Richard Warren to Leave Plagued CMAC End of October

The UN Development Pro­gram’s top adviser to the Cambo­dian Mine Action Center, Rich­ard Warren, will leave his post at the end of October, ac­cord­ing to UNDP officials.

No permanent replacement has been selected yet for Warren, who has been criticized by some senior CMAC officials for his failure to deal effectively with the agency’s financial crisis. In June CMAC Chairman Ieng Mouly sent a letter to the UNDP asking Warren to be removed from his post saying he did not have the “necessary qualities” to address the allegations of fraud.

An earlier audit of the government’s contributions to CMAC found widespread financial mismanagement and misallocation of funds. Warren has been accused of keeping these problems from representatives of the donor nations.

But UNDP Resident Represen­t­ative Dominique McAdams said Thursday Warren’s departure simply has to do with the end of his contract. McAdams said she didn’t know where Warren would go after leaving CMAC.

Another UNDP official already has been selected to redesign UNDP’s management structure with regard to its role as an advisory body to CMAC, McAdams said by telephone.

“I think the whole thing needs to be redesigned given the fact that some shortcomings have been exposed over the last four or five months [on the part of CMAC],” McAdams said.

Contacted Thursday, Warren said he could not comment.

Allegations of fraud inside CMAC have shaken the confidence of donor nations whose contributions make up at least 90 percent of the agency’s budget.

The US is likely to become the first donor nation to completely with­draw funding from CMAC, according to diplomatic sources.

Some $1 million earmarked for the agency must be committed by the end of this month, when the fiscal year ends for the US State Department, the government agency responsible for CMAC funding.

Although CMAC has initiated financial and procedural reforms, the agency isn’t going to complete enough of the overhaul by the time the US money must be used. “It doesn’t look good for [CMAC]. We need to see more re­forms, we need to see that the US taxpayers’ money is being used correctly,” one diplomatic official said.

It has not been decided how the $1 million will be used. The official would not say what recommendation has been made for the funds.

While it continues to provide training and materials to CMAC, the US is one of three donor na­tions that suspended cash contributions to the troubled agency pending a comprehensive investigation of CMAC’s finances.

An audit of donor funds to CMAC is scheduled to be releas­ed around the middle of this month. But US officials say even with a favorable report, there would not be enough time to have the $1 million released before the end of the fiscal year.

“You can’t just dump the mon­ey in CMAC’s lap,” the diplomatic official said.

Though CMAC officials have acknowledged that the agency faces at least a partial shut-down next month without the resumption of aid, CMAC Chairman Ieng Mouly said Thursday the withdrawal of the US money won’t affect the agency’s operations.

Donors are expected to meet Tuesday to discuss CMAC’s pro­gress on a set of 32 reforms that are tied directly to the flow of mon­ey from donor nations. Though a number of conditions were supposed to be satisfied by the end of August, CMAC officials admit they were only able to meet some of the deadlines.

“We’ve got to make some judgments on whether they’ve done as well as they could,” AusAID Director Bill Costello said Thurs­day. “There may be some extenuating circumstances as to why they couldn’t meet some of those conditions.”

The donor meeting will follow another meeting of CMAC’s governing council Monday where Ieng Mouly said he expects to be able to draft an action plan for the agency’s reform process.

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