Open letter to Donors

27 September 2017

Dear all,

We have no doubt that you have unilateral information about the situation in the EHRN Secretariat. It's time to learn the other side of the story. We believe that you were expecting it earlier, but it took some time to collect the evidence.

To begin with, some background. In 2001, Emilis Subata and Ingrīda Šulcienė founded the EHRN secretariat having invested €14.48 each. Of course, you understand that those €29 could not start the engine. The activity began when VOX POPULI - market communication agency, which was run by Ingrida Šulcienė and Vytautas Šulcas provided the Secretariat with the premises, human resources, including the first secretary's supervisor, Raminta Štuikytė, who worked as a project manager at VOX POPULI. Vytautas and Ingrida wrote the first application for funding for free. We do not blame Emilis Subat's contribution, but we believe you know about it.

Currently Ingrida Šulcienė and Vytautas Šulcas are well-known Lithuanian social entrepreneurs. Ingrida Šulcienė is the founder of such Lithuanian organizations as the THE LITHUANIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS SPECIALIST’S ASSOCIATION, she took active role in establishment of worldwide GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT,  ASSOCIATION OF MANAGEMENT ADVISORS, LITHUANIAN ASSOCIATION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES PATIENTS, she is the founder of Lithuanian "Dress for Success“ branch, which represents DRESS FOR SUCCESS WORLDWIDE and etc. Vytautas Šulcas is the pioneer of social project to help parents educate kids financial habits - "Family Bank". Also, they are very well known by all Lithuanian disabled people NGOs for their high qualified volunteering: Blind people organization (link), Lithuanian Welfare Society for people with mental disability "VILTIS" (link)(link), Lithuanian Disability Forum (LNF) (link), etc. VOX POPULI was a social partner of NGO Coalition "I can live" (link), which is a long-term partner of EHRN here in Lithuania.

This is probably not known to those who blame us for mercantilism – or they prefer not to mention about it on purpose.

Today, we can tell you who, and how much received from EHRN. Starting from the former shareholder Emilis Subata and ending with the Donor Fund staff. We know that Vytautas Šulcas‘ appointment as Interim Director is presented as a conflict of interests.  And do you know facts that Emilis Subata‘s daughter Marija Subataitė has been working for the EHRN Secretariat for more than 10 years and, though she has never been assigned to the director’s position, has signed dozens of contracts as acting director on behalf of the secretariat? We would like as well to make it clear that Emilis Subata, former shareholder and founder, while working as a Director at a public office, received solid entries from the EHRN and financial benefits that had to be declared in the official financial reports  of the EHRN, however, it was not, and this is a violation of the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

Meanwhile, the appointment of Vytautas Šulcas as the interim Executive Director was the ultimate measure when the Secretariat founders and stakeholders learned that the so-called EHRN Association has stolen the Secretariat's domain, website content, history and identity, and is likely to carry out projects and transfers that threaten the Secretariat staff to stay without work and pay. All events are recorded by bailiffs. According to the statutes of the secretariat, the stakeholders must consult on the appointment of a director with the Steering Committee (SC), but nothing is said about what to do when SC purposefully acts against the institution whose strategy it is required to form. As a result, the Secretariat stakeholders‘ activities might not have been the best ones, but forced and inevitable. Till now EHRN Facebook and Linkedin accounts are managed by former EHRN staff who are still using them illegally.

From August 7, 2017, the newly appointed stakeholders repeatedly communicated with Anna Dovbakh as an acting director of EHRN about the continuity of activities, her ability to take on a permanent ED position, presented her the program whose cornerstones are  the Network Secretariat self-governance and the stakeholders‘ influence reduction, transparency and efficiency of activities, effective control mechanism creation.

However, on August 13, 2017, when the stakeholders accidentally learned about thefts and Anna Dovbakh‘s role in it, the plans have changed radically and, having failed to meet with the Anna Dovbakh,  on August 17, 2017 the stakeholders arrived to the office with security guards and bailiffs who informed Anna Dovbakh with her reinstatement as well as possible legal implications in writing.

The evidence shows that the EHRN‘s crisis was caused not by the decisions and actions of its stakeholders, as EHRN's management claims, but the EHRN management and some fund officials. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the former management of the EHRN (the Director and members of the SC) since the last year (2016), together with some of the funds officials agreed and planned on transferring EHRN assets / grants to a new organization, which is now known as Eurasian Harm Reduction Association and which was created in the spring of this year (3rd of March, 2017). This way, they started conducting activities against the interests of the Network, and hiding everything from the founders / shareholders of the organization and EHRN Network Members. Management and staff of the EHRN, being paid employees, were working for this newly-established Association at the same time, using both financial and human resources of the EHRN.

We would as well like to emphasize that grants were won and signed on behalf of the EHRN, and not of any group of people. Currently, an independent legal financial audit is being conducted and its results will soon be made public to everyone. The transfer of the EHRN funds to this new and obscure organization, which was established without transparency, is immoral and illegal, and the copyright of the EHRN will be defended in court.

In this letter we confirm that we, the EHRN Secretariat, have a very clear understanding of the Secretariat‘s as well as our personal responsibility for the funds and their purposeful and rational use. Our actions are aimed at eliminating abuses – and identifying, disclosing and prosecuting the offenders.

We, the Secretariat stakeholders, are determined to continue implementing our program; we are open to all proposals to strengthen the EHRN, rebuild its image, reputation and trust from partners and donors. No one can avoid mistakes or the unscrupulous staff, but the EHRN strength is in the ability to take lessons from them and get rid of corruption. In our activities, we have always acted in accordance with our principles and values which are transparency, responsibility and accountable work. We will not tolerate corruption and untransparent agreements; it is time to modernize social projects and implement the principles of the up-to-date, modern and innovative activities that are in line with sustainable development values and principles.

 

Ingrida Šulcienė
EHRN founder-stakeholder

Linas Merkelis
EHRN stakeholder

 

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