Monday 30 March 2020

Learning from COVID-19 (April-May 2020)

The COVID-19 Pandemic

Stories of Compassion and Corruption

Detail from the report cover, Pandemic Profiteering
Europol, 27 March 2020 (featured in this PPNET Update)

Warm greetings!

In this latest PPNet weblog entry (April 2020) we feature 19 short stories-reports related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These materials are in video and written formats: stories-reports of encouragement-compassion and stories-reports of exploitation-corruption. We also include a section on complications to share the plight of many vulnerable people who cannot take advantage of resources and protective measures (see below, Part One, item 1).

Pandemics apparently, like life itself, bring out people's best selves or their worse selves. Our selfless and our selfish qualities and actions emerge, and everything in between. It is a special opportunity for personal growth and social development--of being salt and light individually and collectively.

We share these stories in the hopes that they will spur you on to integrity and to doing good as we weather the course of this difficult and uncertain pandemic. We also invite you review the core resources that we have just sent out in the latest Global Integration Update (April 2020): Confronting COVID-19: "Be smart. be safe. Be kind."

This PPNet Update now launches us into the 10th year of providing information, summons, and resources via the PETRA People Network. We continue the ongoing efforts in calling specific people and organizations for assistance-disclosures in confronting the international NCI et al. fraud. Three examples of these efforts are on the PPNet weblog: the Professional Review, the Healing the Body summary-summons, and the Integrity Petition.

Finally, we invite you to take some time to listen to our recent podcast (Kelly and Michèle) on what it takes to fight corruption.  Into IntegrityConfronting Corruption: Principles for Courage, Integrity, and Action

Kelly and Michele


PART ONE--Overview

1. COVID-19
19 Stories-Reports of Compassion, Corruption, and Complications


--Crime, Corruption, and Corona Virus.
Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (special section on the website)
U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (27 March 2020)

--Developing countries face economic collapse in COVID-19 fight—UN.
AL Jazeera (30 March 2020)


2. This Update also continues to call for the creation of a Global Integrity Day to spotlight the need to live in integrity in all we do throughout the year (9 June for example). It would complement International Anti-Corruption Day (9 December) with various events organized by the UN and civil society (now in its 17th year). Alternatively, perhaps adding the "Integrity" term and emphasis to this already existing International Day could be a simple yet powerful way forward.

Integrity is moral wholeness—living consistently in moral wholeness.
Corruption is moral rottenness
—the distortion, perversion, and deterioration of moral goodness. It abuses and exploits people and is the opposite of integrity.


3. In Part Two below, we share three ongoing, and important efforts to call for assistance-disclosures in confronting the international NCI et al. fraud: the Professional Review, the Healing the Body summary-summons, and the Integrity Petition. 

--The Professional Review (2008) by  Rand Guebert. "This review [investigates] several overlapping matters that have affected the mission, member care, and church community...[and] aspires to promote transparency, accountability, good practice, and healthy relationships." (p. 112). [It]has been organized to draw together the various events that have led to the dismissal of Drs. Kelly and Michele O’Donnell from YWAM [and other organizations/networks] and to the potential loss of millions of dollars by investors in Nordic Capital Investments (NCI) and Stichting Dutch Investments (SDI).  Many of these events are related and overlap, and this review attempts to place them in context." (p.1)

The Professional Review is featured on the weblog, Loving Truth and Peace. This weblog's purpose, like that of the Professional Review, is to "review and  learn, support good practice, and restore relationships. Click 
HERE to access this weblog and Professional Review. For a quick overview of the latter, see the Integrated Executive Summary"
One question arises over and over in this review--where is the ethical and accountable corporate governance?" (Integrated Executive Summary, page 1).

--The NCI Summary and Summons.
 This entry also includes verbatim the major section in the last several entries (Healing the Body: Living in Integrity--Loving Truth and Peace). They summarize many of the efforts by the  People Network (PP Net) and summon the assistance of the people and the organizations affected by the Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). See Part Two below.

Those “affected” refers to the specific investors-victims, organizations-ministries, staff-leaders, and any others who received/lost money in this scheme or were somehow impacted. It also refers to the thousands of people who are or were part of these organizations-ministries (including Board members and supporters) and who have a moral responsibility to call leaders and others to account: to disclose, conduct independent reviews, and where there are “net positive” gains, to return money to victims.

