On September 3, 2010, the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada (the Office) received a protected disclosure of wrongdoing pertaining to the actions of a Director General (DG) from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The discloser provided the Office with copies of emails between the DG and outside parties. Based on the contents of these emails, it appeared that the DG maintained professional relationships with the outside parties and that he was being remunerated for non-CIDA related activities.
After a detailed analysis of the information initially provided, an investigation was commenced on May 13, 2011. The discloser was unable to meet with the Office until July 2012. This investigation examined whether the DG committed wrongdoing as defined in paragraphs 8 (b), (c) and (e) of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (the Act):
(b) A misuse of public funds or a public asset;
(c) A gross mismanagement in the public sector; and
(e) A serious breach of a code of conduct.
The investigation found that:
- The DG misused public assets by:
- Instructing administrative staff to complete tasks related to his private business activities; and
- Using CIDA’s network and property, including the printer, scanner, fax, telephone and email to conduct private business activities.
- The DG breached the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service by:
- Placing himself in conflict of interest situations on numerous occasions by engaging in private business activities, and at times, accepting private business contracts with an organization that also deals with the government;
- Failing to disclose the private business activities to the appropriate supervisor by means of a Confidential Report or any other mechanism;
- Using government property for non-official government use; and
- Demonstrating willful disregard for obligations as a public servant, thereby violating the “ethical values” of the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.
- The DG’s actions constitute gross mismanagement in the public sector by:
- The repetitive and persistent nature of his use of CIDA assets, time and personnel to conduct private business activities; and
- The willful and deliberate nature of his behaviour.
The information gathered during the course of the investigation did not suggest any systemic issues of wrongdoing at CIDA, nor did it reveal any shortcomings or contributing factors on the part of the organization. Policies were in place and known by the DG who chose not to comply with them.
In accordance with section 22(h) of the Act, the Commissioner made two recommendations to the President of CIDA concerning the measures to be taken to prevent this type of wrongdoing from recurring.
The Commissioner is satisfied with President’s response to the recommendations and with the measures taken to date by CIDA to address the wrongdoing identified in the Case Report.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada