in Norway, Tanzania

More corruption involving Norwegian REDD funding in Tanzania?

In 2006, an evaluation of Norwegian aid to Tanzania revealed that about US$30 million had been lost to corruption and mismanagement in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The money was about half of the total that Norway spent on a Management of Natural Resources Programme. This week, Norwegian aid is in the headlines again over allegations of corruption in Tanzania.

Norway supported the MNRP from 1994 to 2006 to the tune of US$5 million a year. An independent evaluation in 2006 found that money was syphoned off through buying overpriced or non-existent goods and services. Procurement rules were not followed. More than half of Norway’s money went on workshops and “capacity building” exercises. Large amounts of money were lost to the “per diem culture” that surrounds aid-agency funded workshops in Africa.

Norway stopped aid to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. But after Tanzania returned a small part of the missing money, Norway turned the aid flow back on, committing US$100 million over five years for forest climate projects in Tanzania.

UPDATE – 8 February 2013: Inger Naess, Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam wrote to REDD-Monitor today. Her email can be downloaded here (pdf file, 61.1 kB) – see also my comments below. On the MNRP, she commented as follows:

It is not correct that almost half of the funds disbursed to the MNRP was lost to corruption and mismanagement. It is important to separate what is actually misuse of funds and what some people think is not appropriate use of development aid, such as paying allowances for participation in workshops. Payment of allowances is legal and budgeted for in national budgets in Tanzania and many other countries. Payment of allowances may not always be “value for money” – but it is not illegal. The practice of payment of allowances is on the decline in Tanzania as in many other countries. All misused funds and funds not properly accounted for (about NOK 11 million or US$2 million) were repaid by The Government of Tanzania to the Government of Norway.

This time around, Norway wanted Tanzania-based NGOs to implement the REDD projects. WWF were hired to work on a project titled “Strengthening Capacity of Environmental Civil Society Organizations”. Last year WWF was embroiled in a corruption scandal in Tanzania and recently returned just over US$120,000 to Norway.[*]

Norway chose to work with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) to implement a US$3.9 million project titled, “Piloting REDD in the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves”. The contract between Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and WCST can be downloaded here (pdf file, 313.3 kB) and the annexes to the contract here (pdf file, 2.7 MB).

The four-year REDD project started in February 2011 and was aimed at reducing deforestation and “improving carbon stocks” in the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest areas near Dar Es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. At the end of the first year, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group reported that the forests continued to be destroyed, mainly for charcoal production. TFCG estimated that at the current rates of destruction, Kazimzumbwi will be completely deforested by the end of 2014 and Pugu by the end of 2017.

In 2012, consulting firm Deloite produced a mid-term review of the WCST project. While the tone of the report is positive, there are warning signs. “Significant work remains on the ground level,” Deloite writes.

The stated project goal, “to manage the forest properly including participation of communities, supports surrounding community livelihood and provides ecosystem services” has not been observed during site visits and document review. Overall, the project has made progress, yet as the project has only just completed the inception phase, quantifiable impacts towards the stated goal are not yet appreciable.

In May 2012, Ivar Jørgensen, a senior adviser with NORAD, visited the project. He told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that, “WCST did not follow the agreement, did not cooperate with other actors as they were supposed to and did not have the correct contacts with the authorities.”

When Inger Naess, Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam, tried to visit the project site in June 2012, she was advised not to go because of the level of conflict over the use of the forest. Conflicts took place between local communities in the area, between Government departments and between communities and WCST staff. Communities were upset because WCST had not implemented an alternative livelihoods strategy that was part of the project design.

Naess visited the project area in August 2012, but found that the few project activities that had been set up were inoperative and parts of the forest had burned down.

UPDATE – 8 February 2013: In her email to REDD-Monitor Inger Naess adds,

It is not correct that the conflicts around the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi forest reserves were caused by WCST. The reason for the conflicts are many, among them the fact that the forest is within the border of Tanzania’s largest city (Dar es Salaam) with a growing population and urbanization.

Norway stopped disbursement to the project and has commissioned an external audit by Baker Tilly.

On Sunday, 3 February 2013, Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten published an article about the misuse of Norwegian aid funds in Tanzania. The article (in Norwegian) can be downloaded by clicking on the image:

Aftenposten article

Here’s a rough translation of the Aftenposten article (based on google translate – any corrections from Norwegian speakers would be welcome!).

Conflict around money for forest protection

Misuse of Aid

By Siri Gedde-Dahl, Aftenposten, 3 February 2013

Cheating staff have repeatedly carted off Norwegian environmental assistance in Tanzania. Now, the Norwegian Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam halted payments to another organization.

This time we are talking about government’s prestigious project, the international forest campaign.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently repaid Norad just over NOK 700,000 after malpractice cases related to environmental projects from the Norwegian aid budget in Tanzania, Congo and Kenya. Norway has now handed over the investigation of disloyalty to the local police, the organisation declared fit after a clean up and assistance opened up again to WWF. Meanwhile, the voluntary organisation Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) has been put under scrutiny. The forest that Norwegian money was supposed preserve, is partially burnt down. And conflict over the use of resources has reached new heights.

Save the forests

WCST has been granted NOK 25 million to 2015, from the so-called REDD funds (see fact box). It was paid NOK 6.8 million in 2011. When WCST did not report on the project as agreed, all further payments were stopped in 2012. In December of the same year, the remaining amount of WCST’s project account was also frozen.

It’s almost been a year since the embassy took action. A new chief coordinator at WCST, took office in August and promised to clean up. But the Norwegian government has not yet received proper progress reports, financial statements and audit reports from WCST. Inger Naess, a Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam, said that the embassy has now requested audited accounts directly from WCST’s auditor, Deloitte. The embassy has ordered an external investigation from the firm Baker Tilly.

The WCST project takes place in peri-urban forest at Pugu-Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves, near Dar-es-Salaam. The forest is protected, but the protection is not respected. Illegal construction and illegal logging for wood and charcoal production threaten the tropical forest. WCST is supposed to use the Norwegian money to help local people with alternative employment, control use of the forest, reduce conflicts, and assist people to take care of the forest.

A good start

The project aims to reduce CO2 emissions by preventing deforestation and forest degradation, according to the agreement with Norway.

“When I visited the area five to six months after the start, everything was good. They had established local tree nurseries, with trees for alternative charcoal production, and native trees for planting in the forest. They had also built a guardhouses at the entrance to the forest,” says Naess.

But when Ivar Jørgensen a senior advisor at Norad visited the project a few months later, in May 2012, things had become worse.

“WCST did not follow the agreement, did not cooperate with other actors as they were supposed to and did not have the correct contacts with the authorities,” says Jørgensen. So he sent a warning letter to the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Saalam, which Aftenposten has seen.

Jørgensen says that later suspicion arose that project staff had been paid without having carrying out the work they should have.

When Naess wanted to visit the area again in June 2012 the level of conflict over the use of the forest had risen so much that she was advised not to travel into the area itself. She had to be content with talking to local authorities. In August 2012 she entered the forest. The guardhouses had been partially destroyed, the new tree nurseries were inoperative and parts of the forest had burned down. People without legal ownership had sold land inside the forest. Also, WCST had not done anything in particular to reduce the level of conflict.

The Embassy believes the contract has been breached because the activities have not been carried out. Naess says that today they have no basis to say whether there has been direct financial fraud.

The management of WCST were sent questions on Friday but by last night had not yet sent their comments.

Fact box: Aid Corruption in Tanzania

  • In 2008 comprehensive fraud was revealed in the Management of Natural Resources Programme Norwegian aid project. The case went deep into the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism (MNRT). The first audit estimated that NOK 150 of the NOK 300 million had disappeared. Norway ended up having to claim back NOK 12 million. A number of critics believe Norway has not got to the bottom of the case and allowed cheats to escape.
  • In 2012 an audit report showed that NOK 2.4 million had disappeared in corruption and fraud relating to four aid projects run by WWF in Tanzania. The issue has boiled down to NOK 560 000, as Tanzania Norway has repaid the Foreign Ministry. WWF is out of the cold again to recieve funding for a variety of projects.
  • In 2012 Norway believes that the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) has breached the contract on Norwegian REDD money and has stopped further payments.
Fact box: Climate Aid

  • Norway will provide NOK 15 billion over five years as compensation for land / local people that contribute to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and planting new forests. Forests contribute to global emission reductions by binding CO2.
  • Tanzania will receive NOK 500 million of this money.
  • Much of the money channeled through the REDD programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.
  • In Tanzania, nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including the WWF and the WCST, have received money for REDD pilot projects.
  • In addition, Norway provided funds for research and a secretariat to develop a national REDD strategy.
Risks must be taken

“If we are to bring anything through aid, we must be willing to take risks. It is also the signal from our Minister: We must be willing to take the risk, but also follow up with zero tolerance,” says Counsellor Inger Naess in Tanzania, with reference to development minister Heikki Holmås (SV).

Are the malpractice cases now coming up, the tip of an iceberg?

“I think it comes up more than before because we have followed up much more in the past four years. It is not necessarily more corruption. But we know there is corruption and breach of contract, and simply in part the lack of skills to manage money properly.”

Are you alarmed by the things that you have seen in recent years?

“This type of abuse is sad, not only in the aid sector, but in the country in general. It is mentioned in the papers and people react strongly. The opposition is running on this towards elections in 2015. It is bad to know that the scope is huge, but good to see that it is being addressed.”

Photo caption: Peri-urban forest at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Pugu-Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves, is prized as a recreational area. The protected forest area is threatened by illegal logging and development. Norwegian climate money was supposed to protect the area, but it has gone badly so far.


UPDATE – 7 February 2013: Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) is a Tanzanian NGO. It has no links to the international NGO Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which also works in Tanzania. Thanks to Tim Davenport for pointing this out. WCST’s website seems to be down, but a snapshot from 11 November 2010 is available on

CORRECTION – 8 February 2013: This post originally stated that the US$120,000 that WWF returned to the Norwegian Government “is less than 10% of the US$1.3 million that was reported missing in an audit carried out by Ernst & Young”. In fact, AlertNet reported that the Ernst & Young audit found that “a share” of US$1.3 million disappeared, not the entire amount. Thanks to Jason Rubens for pointing this out.

UPDATE – 8 February 2013: The figure of US$120,000 (NOK 770,000) comes from the Aftenposten article, translated and posted above. Inger Naess comments as follows:

Norway supported two projects (in Tanzania, not including DRC and Kenya) and only one of them was a REDD project. The Embassy has been repaid NOK 514 380 (approximately USD 94 000) from WWF Norway for the CSO project and TZS 9 970 000 (approximately NOK 34 000 or USD 6 200) from WWF Tanzania for the REDD project. This includes both the full amounts that were deemed fraudulent by Ernst and Young as well as all other funds that WWF could not guarantee had been spent in accordance with the contract.

Return to text ^^


Leave a Reply


  1. Chris – have you had a response yet from Sir Nicholas Stern as to whether he still believes that REDD is the quickest and cheapest way to prevent climate change??

  2. Please will you correct the link to the website in this article. This is the second time you have made this serious mistake. There is WCST and there is WCS. The former, and the one to which this article refers, is a Tanzanian NGO. The latter is an international NGO with no link to the former in any respect. Both have REDD pilot projects but in different parts of the country. The website you refer to is the site of WCS (and not WCST) and is thus incorrect and potentially extremely damaging to our reputation. Please will you change this immediately or we will need to take some action.

    I would be grateful if you would notify my soonest that you have done this.

    Thank you

  3. @Tim Davenport – Thanks for pointing this out. I have removed the link to Wildlife Conservation Society Tanzania’s website. And I’ve put a note at the end of the article explaining that there are no links between Wildlife Conservation Society Tanzania and Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania.

