Cambodia:

AID's Management of Humanitarian Assistance Programs

NSIAD-91-260: Published: Aug 28, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. humanitarian assistance in areas of Cambodia controlled by the Phnom Penh government and in areas controlled by the Cambodian noncommunist resistance, focusing on whether the Agency for International Development (AID) can provide reasonable assurance that assistance to the resistance groups and others is being used efficiently and effectively and for the purposes intended by Congress.

GAO found that AID: (1) ability to account for assistance supplied to the Cambodian noncommunist resistance groups has improved, but it can not verify that all commodities supplied are necessary or used as intended, because officials observe only a few specific activities; (2) continues to rely heavily on largely unverifiable reports from the resistance groups to determine what commodities are needed and how they are used in Cambodia; (3) has almost no oversight of the use of the $2 million in humanitarian assistance that Congress directed be provided to children in areas controlled by the Phnom Penh government; (4) has been unable to observe or monitor how the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is spending funds, and there are indications that some patients are being inappropriately charged for the AID-funded inoculations under the UNICEF program; (5) established bank accounts from which the resistance groups can withdraw funds for specifically approved purposes, but it did not thoroughly document its internal control systems and procedures or review vouchers submitted by the resistance; (6) awarded grants to World Vision and UNICEF without knowing whether their field organizations in Cambodia could meet AID accountability and delivery requirements; and (7) officials expressed concern about their inability to directly or indirectly monitor assistance in Cambodia and believe that grantees can take a more hands-on approach to managing the programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Peace accord was signed and a U.S. and AID mission has been established in Cambodia which will be able to monitor grants.

    Recommendation: To increase accountability for the program in Cambodia, the Administrator, AID, should, in addition to limited monitoring by officials at Washington headquarters, require that AID officials in Thailand directly manage grants in areas of Cambodia controlled by the Phnom Penh government.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Peace accord was signed and a U.S. and AID mission has been established in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    Recommendation: Until the Department of State rescinds its prohibition against executive branch officials' travel into Phnom Penh government-controlled areas, the Administrator, AID, should establish a better reporting mechanism to monitor grant activities.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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