We would like to share with you two recently-issued OIOS audits on the UN Pension Fund.
The procurement audit (http://www.ccisua.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2017_110_PWCProcurementIrregularities.pdf) focuses on a $2.2 million contract with consulting firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PWC) and notes that of the total, $1.8 million was not spent on services specified in the contract. Thus costs could have been inflated due to lack of competitive bidding for the $1.8 million of services and greater use of partners costing $475 an hour. It appears that procurement rules may also not have been followed.
The second audit (http://www.ccisua.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2017_104_IPASIssues.pdf) covers the implementation of the new system for paying pensions, called IPAS, whose poorly managed implementation left newly retiring staff with no income for more than nine months. It notes that a number of important elements with IPAS, including relating to payments for widows and orphans, were noted as critical, even as the system was reported to the Board and external stakeholders as being ready to implement. It could be argued that given these issues were known prior to implementation, they should have been addressed, which would have to a large extent avoided the payment backlog.
Both audits are in line with the report of the UN Board of Auditors.(http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/72/5/Add.16).
This comes shortly after the UN Appeals Tribunal ruled that the Fund acted illegally in excluding two board members that had been elected by UN staff and who were known to be critical of the performance of Fund CEO Sergio Arvizú. (http://www.un.org/en/oaj/files/unat/judgments/2017-UNAT-807.pdf and http://www.un.org/en/oaj/files/unat/judgments/2017-UNAT-801.pdf)
The General Assembly, meeting on 5 December also raised concerns about service quality and transparency (https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/gaab4261.doc.htm).
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has been requested by the Pension Fund Board to extend the contract of CEO Arvizú by three years. Given the abundance of information showing our pension fund being managed outside the rules, we ask Mr. Guterres to seriously consider whether an extension would be in the interests of ensuring management accountability at the UN.
This article from the UN Pension Blog is also worth reading:
10 December: UN Appeals Tribunal rules on unlawful actions by Pension Board (http://unpension.blogspot.ch/2017/12/un-appeals-tribunal-rules-on-unlawful.html)
15 November: Long overdue: A new boss at the UN Pension Fund and a reformed Board (http://unpension.blogspot.ch/2017/11/long-overdue-new-boss-at-un-pension.html)
Mary Abu Rakabeh
Ndeye Aissatou Ndiaye
UN participant representatives to the Pension Board