In an interview given only to Indiancooperative.com in India by Bernhard Stormyr Information Manager / Yara International ASA, Yara International has answered several questions raised by us.
But it has suggested us rightly to respect the fact that there is an investigation going on, and they would not say anything that can disturb this.
In Yara’s words “Our first priority has been, and will be, to find out exactly what has been going on. When that has been established, we will be able to speak about the consequences it will have.
Readers may be aware that the news of kickback of 1 million dollar in failed Yara-Kribhco Joint Venture is doing rounds.
We present some excerpts of the interview
Indian Cooperative.com: The scam relates to year 2007. Why did Yara keep mum all these long years?
Yara International: First of all, it has not been established yet what exactly has taken place. Your question concludes that there has been a scam. What we have said is that a payment has been made to an Indian consultant, and we have notified Økokrim about this. It remains to be seen if the payment to the consultant can be justified by the amount of work this person has done through 2006 and 2007. This issue and payment came to the attention to the current Yara management only recently, and we immediately informed Økokrim.
Indian Cooperative.com : It further says an internal whistleblower gave notice on this case to Yara’s management. Consequently, Yara’s Chief Compliance Officer informed the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim). Was “somebody” in Yara International not active in hiding away this information all these years? If it is so, what action has Yara taken against the same? Has any head rolled yet?
Yara International : The questions about who knew what, who did what, who authorized what is exactly the reason why we are doing an investigation and informing Økokrim. This will be established during the investigation, and we hope you understand that we do not want to speculate at this point.
Indian Cooperative.com : Who in Yara and who in Kribhco were involved in the negotiation for this joint venture?
Yara International: It is vital that the investigation is conducted as thoroughly as possible, and we do not want to comment or speculate on this at this point. The investigation will for sure conclude and show who have known and done what, and any criminal actions have been made.
Indian Cooperative.com : What was the scale of JV? I mean how huge was the failed deal?
Yara International : There was an intent to invest together with Kribhco, but the agreement did not include any financial obligations. In that sense it was not a huge deal, to use your terms.
Indian Cooperative.com : How was the money paid-cheque or cash and if possible could u tell the route thru which it came to India
Yara International: We do not want to go into detail on this, but leave it to the investigation to determine all the facts. We are cooperating fully with the Norwegian police on this.
Indian Cooperative.com: It is alright for the Police to find out the route and process involved in giving-taking the money. But there should not be any confusion regarding the name of recipient. If Yara claims to be clean, should it not reveal the name?
Yara International : As above, we do not want to comment on this at this point. But we are confident that everything will be determined through the investigation.
Indian Cooperative.com : After all it involves an important cooperative in India with avowed promise of social good. It is the money of cooperative members. The sooner it is revealed the better. It would help in taking corrective action back home in India and Yara should move forward to help cleanse the system.
Yara International : As this is not a question, I take the opportunity to point out that Yara has done everything in its power to contribute to getting to the bottom of this, by informing and cooperating with the police. We ask for your understanding that the first phase of such a process has to be to establish the facts, namely what has been going on? Can this be viewed as corruption? If so, who was involved? This is the phase the police is in now, assisted by us, and it is far too early to speak about consequences or give out names.
There are no one that wants this process to go faster than the current Yara management, but it is vital that the police can conduct their investigation in the manner they see fit, without us or anybody else “prosecuting” in the media. This is of course a difficult process for Yara and our employees, but we will just have to live with critical questions from the media for a while, and hopefully both you and other external stakeholders can see for yourself that we act responsibly, that is to get all the facts on the table.