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PETRA People Review (2011-2013)

PETRA People Review
(mid 2011-mid 2013)
 
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In this entry we review the previous postings on the weblog and list many of the core concerns about corruption and NCI. This entry thus provides you with succinct material for perspective, clarity, and above all ethical action. It is intended to help people break through the ongoing apathy, blindness, and deception (including self-deception) that plague the church-mission community regarding NCI et al. Above all it is meant to awaken moral courage--to embolden you to do what is right and to resolutely stay the course.
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BRIEF REVIEW
The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is to do nothing about it—or to do some non-efficacious and non-resolute “thing” and then move on, often with our consciences placated and our livelihoods protected.
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PETRA People—Purpose of the Sites
The PETRA People website and blogsite were created in early 2011. The websiteprovides information on the broad area of corruptionand specifically on the international fraud Nordic Capital Investments (NCI).” The blogsite is “committed to discussing and sharing information that will encourage health and confront corruption in the international Christian community--and beyond.”
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More specifically, both sites purpose to:
--encourage and exhort all those affected by NCI—individuals, organisations, and the church-mission community (CMC) itself—to get accurately informed and to help
--request leaders of the organizations affected--as well as their current/former members, donors, partners, board members. and friends—to call for and help set up independent reviewswith verifiable transparency and accountability
--seek justice by asking people/projects/organizations receiving NCI money (net positives) to disclose and return money
--help restore the lost credibility and integrity of specific organizations and the CMC itself.
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Three Key Documents. The above purposes are strongly supported by the three international calls for assistance in the PETRA Statement 2011, PETRA Statement 2012, and the Shine the Light-Together petition (2012). These documents are well worth reviewing again as they poignantly reflect the corruption issues that still need to be seriously addressed. It is not just legal entities that have responsibility to deal with NCI but also the CMC in which so much of the NCI fraud was promulgated. Note that the PETRA Statement 2012 specifically lists many of the organizations that have been affected by NCI and hence calls on all those who have been/are connected to them to diligently provide assistance.
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Click here to see the list and link to all the Postings on this Weblog
Or go to the section on the far right called “Labels” to access any of the postings.
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Until Death Do Us Part?
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NCI is an evil...It is a mangling corruption that continues in spite of the Swedish court case that ruled it to be a long-term gross fraud. It is something that has been promulgated internationally by more than just the one person sentenced in Sweden. And its destructive flames are fanned by the ongoing complicity, cover ups, and cowardice that continue to shame the church and mission community.
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Silence, Passivity, and Neutrality
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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The Shine the Light-Together petition was launched one year ago. It’s 100+ signatories are calling for the many individuals and organizations affected by the NCI fraud, “to transparently and verifiably disclose how they have been affected. Members of these organizations, donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI. Millions of euros and dollars are still missing…. We urge organizations affected by NCI to emulate the organizations in the “United Response” to the New Era Scandal: be transparent, accountable and cooperate to return money.”
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Mercy Ships International. CBS’ 60 Minutes program did an inspirational report on the Africa Mercy hospital ship (17 February 2013). The online comments express much appreciation for the dedicated staff yet also raise serious concerns about the possibility of NCI-related money flows (click here). Also see the PETRA Statement 2012 for more information. Will members and donors as well as Mercy Ships leaders/Board members—past and present—help to clarify?
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Wake Up! Nothing Never Happens
The only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is to do nothing about it—or to do some non-efficacious and non-resolute“thing” and then move on, often with our consciences placated and our livelihoods protected.
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NCI is evil. It is an evil form of corruption that continues to prosper in spite of being publicly exposed in 2007 and in spite of the Swedish court case in 2010-2011 that found it to be a gross, long-standing, international fraud. NCI has prospered because so many of those affected by it (people, projects, and organisations), including those receiving NCI-related money, have either done nothing about it or else have done some non-efficacious and non-resolute “thing” and then moved on.
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“[T]here are thousands of pages of court documents now that shed light on the far broader aspects of this international fraud (for a summary, click here). It is time for the many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to transparently and verifiably disclose how they have been affected. Members of these organizations, donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI. Millions of euros and dollars are still missing.” Shine the Light—Together, petition
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Live Wrong ≠ Live Strong (Dec 2012--Jan 2013)

Rand Guebert, MBA; Researcher/Author of the NCI Professional Review
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Have you ever considered the possible parallels between Lance Armstrong et al.’s doping scandal and NCI? Do the ends justify the means in either case? Is the dishonesty worth it?The Armstrong et al. duping and doping scandal goes back to his first Tour de France victory in 1999. For years he got away with it, accumulating six more Tour tiles. And now seven years after his last title the truth finally has come out in a convincing and undeniable manner….
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So, why not forget about NCI and just move on? Evil never acquiesces easily. Nor does injustice simply disappear with time. The evil and injustice surrounding NCI continues to contaminate the Christian community. NCI investors, the various organizations affected, and YWAM members in particular (since YWAM as an organization has been affected more than any other) must consider whether the “secular” sport of cycling has stronger moral principles than the “Christian” work of missions. That would be a sad statement if it is true. And so far, based on my research of court documentation and involvement with the case, this is in fact the very sad reality. One of these days the truth will come out just as it has for Armstrong et al. When it does, which side of history will you be on?
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False Blindness and True Darkness
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We cannot pretend to be blind—to rationalise away our responsibility to take the risks necessary to confront Christian corruption….There is plenty of light shining for people to get informed and to take action in the NCI et al fraud. It is not too late for you to help. Listen to the pleas. Listen to your conscience. There will be breakthroughs. Maybe because of you. More updates in due course.
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Calling Youth With A Mission to Integrity and Action
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Something is gravely wrong. Over 100 people have signed the Shine the Light-Together petition. This petition, based on the PETRA Statement 2012, publically calls YWAM to take action regarding the Nordic Capital Investment fraud (NCI) with integrity, transparency, and accountability. Will those associated with YWAM join together and act resolutely now, even if it is "inconvenient" or results in negative consequences such as harassment, discrediting, or dismissal?
Who will help YWAM make it right?
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Overview. “NCI is an affinity-based fraud and YWAM is the main organization affected. It is seriously affected. In July 1995 Mr. Westergard presented NCI at YWAM Le Rucher during an international YWAM conference. Major YWAM leaders invested since at least 1996 and YWAM projects received NCI-related money. Senior leaders have consistently stated that senior/international leaders were not aware of NCI and that one of the major YWAM leaders actively involved in NCI (administering contracts, receiving NCI funds, etc) and YWAM Le Rucher in France were not properly part of YWAM. Hence, it is argued, YWAM has no responsibility. These assertions are hard to understand in view of the court and other documents. YWAM leaders (e.g., IFMLT, GLF, MMI), YWAM members, and YWAM donors internationally are urged to get informed and together call for an internal and an independent review of how YWAM has been affected and how it has responded, and to persevere until such reviews are done. Will they do this?” (Excerpt from the PETRA People Statement 2012: A Call for Integrity and Action)
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An Excerpt from the Professional Review (Rand Guebert)
“The sad and serious events described in this professional review have their genesis in poor or inadequate corporate governance, which has led to: authoritarian and dysfunctional management practices; disregard for truth and justice; ineffective employee/staff safeguards; destructive conflicts of interest; covert financial management practices; and in the end even suspected criminality. YWAM has experienced all of these consequences, while other organizations such as the WEA-MC, EEMA, Le Rucher and various churches have been affected to varying degrees. One question arises over and over in this review--where is the ethical and accountable corporate governance?”Rand Guebert, Professional Review: Integrated Executive Summary (page 9)
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Looking Good
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“But at any time an organization makes a seriously wrong decision, its leaders should call for an intensive postmortem. Such learning opportunities are too often overlooked. The tendency is simply to call on the public relations department to spin the mater, to make another inadequately thought-out decision, and perhaps to scapegoat, even fire, a few staff members. Because most companies cover up their mistakes instead of learning from them, systemic flaws in information flow tend to remain to do their damage another day.” (pp. 22-23) Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor (2008). Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman, James O'Toole, and Patricia Ward Biederman
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Doing Good
NCI is an international fraud which has only partially been dealt with by Sweden. Unsubstantiated broad assertions without clear documentary backing and which do not fit with the documentation, might look good, but they are not helpful. Financial policies look good, but they require responsible and ethical action to apply them…Those organizations and individuals receiving NCI monies that are net positive especially need to help recover funds. Both the governments and people in the church-mission community have important roles to play. No one here is implying intentionality or criminality. But there is an ethical and probably legal need to disclose and return money. And until this happens, a huge dark shadow will continue to hang over the church-mission community in addition to the people/organizations affected by NCI.