    You say this is the second time I’ve done this, but I am not aware of having linked to WCS Tanzania’s website previously. (I’ve searched, but couldn’t find anything.) If you could send the link to the post, I’ll delete that link too.

  4. Chris Lang. There is another mistake in this article. You report that the US$120,000 returned by WWF to the Noregian Govt “is less than 10% of the US$1.3 million that was reported missing in an audit carried out by Ernst & Young”

    However the link you provide to AlertNet, which I suppose was the source, actually states: “The auditing firm’s initial report suggests that a share of NOK25million (approximately $1.3 million) injected by Norway into a project called ‘Strengthening Capacity of Environmental Civil Society Organizations’ has disappeared.

    In other words it seems US$ 1.3m was the total funding to the project, not the amount reported missing, which I believe was substantially less. There is a big difference!

    I hope this will be corrected.
    Thank you

  5. I wrote this article in response to the article “We need action now” in the Arc Journal No 26. The only way to save these forests is to declare them together as a National Park with strict protection by wardens of Tanapa against the poachers and charcoal burners. Later when the position is stablized, one can start to asssit neighbouring villagers with livlihood projects. But the gazettment of a National Park is imperative.


    Having read the latest issue of “The Arc Journal” published by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group I feel shocked, depressed, and despondent. On the front page is a picture of cut and burnt stumps of trees inside Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve just outside Dar-es-Salaam. The article is written by Elinasi Monga and Justine Gwegime of Forest Justice in Tanzania, TFCG. The title is “Dar is been stripped of its greenbelt: we need action, now! Dar’s greenbelt forests are nearly gone” The issue at stake is three beautiful, indigenous high-biodiversity forests just outside Dar-es-Salaam. They are as follows:

    1. KAZIMZUMBWI FOREST RESERVE- it will be completely cleared by the end of 2014

    2. PUGU FOREST RESERVE-will have no forest left at all by 2017

    3. RUVU SOUTH FOREST RESERVE-there will be nothing left to protect by 2035

    When I read this I also feel anger and shame. This is the twentieth century after all! What is more, is that these reserves are on the doorstep of the Forestry and Beekeeping Division in Dar-es-Salaam, who are meant to be the protectors of indigenous forests. Is this the Congo, or is it Tanzania? I can understand this sort of blatant disregard for law and order taking place in an unstable state like the Congo, but this is Tanzania, and it’s taking place within a stone’s throw of Dar-es-Salaam. One has to ask: does the government care? Do the people care? This is Tanzania’s heritage that’s dying. These forests are unique, with many special species that are found only here. Also it seems that the citizens see the only value in these forests when these priceless jewels of nature are put into plastic bags as charcoal.

    One day the citizen of Dar-es-Salaam will look for green peaceful areas of natural beauty near the city in which to relax, to walk and to enjoy, just like the residents of Cape Town in the weekends get out of the city into the exceptional Table Mountain National Park. But shame, in a few years time, these greenbelts of exceptional biodiversity will be gone up in smoke. In the place of your natural heritage will be maize fields…………..

    It seems that all efforts to preserve these indigenous forests have been in vain. The history of the efforts to protect the forests go back a long way. Lots of words have been written, lots of seminars and conferences have been held, lots of money has been spent, but still the smoke rises from the forests! I have a booklet written in Kiswahili called “Hifadhi ya Misitu ya Pugu na Kazimzumbwi”, published as a joint effort in the 1970’s by the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, the European Union, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. The booklet is 67 pages long and details the fantastic wildlife, trees and other plants of these beautiful forests, as well as the joint forest management by the surrounding villagers.

    Then I have an article published in the Swedish Journal ‘Syd’ which is headed: “Protected forest occupied by the poor” In this it states that Pugu and Kazimzumbwi were gazetted in 1954, with the prime aim to be a green belt for the use of citizens, just outside the big city. In this article, written in Swedish, it quotes Charles Secha, the Forest Officer and Nicholaus A. Kinyau, who believe ecotourism can be the solution here. “If tourists could get here in large numbers, to see the unique flora and fauna, the villagers could make money from the forest.” Alas, Charles and Nicholaus, the villagers and others have found another way to make money from these forests- they put the forests into bags, and deliver these bags to market on Chinese-made motorcycles. Sad, isn’t it?

    Another article I have here is by Waryoba Yankami, published in the Guardian on March 30th, 2011. It is headed, “Norway dishes out USD 3.9 million for Pugu Forest eco-project” It seems this big sum was dished out from Norwegian tax-payers to the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, and would be implemented by the residents of Pugu and Kazimzumbwi themselves. Among other things it would be used to “support and improve forest management in the Pugu and Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserves”. The project, Yankami states, would be implemented over four years from April 2011 to 2015. I think we have one relevant question here for Norway and the WCST to answer: Kazimzumbwi Forest won’t be there anymore by the end of 2014, so how can the forest protection project run to the end of 2015?

    When all is said and done, the time for so-called joint forest management of these protected areas is over. Joint forest management, that is management of Tanzania’s heritage by local villagers surrounding the forests, has been tried, but it has failed. Now it is time for law enforcement. It is time for the government to do its job and implement the laws of the country.

    For me it seems doubtful that these forests can be saved under their existing status as mere forest reserves. I hereby call on the government to upgrade the status of the Pugu Forest Reserve, the Kazimzumbwi Forest Reserve, the Ruvu South Forest Reserve and the Pande Game Reserve, a total of 38,995 hectares, and to gazette them as Tanzania’s newest National Park. I suggest the name for this National Park to be the J.K. NYERERE NATIONAL PARK, in honour of the first president of Tanzania, who was a keen conservationist himself. Let us see if the present government is up to this challenge, let it take the bull by its horns and get this gazettement done quickly. Table Mountain National Park is the pride of Cape Town, let the J.K. NYERERE NATIONAL PARK be the pride of Dar-es-Salaam!

    P.O.BOX 80,
    Tel: 0784-502935

  6. On 8 February 2013, Inger Naess, Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Dar es Salaam wrote to REDD-Monitor. Her email can be downloaded here.

    I have added her comments to the post, marked as updates. Regarding the loss of around half of the Norwegian funds to the MNRP, in 2009 U4 and Chr. Michaelsen Institute published a report about Norwegian aid to the natural resources sector in Tanzania. The report, titled “Does Aid work?”, was written by Eirik G. Jansen, who was programme officer for MNRP for four years. He wrote that:

    Two subsequent reports from a Danish audit firm in 2007 exposed extensive mismanagement of money and corruption2 in the programme (Andresen & Bhattbhatt 2007a, 2007b). According to the Danish auditor, as much as half of the money allocated for MNRP, US$ 30 million, may have been misused or lost through corrupt practices.

    Jansen summarised the findings of the Danish reports, which audited five out of 11 projects under the MNRP as follows:

     For one selected project it was found that 30 percent of the expenses could not be documented with any receipts.

     Seminars and workshops were regularly reported to last longer than they actually did, i.e. for seminars lasting only for two days, costs were charged for six days.

     MNRP has covered the expenses for reports from consultants where there was no agreement and no report.

     In some cases employees of the Ministry have been given double per diem and overtime pay while on holiday.

     Employees of MNRP have been paid large sums for travel expenses that cannot be documented.

     Various types of infrastructure have been overpriced.

     Procurement rules have not been adhered to when goods and services have been purchased.

     In the financial accounts of one project, the total turned out to be Tshs. 20 million (US$ 20,000) more than if the figures had been added up correctly.

     Value Added Tax (VAT) has been paid on goods and services. VAT is 20 percent in Tanzania, and millions of US$ must have been spent on VAT for MNRP. According to the agreement between the governments of Tanzania and Norway, all VAT should have been refunded to MNRP. This has not been done. At best the VAT has gone into the Treasury, at worst some of it may have been given to individuals. The Danish auditor has attempted to investigate this with the Tanzania Revenue Authorities, but was unable to find out what happened to the VAT paid by MNRP.

