In Afghanistan, UNDP Auditors Get No Documents, Scam Promotions
By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, 5th in a series
UNITED NATIONS, June 26 -- For the UN system's Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, auditors "were not provided general ledgers and supporting documentation in respect of expenses... at Jalalabad and Kandahar offices," documents obtained by Inner City Press show.
As noted in the first installment of this series LOTFA purports to be about training and "building capacity" of Afghan police. But it is essentially a money transfer and payroll service, with a sideline as a travel agency.
But even its payroll service is mismanaged and not overseen. In sample "Observation # 5" the auditors say that
"During the course of our audit we were not provided general ledgers and supporting documentation in respect of expenses pertaining to first quarter (Jan-March 2011) at Jalalabad and Kandahar offices. We were given the understanding by concerned management that the said record was sealed by Ministry of Finance after the Internal audit verification conducted by Government Internal audit department, hence it could not be unsealed without the prior approval of concerned Minister and President Office. Moreover, we were not provided with the internal audit reports of these two offices."
At the June 26 UN noon briefing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky read out a statement in response to Inner City Press' June 25 questions:
"I was asked yesterday about the views of the UN Mission in Afghanistan about a UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] project there. As I’ve already said, this is primarily a question for UNDP, but Special Representative Jan Kubiš is closely following developments and has already raised his points and concerns with the UNDP leadership in New York, as well as in Kabul."
But UNDP has STILL not sent any substantive response, now after 90 hours.
As well as resubmitting the first round of questions late on June 22, Inner City Press requested comment on this and two other audits, and asked UNDP to state:
1) WHY Manoj Basnyat is no longer the country director -- did this have ANYTHING to do with the LOTFA irregularities?
2) the date on which each of Basnyet, Sandeep Kumar and Ubadallah Sahibzada became aware of the irregularities and of the attached audits. Thanks, on deadline.
Twenty hours later, rather than answer a single question or comment on any of the audits, UNDP's Abdel-Rahman Ghandour responded that the first round of questions had ended up in UNDP's spam folder. But obviously the questions above hadn't. And still there have been no answers, now ninety hours in. (We are still seeking, however, a copy of Sandeep Kumar's book "On the Edge.")
Meanwhile, the following has come in over the transom:
Hi Matthew, Just to let you know about Manoj Basnyat. He was shifted out of Afg end of March on a routine basis, because he had completed his term there. He is currently in NY at UNDP HQ...
Only now Manoj Basnyat's name is coming up... if you do a search with his name and Bangladesh Country Director, you will see that Basnyat was kicked out from Bangladesh as Country Director for UNDP after just one year there!... due to pressure from staff and the Govt. of Bangladesh. He was a D1 then. Of course, at UNDP, corrupt of inefficient morons are never kicked out. Instead they are promoted. He was promoted to post of CD in Afghanistan and got his D2 just last year!.... Corruption and inefficiency are often thought of as crowns of glory at the UN and at UNDP. So, thanks to these problems, Manoj will probably be promoted and made a Resident Rep / Coordinator very soon...
His boss in Afghanistan, Michael Keating is even worse and has a terrible reputation as well. Michael got his post only because of the pull from Tony Blair himself, because for the past 2 years, Michael worked in Blair's Africa Commission based in Geneva. And that is how it goes on at UN and UNDP...
That is how it is going. Watch this site.