--The Integrity Petition Shine the Light--Together! An ongoing, international petition calling for integrity and action to confront corruption in the Church-Mission Community and in particular the international NCI et al. fraud. More information via the link above and in Part Two below.

4. How You Can Help. The informed, resolute responses to NCI by those in the church-mission community (CMC) can help bring healing to many people and the reputation of the CMC. The NCI fraud, like all corruption, will not simply go away on its own, over time, by ignoring it, or by keeping silent. Remember, the only thing necessary for corruption to flourish is to do nothing about it--or to do some non-resolute "thing" and move on, feeling self-justified, with our consciences placated and our livelihoods protected. What can you do?

--Get accurately informed. Read the materials, court documents, and exchanges with specific CMC leaders calling for disclosures and good practice. Take the time to carefully review the Summary and Summons below.

--Join with others and hold your organizations and leaders accountable to good practice standards (see the list of organizations and leaders in the Summary and Summons below).

--Read, sign, and share the Integrity Petition. There is an ongoing call for signatures. See below in Part Two.

--Beware of the deceptive tendency to rationalizeThe heart is more deceitful above all else, and desperately sick; who can understand it (Jeremiah 17:9). Live in integrity.  Act with compassion.   #CMCtoo -- #HealUsToo -- #MyOrganizationToo


Summary and Summons
The essential review of NCI et al
to understand what happened and what needs to be done.

Important Note December 2021
Many of the links to the documents referenced below (Summary and Summons--Essential Review) had to be redone because of changes in the google website platforms that hosted the documentsThese changes are included now in the PETRA People Weblog (December 2021) and future WeblogsThe previous Weblogs with this information (near verbatim) from August 2017-October 2021 still contain the broken links and thus you need to go to the December 2021 Weblog (Part Two) or future Weblogs in order to access the new links.

The documentation is substantial and compelling to support the long-standing, 
serious and specific calls for integrity and healing,  assistance and repentance. 

Topics in this Review
1.     A Core Message and the Integrity Petition
2.     NCI Background
3.     Summary Issues and Requests for Assistance: PETRA Statement 2012
4.     Requesting Assistance from Specific Organizational Leaders
5.     Calling YWAM to Integrity and Action

Healing the Broken Body
Living in Integrity—Loving Truth and Peace
detail, painting by Antonello da Messina, 15th century

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

“NCI and related matters have brought serious confusion, disruption, and distrust into the international [Church Mission Community (CMC]). Healing in the international CMC will happen only as we walk fully in the light with both God and humans as witnesses: to establish the facts, admit any errors and wrongdoing, share perspectives, and help return/recover money for investors. Our transparency and accountability now will also help prevent similar situations within the international CMC from happening in the future.” PETRA Statement 2011

“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)
1. A Core Message and the Integrity Petition
NCI, and the lack of response to it by those in the CMC, have seriously damaged many peoples’ lives. It has also seriously compromised the reputation and witness of the CMC. It is essential to get accurately informed, call for ethical action, and conduct independent reviews for learning and healing. The resulting verifiable information could shed crucial light on what was happening with this fraud and by whom, and likely go a long way to preventing similar things though the lessons learned and bring healing.

We thus encourage everyone to act beyond reproach not just for their own or organization's sake but also for the sake of the CMC and the general public. Corruption such as the NCI KB fraud does not simply go away on its own, over time, by ignoring it, or by keeping silent. All of us in the CMC can and must act with integrity--the consistent, highest level of moral wholeness. And we can and must hold our organizations and leaders accountable to do the same. Love truth and peace. Heal the broken Body. Live in integrity.

The Integrity Petition Shine the Light--Together!

An ongoing, international petition
calling for integrity and action to confront corruption
in the church-mission community and in the international NCI et al. fraud.

You can make a difference.
Join with others around the world.
Read, sign, and share this petition.
 2. NCI Background
--NCI began in 1994 and functioned secretively as a ponzi scheme until it was publically confronted in 2007. Several victims contacted governments about NCI in July that year (FBI in the USA, Serious Fraud Office in the UK, Fraud Police in The Netherlands, and Economic Crimes Bureau in Sweden). See also the initial 10 point overview about NCI at the top of the PETRA People website (this website also contains several documents from the Swedish court case, analyses, anti-corruption resources, etc.).