     The vehicles purchased were overpriced. Tshs. 57 million was paid for one car, while the actual price should have been Tshs. 35 million. In total Norway has paid for 66 vehicles in the period 1994 to 2006. Norway might have paid US$ 1.5 million too much just on car purchases. Part of
    this sum is due to the VAT paid.

     There is no control over the stock of goods in the stores of the various MNRP projects. There is a lack of inventories and lists of equipment.

     Large sums of money have been transferred from MNRP to the Ministry without an explanation, and there are no documents that justify these transfers.

     MNRP has not followed the Government’s own rules and regulations when paying for repairs on the vehicles.

     The financial accounts for the projects have not been set up according to the standard format for accounts.

     The internal and external mechanisms for controlling the financial management system did not function well. The internal control mechanism, the audit unit of the Ministry, did not identify the poor financial management system of MNRP. Neither did the external mechanisms, the CAG, the Norwegian Embassy, or PWC. The most serious problem was that the CAG received all the reports and accounts from the Ministry and accepted them with only minor changes.

    I have also deleted two sentences from the article. The first deleted sentence stated incorrectly that some of the US$100 million Norwegian REDD money went to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.

    However, Norway also funds UN-REDD. Development Today writes that,

    The UN REDD Programme is channelling millions of Norwegian aid crowns into a ministry in Tanzania to which Norway has for the last two years halted all aid disbursements due to widespread corruption.

    The second deleted sentence referred to the Baker Tilly audit which is still in progress.

  7. It is not correct that the “UN REDD Programme is channelling millions of Norwegian aid crowns into a ministry ….” ( ref. MNRT). Of the NOK 500 mil allocated to REDD in Tanzania, NOK 25 mil were allocated to UN REDD Programme. It was made a condition that nothing should be disbursed to MNRT. This can be confirmed by UNDP in New York and in Tanzania. The misinformation was corrected in the newsletter “Development Today”.
    We need discussions and dialogue on how to improve development cooperation, but it should be based on corret information.

  8. @Inger G. Naess – Thanks for this comment. Here’s a screenshot taken today from Development Today’s website:

    If you could provide a link to Development Today’s correction, that would be great. I’ve done a search for “Tanzania” on Development Today’s website, but couldn’t find anything that appeared to be a correction of this article. And unfortunately a subscription to Development Today costs €420 a year, which puts it outside REDD-Monitor’s budget.

  9. Reading between the lines, the WCST case seems like an example of NGO wishful thinking. It would be extremely ambitious to imagine that a single, small NGO can solve the many complex problems putting pressure on the Pugu forest… For a start, Dar es Salaam’s overwhelming dependence on charcoal as a cooking fuel. It is untenable to expect that one NGO could save the forest – especially if it isn’t based in the area.
    Norway’s REDD grant managers should have been asking harder questions. NGOs are often in the habit of claiming attributing overoptimistic outcomes to a few years of activities, partly because funders have become used to overinflated claims in funding applications and realistic ones don’t look very impressive in comparison.
    Best of luck for the residents and forest of Pugu and Kazimzumbwe.

  10. @Linda Lönnqvist – Thanks for this. I think wishful thinking is a diplomatic way of describing what happened here. Much of REDD is based on similar wishful thinking.

    That’s why TreeFellas asked whether I’d got a reply from Nicholas Stern. Back in 2006, Stern said that, “Forests offer the single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reduction of carbon emissions.” It turns out that REDD is way more complicated that putting a price on the carbon stored in trees as Stern was hoping. Stern has admitted that he got it wrong on climate change – “it’s far, far worse”, he said recently in Davos. We’re still waiting for him to admit that he got it wrong on deforestation – “it’s far, far more complicated”.

  11. In a group of two we have 10 acres of pine trees aging 3 and 4 years we have more land and we are thinking of expanding our farm to 25 acres, please let us know if it is possible to benefit from cdm funding in one way or another

  12. Shame to my country Tanzania,you donor you have to be carefully with the fund you offer for this corrupted country like Tanzania.The ministry is full of corrupted officer who are after government fund and they don’t want to see Tanzania gain on their natural resource