MONROVIA – The United Nations has warned the George Weah administration of financial malfeasance and mismanagement of UN funds, citing the failure on the part of the government to provide timely and accurate reports on UN-funded programs. The caveat was contained in a communication from the UN Resident Coordinator, Yacoub El Hillo to the Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill. The letter is dated April 25, 2019.
According to the UN Envoy, over the last few months, “several [UN] agencies have experienced challenges in getting timely and accurate reports from their Government counterparts thereby delaying implementation of essential services and advisory support to the people of Liberia.” He warned the delay of the reports would in the long-term lead to withholding of fund for UN programs in Liberia and other adverse consequences. Despite the closure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, the UN systems in Liberia have continued to provide Liberia high-quality technical support, policy advice and development assistance in a wide variety of thematic areas.
The UN Envoy expressed commitment to working with the Liberian Government in achieving the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. However, he noted that UN adheres strictly to its fiduciary standards to safeguard UN funds against misuse and integrity risks. As part of its operations, the UN systems decided to promote national ownership and accountability for development results, therefore, moved from Direct Implementation Modality to National Implementation Modality which gives beneficiary countries or partnering agencies/ministries of government to manage projects. This is done under the Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT) framework where cash is transferred to national implementing parties to carry out developmental activities agreed in the annual work plan.
Mr. Hillo: “For implementing partners to receive cash advance, they must be micro assessed to ensure they have good financial management capacity (i.e. accounting, procurement, reporting, internal controls, etc.) and a system for recording annual transactions and appropriate financial documentation.” He warned that in the extreme where cash advance modality is not being used correctly by implanting partners, the UN Agencies, Fund and Programmes may discontinue and revert to Direct Implementation Modality to avoid risk of delay in programme implementation. Story/FPA/ Lannart Dodo