--An initial investigative review was done by a business consultant, Rand Guebert (2008). It is 120 pages and focuses on the serious problems in organizations affected by NCI including poor organizational governance and the discrediting and wrongful dismissals which Kelly and Michèle O’Donnell experienced in the CMC. Its findings related to NCI (based on the known evidence/documents at the time) are supported by the Swedish court documents that were released later in 2010 and 2011. This review has been shared with government investigative bodies although it has not yet been shared publically. [note/update: it was shared on this weblog October 2018]

--The Swedish government (Economic Crimes Bureau--EBM) was the principle government that eventually took the lead to investigate (2008-2011). It prosecuted only one person, Kristian Westergard, the founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Sweden. The Swedish EBM determined that NCI was a long-term, gross fraud and sentenced Mr. Westergard to prison where he served a term for just over two years. Mr. Westergard was required to repay several of the victims listed in the case. But since he had very few traceable assets, very little money has been ever repaid to the 20+ plaintiffs. Other people who were affected by the fraud (net-positives) were not required to return money (by the governments or by their respective CMC organizations-ministries). Nor were there any prosecutions for other persons involved with Westergard/NCI (some perhaps innocently). Millions of dollars/Euros are still missing.

--The Shine the Light-Together petition  (2012-current, with over 200 signatures, including reaffirmations) and the PETRA People Network weblog (2011-current, with [50+] entries) were set up to help the CMC and the public understand corruption in general and the NCI case specifically. They have been emphasizing that different Christian organizations were and are “affected” by the fraud—specifically, that leaders and staff invested, benefited/lost money, ministry projects received money etc. The reluctance of these leaders and organizations to disclose and to submit to independent investigation has also been highlighted. Their information could shed crucial light on what was happening with this fraud and by whom, and likely go a long way to preventing similar things though the lessons learned and bring healing.

--In August 2014, four of the organizations included in the Shine the Light-Together petition and several of their leaders were formally presented with the petition, asking for their assistance and that they inform other leaders in their organizations. Leaders in Youth With A Mission, Mercy Ships, Youth For Christ [see update below, June 2019], and Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France) received separate email-letters regarding the petition with the names and comments of the people who signed it.  The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog in September 2014 along with subsequent correspondence (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). Note that specific names of leaders were listed again in the February 2017 weblog entry along with links to other organizational leaders and Board members who have a moral responsibility to assist and hold themselves and fellow leaders accountable.

--In December 2016 there was a renewed effort for people to read, sign, and share the petition. “This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to assist by transparently and verifiably disclosing how they have been affected by Nordic Capital Investment KB fraud (NCI). In addition, members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI.”

--YWAM was especially affected—staff, leaders, and ministries—including Mercy Ships while it was still part of YWAM and afterwards. According to the Swedish court documents, Erik Spruyt (a major/former YWAM leader), Mercy Ministries organizations in four countries and Le Rucher in France (originally all part of YWAM), and two personal/family foundations set up by Mr. Spruyt with bank accounts in Lichtenstein (GF, NGF) were some of the entities that received hundreds of thousands of dollars/Euros of NCI money. Mr. Spruyt maintains that he is innocent and that he was a victim. In January 2017 there was a civil court decision in France which did not find Mr. Spruyt or Mercy Ministries France (defendants) responsible for the financial damages experienced by six NCI victims (plaintiffs in the case). Although all plaintiffs totally disagreed with the court ruling, they decided to not appeal. Nonetheless the public and moral call for assistance will continue so that those affected by NCI will follow good practice standards via verifiable disclosures, independent reviews, transparency, accountability, and integrity. 

3. Summary Issues and Requests for Assistance: PETRA Statement 2012 (excerpts)
In light of the Swedish court documents, we are publicly calling for the following organizations to provide assistance by reviewing and disclosing how NCI has affected them. We are also asking them to review how they have responded to the NCI matter thus far. Authorizing independent and internal reviews is strongly encouraged. It is not helpful to simply try to “move on” and leaders and members are urged now to hold their organizations accountable. There is much to learn and many ways to help. 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.

Individuals and organisations committed to integrity
 should welcome the opportunity to help
via open investigations and verifiable disclosures.