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An International Call for Integrity and Action
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Shine the Light--Together! is a new, online petition. Is addressed to the organizations, projects, and people affected by a serious fraud (NCI KB), calling for disclosures and assistance. It is also meant to inform and rally us all together, including those in the church-mission community, the general public, and members, donors, and partners of the organizations affected….
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Some Expected Outcomes. Many more folks would get better informed about NCI and fraud in general, have a voice, and share the Statement with others in their networks. Some will hopefully rise up in spite of risks or inconvenience and with others resolutely call for/set up internal and independent reviews within the organizations listed.. Some reviews will be done, finally. Some of the missing money will be acknowledged and returned. Organizations affected will be healthier. So will the overall Christian community. There will be prevention of both similar frauds and similar inappropriate responses to frauds in the Christian community. Discrediting and harassment for some of those who sign and share may happen. Some will sign and share it, regardless, based on their personal convictions, ethics, and sense of spiritual guidance. Many will indeed count the cost and do what they believe is right. Their actions will galvanize similar courageous responses.
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Your Task Is To Be True, Not Popular;Jesus Christ (Luke 6:26, The Message)
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The Swedish court cases about the international NCI fraud are now over, as of 21 December 2011. The prosecution and courts clearly established that gross fraud was being committed over a period of many years. This case (and its two appeals) focused primarily on one person (Kristian Westergard) and one country (Sweden). Other people and organisations have been affected by NCI. They too must continue to be addressed and as necessary confronted, calling for their assistance and verifiable disclosures.
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The NCI fraud case, the millions of missing dollars/euros, and the spin, half-truths, cover ups, discrediting, and dismissals are still lingering in the darkness, polluting the church mission community as well as all those with responsibility to act and who do not (Proverbs 25:26). We believe people deserve to know the fuller picture. There are plenty of documents and testimonies that shine light on what has happened and plenty of support for those who have the courage to help. We are reminded of the saying that the only thing necessary for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.
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There are lots of good reasons for just moving on from all of this NCI stuff--saying that it is someone else's responsibility; it is peoples’ own fault for having gotten involved and invested foolishly; our organizational leaders whom we trust are handling this; it is the government’s responsibility; this case has been investigated and the verdict is now final; we are too busy with more important things; or it will negatively affect our work or life situation, etc. Many of these reasons make some sense of course. Yet the above reasons may in fact be rationalizations in many cases. And rationalizations, which hinder unmasking the darkness and walking in the light, can have dire consequences for justice and vulnerable people, not to mention for one’s own public credibility and personal conscience/integrity. The antidote for rationaliszation is love--as evidenced by doing truth well. “Love does not rejoice in injustice, but in the truth” (I Cor. 13:6).
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“When love sees evil, close by or from a philosophical mountaintop, it cries, “Foul!” Evil, in loves eye, is obscene no matter how splendidly or fully it is dressed.” Lewis Smedes, Love Within Limits (1989, p. 75)
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Insipid Salt and Illusory Light
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The track record for dealing with fraud in the CMC is undeniably mixed at best. Unfortunately what can only be called cowardice and cover ups are often the predominant (and carefully disguised) responses from those in positions of influence. We are reminded of the introductory comments on the PETRA People web site (homepage) in which moral salt becomes insipid and illuminating light becomes illusory:
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“The most disconcerting aspect of NCI is not simply the lost money. Nor is it simply the negative emotional impact on the lives of so many "investors" and their family members and colleagues. Rather it is the consistent response of individuals/leaders within the church-mission community: unwillingness to investigate or get informed, fear of reprisals, self-protection, and discrediting those calling for transparency and accountability, all at the expense of vulnerable people. It is time to change this course and to act with moral courage and united strength.”
