Central America:

Assistance to Promote Democracy and National Reconciliation in Nicaragua

NSIAD-90-245: Published: Sep 24, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the Agency for International Development's (AID) administration and monitoring of funds authorized for election support in Nicaragua.

GAO found that: (1) AID and National Endowment for Democracy grantees generally conducted activities according to legislative and other requirements and established adequate controls to account for funds; (2) the Nicaraguan Institute for Electoral Training and Promotion (IPCE) spent 9.2 percent of its funding on unauthorized salaries and campaign activities; (3) the Nicaraguan Confederation of Labor Unity lacked certain controls and did not strictly adhere to AID requirements before expending funds; (4) the Nicaraguan National Opposition Union (UNO) and IPCE were unable to carry out some preelection activities due to delays in receiving funds, equipment, and Nicaraguan government approval; (5) the Center for Democracy was unable to obtain visas for most of its election day delegation, Via Civica did not obtain legal status until after the election, and the Center for Training and Electoral Promotion (CAPEL) was unable to obtain the Nicaraguan government's approval for some educational activities, which caused those groups to limit or cancel some activities; (6) IPCE and UNO did not become eligible to receive funds until mid-December 1989, when they satisfied AID requirements and negotiated grant agreements, but the Nicaraguan government did not grant approval for the two groups to receive funds until February 1990; (7) despite problems, UNO, IPCE, and U.S. officials believed that the availability of funds contributed to ensuring free and fair elections; and (8) there was no evidence that the Supreme Electoral Council funded partisan activities, but GAO was unable to verify how the Council expended UNO taxes, since Council officials would not grant access to expenditure records.

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