--Mercy Ministries Associations (MM). MM International, with related associations in France, Holland, and Switzerland (set up in 1994, 1995) are related directly to Le Rucher in France. They received  hundreds of thousands of NCI-related euros/dollars over nearly 10 years. Where is this money? How will past and current board members and staff help? DocsMoney Flows Confirmed by EBM * Examples of NCI Money Flows* Suggestions (see point six in this link)

--New Generation Foundation (NGF, GF). A foundation/account was set up in 1997 at a Liechtenstein bank by a major YWAM and Le Rucher leader. Over time it received hundreds of thousands of NCI euros/dollars. Where is this money? DocExamples of NCI Money Flows

--Youth With A Mission International (YWAM). 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? DocsRequest to YWAM Leaders for Assistance 5 June 2011, with links to investors, projects, previous requestssee also this partial list of YWAM-related investors, based on EBM documents.

--Mercy Ships International (based in Texas USA and including Mercy Ships in the UK, Switzerland, and France). An Austrian court document from 2001 and other Swedish documents indicate that Mercy Ships (part of YWAM until 2003) was to benefit from NCI funds related to a three million US dollar transaction that was frozen by the Austrian government in November 2001. How does this transaction and other NCI-related money flows relate to this respected organization and especially the refitting of the African Mercy hospital ship, including a $10 million USD matching grant (matched between 2002-2004)? Docs: See the NCI Documents” section on the PETRA People web site, and then open up the “Austria case” folder in the attachments.

--Youth For Christ (YFC) in Coppet, Switzerland. The name “YFC” and its physical address in Switzerland were used for a substantial amount of NCI-related correspondence (by a person actively involved in NCI but not part of YFC). Why? YFC is a respected organization yet it has not fully investigated and verifiably disclosed what their relationship was with NCI and any possible benefits. Will they do this? Docs: Two Swiss addresses used for correspondence (Note that there was overlap between Board members of YFC Coppet Switzerland, Board members of Mercy Ministries related to Le Rucher, and the Elders Board of Crossroads Church in Ferney-Voltaire, France by Geneva).

[YFC update June 2019: There have been exchanges with one leader in YFC over the past few months about the concerns above and the concerns shared in 
the paper trail August 2014-current. Although not willing to request an independent review, this leader nonetheless pulled together previous YFC responses and his current responses to the concerns. We see it as a helpful step in the right direction. We also believe it would be helpful for YFC to summarize and publicly share these  responses in one document. Other organizations would do well to follow the example of YFC.]

--Churches in Holland and France. One example of a church that can really help is Crossroads church in Ferney-Voltaire, France. Members of and people attending Crossroads church were aware of NCI and many of them have invested over the years. The former pastor for example helped by sharing how he was approached to invest in 1995. Will this church do a review, inform their past and current members/attendees about NCI, and seek information from them to help? Several church leaders in the Geneva/Lausanne area were updated in 2010, 2011. DocsLetters to church leaders.

--Individuals, families, ministries, projects, charities, foundations, and other organizations. Those that have been involved with and/or benefited from NCI—that have or may have received NCI-related funds—have key roles to play in sharing information and helping to locate missing money. Some of these entities have had three or more contracts with NCI (e.g., contracts related to other investors’ contracts, contracts for ministries and receiving NCI-money related to the people they have brought into NCI.) The Swedish court documents included an extensive albeit partial list of investors. Many are part of/associated with YWAM. Many are American, British, Dutch, and Swedish investors. Will these people and entities help? Docs
NCI Investors (primary list from Swedish EBM

4. Requesting Assistance from Specific Organizational Leaders
The letters requesting assistance were sent to specific leaders in August 2014 with the additional request that they inform other leaders in their organizations. The letters were then posted on the PETRA People weblog 28 September 2014. Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. (Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). Below are the names of the leaders contacted and links for additional leaders/Board Members, etc. 

--Youth With A Mission:  Loren Cunningham, Darlene Cunningham, Lynn Green, Jim Stier, Tom Hallas, Iain Muir, and YWAM leaders/staff around the world. “We would be grateful if you (YWAM leaders/staff around the world) would carefully review the petition and Statement with links to core documents.” Click here to view the list of international offices from the organization’s website, many which link to specific leaders.

