Friday, February 03, 2012

U.N.'s dysfunctional payroll system highlighted

During their investigation into "irregularities" within the UNPASID and UNETIDA organisations over the past number of months, the Special Investigation Committee are believed - but unconfirmed to have discovered startling miscalculations in budget and personnel payroll. These beliefs may now be compounded by a newly released report by the Committee’s parent organisation, the U.N.'s internal watchdogs - the Office of Internal Oversight Services [OIOS] who have now highlighted that the system employed to track and manage employees and payroll across the U.N. Secretariat as being far removed from the normal world of accounting: you know the one where books balance, who works where is known, and giant undocumented inexplicable variations in payroll records are questioned instantly.
Not in the magical land of the U.N. however where: personnel records list thousands of employees for the NYC Secretariat but are paid elsewhere, 1,000 employees from other U.N. organizations are on the Secretariat payroll even though they do not appear in the Secretariat system as personnel, and when the OIOS themselves tried to perform a matching function they turned up differences worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single month, or nearly $5 million on an annualized basis. Additionally, new employees who work on the antiquated personnel system have not had training, while retirements have whittled down the number of veterans who actually know what they're doing. One obvious implication is that budget projections and reports to the nations that pay the U.N.’s bills and oversee its operations could potentially be works of fiction in comparison to the reality of the situation. Forensic accounting experts say that all of the things identified in the OIOS report point to a situation ripe for error and potentially exploitable.
In response, the U.N. itself claim the issues raised by the report no longer exist. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, declared on behalf of the U.N.’s Department of Management that the concerns had been taken care of  "the reports used to assess the accuracy of the payroll results were found to be accurate by OIOS. The minor variances identified during the audit process were related to minor bugs in a very limited number of accounting reports. The fixing of those bugs, will be done no later than June 2012."
The OIOS report notes that the neglect of training was because the staffing managers expected their old payroll system to be replaced by Umoja, a sophisticated, computer and software platform, and so assumed they didn't have to finance keeping people updated on how to run the old system. The problem is that it didn't work out that way and the system was supposed to be completed by the end of 2012, at a cost of $312 million but it will now be 2015. One would think that if U.N.’s technology is in such dire shape, as is the high-tech solution to all the problems, then no one can be sure that the chaos outlined in watchdog report has been dealt despite the Department of Management's claim.

1 comment:

Emmi Mäkinen said...

That is really a big problem,Payroll for all employees is very important we hope that they can fix it.