The leader of a Norwegian association related to aid work was arrested by the police on Wednesday morning. The person in question is charged with fraud of 56 million aid kroner.
The arrest took place when the now accused person was on his way to a meeting at the Ministry of Climate and Environment in Kongens gate in Oslo, public prosecutor in Henrik Horn informs VG on Wednesday night.
It was Filter Nyheter that first mentioned the case.
The arrest took place at the entrance to the ministry’s premises, he says
– Økokrim has today carried out an action where the general manager of the association was arrested. The person in question is being questioned now, and it may take time, he said The stock exchange earlier Wednesday.
Ecocrime has charged the person in question with gross fraud of aid funds, with a penalty of up to six years.
The person is suspected of having provided incorrect accounting information to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Ministry of Climate and the Environment.
This should have enabled the payment of up to NOK 56 million in the period 2016–2020, Økokrim states.
– NOK 56 million is a fairly large amount in the Norwegian context, and this is a relatively large case according to Norwegian conditions, says Horn.
The case has been investigated since last autumn, when the Ministry of Climate and the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted a joint review.
The accused is willing to give an explanation, Horn informs VG.
He says that the person in question has been in several interrogations during the day on Wednesday.
Horn says that he can not go into what the accused has explained, or how he approaches the question of guilt.
Demands the funds repaid
– We can confirm that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reported the association in question to the police because we believe there are financial irregularities on their part, says Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde to VG.
– This was done in parallel with a similar review from the Ministry of Climate and the Environment, which has also provided grant funds to the association.
Now the ministries are demanding the money back:
– The payments were stopped last year, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Climate and the Environment have demanded subsidy funds repaid.
According to Filter, the ministries are demanding a repayment of 12.7 million after they discovered in the spring of 20202 that all project accounts were incorrect and that the “non-profit” organization had in fact made a profit for several years.
VG has been in contact with the Ministry of Climate and the Environment. They say that this is a police case and refer to Økokrim for statements in the case.