--Mercy Ships:
 Donovan and Mae Palmer. “We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and share it with members of the international Mercy Ships Executive Committee and others Board members (e.g., Don Stephens as President, Myron Ullman as Chair, Rosa Whitaker, Francoise Andre, Ian McColl, and Peter Schulze as Vice-Chairs, etc.). Click here to view the list of International Board Members and the Executive Committee from the organization’s website. 

--Youth For Christ: Geordon Rendle and John Duncan (and with Larry Williams in 2015).  “We also believe it would be very important to share the petition with other board members/officers at Youth for Christ and the previous staff at YFC in Coppet, Switzerland.” Click here to view the list of International Board Members from the organization’s website. [See update above, June 2019]

--Crossroads Church (Ferney-Voltaire, France):  Larry Lloyd and Ian Rutter. "We would be grateful if you could please review the petition and its links to core documents and then share the petition with other current/former elders and officers at Crossroads and current/former members and attendees at Crossroads.” Click here to view the list of elders, officers, and pastors from the organization’s website.

Update August 2017: We are not aware of any further action undertaken by organizations to investigate and disclose how they may have been affected by NCI KB in line with the specific concerns in the petition. A few individuals over the past months have sent personal emails, but nothing official and nothing related to taking any action. Click here to see the paper trail: (August 2014--current). We thus continue the resolute, public call a) for assistance from all those affected in various ways by the NCI fraud; and b) for verifiable disclosures/independent reviews (transparency and accountability) by four of the organizations listed in the petition. It would also be in keeping with good practice for transparency, accountability, and organizational health that these organizations thoroughly review how they have and/or have not actually dealt with the requests for assistance over the years.

5. Calling Youth With A Mission to Integrity and Action
(PP Net Update Aug-Sept 2012, excerpts-introduction)
In view of the Shine the Light-Together petition and the PETRA People Statement 2012, this Update reaffirms the call for YWAM members, leaders and all those associated with YWAM to set up professional Internal and independent reviews regarding how it has been affected by NCI. It is not just the millions of dollars/euros in stolen money that has devastated victims and brought reproach on the Christian community but also the lack of response to it including the unwillingness to disclose and help. Will YWAM members, leaders, and those associated with YWAM now take action and demonstrate the values that YWAM publicly states guide its work: “openness, honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability” (The Good Name Pledge)? Who will hold the leaders and organisation accountable?

This Update also builds upon the many letters asking YWAM leaders for assistance and investigation regarding NCI, including the letter sent to over 100 international YWAM leaders on 5 June 2011. The materials below provide an enormous amount of well-researched information and government documentation that simply cannot be ignored or dismissed. Many of these materials are now on the PETRA People website. The materials are organised into five sections and also includes comments by YWAM senior leaders and others about NCI/YWAM.

[Note: See the PP Net Update Aug-Sept 2012 entry for the extensive treatment and document links for these five topics].

1. Additional public requests to YWAM for transparency/accountability
2. NCI investors and YWAM
3. Connections between Le Rucher/Mercy Ministries and YWAM
4. NCI money flows and YWAM
5. Organisational integrity and responsibility 
(a link to excerpts and quotes for good practice, to support YWAM leaders) 
What can all those associated with YWAM do? Here are four suggestions to keep in mind as you review and respond to these materials:

--Get accurately informed. Prioritise time to review the information in this Update carefully and also on the PETRA People website, especially the  NCI Summary Information and Suggestions: Going Forward.

--Consider your moral and Biblical response. Pray and discuss with others, especially with independent and informed people. Courage is needed to really consider/act on one’s ethical responsibility and to not simply go along with some persons' explanations.

--Call for and set up an independent review with others. Look closely at the PETRA Statement 2012: An International Call for Integrity and Action.

--Share this Update with colleagues and ask for prayers and support. Remember you are not alone—many other organisations have also had to deal with various types of corruption, mistakes, and serious leadership matters.

PETRA People Network was set up in 2010. We are committed to promoting peace, transparency, and accountability in all sectors of society and especially in the international Christian community. Our general focus is on preventing and confronting corruption and on promoting personal and organizational integrity. Our specific focus is on the Nordic Capital Investments KB fraud (NCI).

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