IOM defines fraud as a misrepresentation or concealment of material facts with the intent to deceive and obtain unauthorized benefit. It involves deliberate and deceptive acts, such as forgery of any document, with intent to obtain the benefits, such as money, property, or services. Misrepresentation could be false presentation, concealment, or non-disclosure. 

There are typically four elements involved in any fraud case: (1) a materially false statement that is (2) made deliberately in the knowledge that it is false, (3) reliance on the false statement by the victim, which results in 4) damages to the victim. The victim could be a person, or it could be an organization, such as IOM.

Most fraud can be classified into three categories, each with further sub-categories:

  • Fraudulent statements: financial and non-financial
  • Asset misappropriation: taking IOM’s cash, inventory or other assets; billing for non-existent materials or work; payroll for non-existent employees.  
  • Corruption: doing something with the intention of obtaining an undue advantage. Corruption often occurs when fraudsters wrongfully use their influence in a transaction to benefit themselves, or another party to whom the benefit is not due, through conflict of interest, bribery, illegal gratuities, or economic extortion

The types of fraud listed above are not exhaustive. Any similar or related inappropriate conduct or any act encouraging, concealing, conspiring or colluding in any of the above actions are also considered as fraud.

A few examples of cases of Fraud, Corruption and Misuse of Resources at IOM that resulted in disciplinary measures
  • Staff member solicited and received bribes from an IOM vendor;
  • Staff member fraudulently requested and received money from an IOM beneficiary under false pretences; 
  • Staff member transferred operational cash advances without the proper authorization to the private bank account of another staff member, who misappropriated the cash;
  • Staff member engaged in asset misappropriations (cash theft and embezzlement) and forged the signature of the Chief of Mission on IOM financial documents;
  • Staff member failed to disclose their personal (family) relationships with other staff members, while being directly involved in the recruitment and career advancement of one of these; 
  • Staff member used IOM IT equipment to access, view, store and transmit sexually explicit photographs and videos;
  • Staff member drove an IOM vehicle under alcohol intoxication, while on duty, and carried unauthorized individuals in an IOM vehicle.


It is important to keep in mind that IOM personnel cannot perform duties with integrity, independently and impartiality, in processes where personal interests are involved. Fighting fraud, corruption, and misuse of resources in the IOM is a primary responsibility of IOM personnel and each of them has a duty to report misconduct. IOM personnel reporting misconduct in good faith have the right to be protected against retaliation (see


Last updated: March 2024