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Afghan Scandal Includes Double Payments, Letter to Ban's Kubis

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, 3d in series

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- The Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan has allowed for double payments in Kandahar and Jalalabad, audit documents obtained by Inner City Press show.

  As noted in the first and second installments 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. In sample "Observation # 7" the auditors say that

"During the course of our field visit to Jalalabad and Kandahar offices we noted certain instances of double payments of salaries in employees' bank accounts... Further, we noted certain instances where EPS contained different employee names with the same bank account numbers... Double payment ofsalaries to staff results in direct financial losses to the project."

  The attached audit provides names and bank account numbers, but has other portions redacted.

  Even when give at least 40 hours to comment on its own internal audits of its scandal plagued Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, the UN Development Program chooses to attack the Press rather than explain its waste, fraud and abuse.

  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 forty hours in. (We are seeking, however, a copy of Sandeep Kumar's book "On the Edge.")

  As Abdel-Rahman Ghandour was told yesterday, "When you comment on the audits we've already sent you, we'll send you  more to comment on. This is going to be a series, so if and when you provide comment, it will be included."

   In the meantime, Inner City Press has obtained and is publishing a letter from the European Union External Action service, not to UNDP but to the UN Secretariat's envoy to Afghanistan Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

   The EU letter, from Vygaudas Usackas, urges protection of whistleblowers, something that neither UNDP nor the UN Secretariat are known for.

   Unlike UNDP, at least the UN Secretariat has a daily noon press briefing. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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