The Auditor general of Sri Lanka is investigating a UNDP project which was aimed at modernization of Sri Lankan Parliament Complex. A first look into the project revealed brazen mismanagement of funds. As usual UNDP's funds instead of ending to support the intended project, a sizable chunk of it had been squandered on consultants, experts, overseas training, specialised project reports/ workshops in five-star comfort and bringing down experts from abroad.
Does anyone feel responsibility of waisting all those funds ?
No way, is public funds, who care. There is plenty more where it came from - as long as we keep Evelines Herfkens, Ad Melkert and Kemal Dervis around, no one will ever touch UNDP.
Any Audit report on project closure justification ?
Not required. Khoury and Lockwood will take of paperwork later.
But since the UNDP Management is saying that UNDP Watch is making up all these news, here it is the publication from one of the most reputable medias of Sri Lanka.
AG on UNDP project
A recent audit conducted on a high profile UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) project to establish a state-of-the-art ICT (Information and Communication Technology) system revealed brazen mismanagement of funds. A sizeable chunk from the funds had been squandered on consultants, experts, overseas training, specialised project reports/ workshops in five-star comfort and bringing down experts from abroad. The correspondence between Parliament and the Auditor General on the auditing process revealed that the Secretary General Mrs. Priyanee Wijesekera had not been responsible for the mess.
Although Speaker WJM Lokubandara, during a recent interview on a live political talk show on TNL lamented the deterioration of discipline among a section of parliamentarians, some of them not even being conversant with Standing Orders and some behaving like a bunch of hooligans, he did not comment on several contentious issues. But to be fair by the veteran politician, he cannot be faulted for not commenting on specific issues not raised by the journalist who interviewed him.
The UNDP's recent decision to quit the high profile ICT project didn't come as a surprise. While reiterating its commitment to support Sri Lanka, the UNDP has indicated that it wouldn't want to continue with the ICT project. The grandiose plan to transform the Parliament Complex to a high-tech facility has so far failed to meet its objectives. With the UNDP withdrawing support to the ICT project, the Parliament is in the process of securing the financial backing of another donor agency.
The UNDP itself created controversy by charging overheads which were challenged by a section of the officialdom. Unfortunately no one seems to be interested in pursuing touchy issues. A case in point is the ongoing dispute whether to subject CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) and IPU (Inter-Parliamentary Union) accounts for scrutiny by the Auditor General. Although the Speaker declared that he was not opposed to the idea, the Auditor General has not received the accounts as yet. Parliament has received Rs 38 million for 2008. Despite controversy over the long overdue investigation by the Auditor General, the General Treasury has, in fact, increased the allocation from the previous year. Although a part of the allocation has been utilised to pay the annual subscription fees to the unions, a substantial amount has been spent to fund overseas associations and for visits by politicians and officials, in some instance in first class comfort. The allocation of Rs 38 million was made in the backdrop of Parliament receiving Rs 90 million in the three previous years.