Wednesday, October 3, 2012

While George Soros certifies UNDP as top-10 most transparent in the world - @InnerCityPress's Matthew Lee publishes more audits on LOTFA - Afganistan

Click here to read this at InnerCityPress:

Afghan UN Audits Find Contracts on Blank Paper, Musical Mispayments 

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 2 -- Since June Inner City Press has published a series of internal audits of irregularities in the UN Development Program's Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan. The UN's outgoing Afghanistan deputy Michael Keating told Inner City Press,"we need to be more explicit in acknowledging... the risks that are inevitably there with a program of this size and complexity and not try to hide those risks." Video here, from Minute 11:07.
   But now another troubling audit has come in from sources to Inner City Press, of UNDP's policy and advisory development Letters of Agreement in Afghanistan; two pages are being exclusively published today by Inner City Press. 

   The problems are myriad: money paid to the wrong Afghan ministry (in one case, to the Institute of Music instead of to the Ministry of Education); contracts on blank paper without letterhead at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; no oversight, no required audits. Click here for Page 1 of this audit; click here for Page 2.

  Back on September 20, Inner City Press asked the UN system's top envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis about the series of audits of the Law & Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan published by Inner City Press over the past three months; he said there will be a public accounting. Video here, from Minute 3:37.

   This is more than Inner City Press has received from UNDP, which has sent a few responses but no direct comment on the exclusively published leaked audits. 

   Inner City Press asked Kubis about a letter the European Union sent to Kubis about the scandal, which Inner City Press put online here.

  Kubis said that the EU states are more and more convinced that the necessary steps are being taken by UNDP. He said the auditing of LOTFA is going on, but a midterm review will give rise to general public information.  But when?

    Inner City Press exclusively published three more audits. In LOTFA "Observation 19," the auditors drily note:

"During the course of our physical verification of assets, we noted that some of the assets, which were appearing in Statement of Assets, were not physically present."

  This diplomatic "not physically present" phrase, if accepted, would have a good future on all manner of criminal defense. 
In Observation 18, the auditors state that "during the course of our audit we noted certain instances where purchase orders were not raised in respect of procurement of goods," including over $300,000 for the purchase of Toyota vehicles.

   Observation 17 "note[s] instances where evidences of required approvals by Special Procurement Commission were not available with the contracts" and "recommends that the provisions of the Afghanistan Procurement Law should be complied" with. Ya don't say.

  Beyond this UN system corruption, there is a more serious debate about the proposed spending on constructing a new electoral roll -- would it be done fairly for all groups and how much would it cost. This question could not be asked - Kubis had a flight to catch.
 On his way out he told Inner City Press that the electoral issue, and how the 19% budget cut to UNAMA is being (mis?) implemented, would still be issues when he comes to the UN next time. We aim to be here, and to ask. And now the UN Security Council is considering traveling to Afghanistan. Watch this site.

Click here to read this at InnerCityPress:

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