, we continue to review and develop procedures and mechanisms to help mitigate as much risk as possible in order to better serve children and families in need. Some recent improvements include:
- Enhancing our international, 24/7 Integrity and Protection Hotline;
- Strengthening our ‘complaint and response mechanism’ in food project areas for community members; and
- Initiating surprise visits, where possible, to food distribution sites.
World Vision is committed to an on-going program of review, learning and improvement as it seeks to reduce the likelihood that events like this recur.About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. To learn more, visit www.worldvision.org