TeliaSonera said its ‘Speak-Up Line’ – an innovative scheme introduced last year to encourage employees to flag wrongdoing – helped uncover “potentially fraudulent transactions” involving former senior level employees at Kcell, its Kazakhstan subsidiary.
TeliaSonera admitted last year it may have broken laws in various Eurasian countries, so is naturally keen to show willingness about weeding out corruption. The confidential Speak-Up Line system is one way of demonstrating that.
The Nordic operator says 92 cases were reported last year through the whistleblowing scheme, and related to a wide variety of suspected incidents, including “conflicts of interest, corruption, embezzlement, procurement fraud and HR matters”.
As well as the Kcell investigation, other results from the whistleblowing scheme involve “disciplinary actions taken concerning seven employees in four business units following investigations into breaches of the Code of Ethics and Conduct.”
Also, the operator said “several third party relationships have been reviewed and cancelled following findings that contracts had been entered in breach of standard procurement processes, possibly to support embezzlement of funds.” TeliaSonera stressed that it is now focusing on reviewing its third party relationships across the organisation and strengthening procurement processes to prevent such breaches.
“It’s very encouraging to see that our employees react against unethical behaviour and dare to raise issues though the Speak-Up Line,” said Michaela Ahlberg, chief ethics and compliance officer for the Scandinavian operator.
“We realise that providing the Speak-Up Line is not enough on its own, employees and stakeholders need to trust the system to submit the report. We are continuously raising awareness and are transparent in our communication to maintain the highest level of trust in the organisation.”