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One of the many recent resources linked on the PETRA People website is the compelling article posted in the Global Conversations section of the Lausanne Movement’s website. This article was featured in its monthly Connecting Point newsletter (November 2011) and is titled: Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Combating Corruption, by Paul Batchelor and Steve Osei-Mensah. These authors unequivocally call for the global church to acknowledge and confront the rampant corruption in its midst, with a special challenge for individuals, leaders and the Lausanne Movement itself to take practical, tangible action…. “We must not turn a blind eye to or condone corruption. The evidence of its corrosive effect is clear and the biblical teachings are unambiguous.” (Salt and Light: Christians' Role in Combating Corruption, Batchelor, Osei-Mensah, 2011)
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A Call for Courage: Missing Money and Missing Action
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“We are deeply concerned about the Nordic Capital Investment (NCI) scheme which is currently being investigated and prosecuted. This scheme has seriously harmed many individuals, families, and organizations, especially in the international church-mission community (CMC). People have lost their life savings, organizations in the international CMC have suffered from questionable personnel practices and ineffective governance, and humanitarian projects have been financed with dubious money. Millions of dollars (the composite in many currencies) have been involved. We believe that in addition to the court cases and media coverage, there is a critical need and responsibility for the international CMC to discuss, investigate, and address the effects of the NCI scheme and related issues that have evolved alongside it.” PETRA Statement 2011
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Ruth van Reken’s sensible voice is worth repeating here via her comment on this weblog. (She is an international consultant in the expatriate sector and co-author with Dave Pollock of the TCK Experience).
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“To me, it seems relatively simple. Those who have nothing to fear should welcome an open investigation into all of these matters and be the first to open their books to the public, both individuals and organizations who were sadly caught up in this mess, “winners” and “losers”alike. If this reiterates the New Era Ponzi scheme that happened a few years ago, undoubtedly some individuals and organizations profited while others lost simply because of the nature of a Ponzi scheme. As we all know, these schemes keep going because initial investors do, in fact, receive money received from the next investors down the line. Again, the presumed fact that some gained in this scheme doesn’t imply legal culpability or any sort of complicity for those who received gain. But we have a good model with the New Era scheme. There all involved met and set up a formula so those who had gained at the expense of others could share in some equitable fashion with the losses by returning a portion of the gains. Why could there not be such an attempt in this situation? This, then, is my bottom line question for all involved…Petra People, those they question, all NCI financial ”winners” and “losers” alike, the Christian community itself. What would Jesus do here? Surely the Shepherd who Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life wants to lead us all into a place where He is glorified and the work of darkness defeated.”
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"It's crystal clear the Swedish case is not the whole picture.
It's different people, different victims, and different contexts."
Dr. Todd Johnson, Christianity Today article on NCI, June 2011
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So what is the "whole picture" regarding NCI? And what are the responsibilities of the "different people, different victims, and different contexts?" How do we in the church-mission community (CMC) and beyond get accurately informed, and act with and call for verifiable transparency/accountability? How do we resolutely pursue good practice for financial integrity as exemplified in the sixth principle of the Granada Covenant which says:
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"We commit ourselves to financial integrity. We accept our responsibility as stewards of God’s resources. We will reveal our funding proposals and open our personal financial records to trusted colleagues for their critique. Our corporate financial books will be evaluated by competent accounting firms who can examine our finances and by courageous colleagues who can evaluate our motives and processes as we raise, account for and utilize funds." WEA-MC Granada Covenant 2006
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Keep going until the "whole picture" is brought into the light. This includes money flows, different involvements, and how people/projects/organisations have been affected. Be prepared to face all kinds of reasons for people not having to get informed, not disclosing, and not doing anything. Be prepared for spin and half-truths. And be prepared to have your motives questioned, your character discredited, and possibly even worse things.
Responses to the Christianity Today Article (published in print and online June 2011)
Three essential and disturbing items still linger for us after reading the article:
1. Where is the money--and will this be acknowledged and further traced?
For more information/documents see Information and Observations about NCI and Suggestions: Going Forward (point six) on the PETRA People website.
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2. How has YWAM been affected--and will there be an independent review?
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3. Who are the people involved in setting up and running NCI--and when will this more fully be investigated?
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Healing the Body
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In light of the PETRA Statement, we strongly urge the following organisations to provide assistance by reviewing and disclosing how NCI has affected them. It is not appropriate—ethical—to simply try to “move on” and the leaders in these organisations have a crucial responsibility to help. We also encourage them to review how they have responded to the NCI matter. How have they been “affected”and how have they responded? There is much to learn and many ways to help themselves, victim-investors, as well as the church-mission community (CMC).

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