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Audit of the Canadian Embassy, Dakar

(May 2000)

Executive Summary

An audit of the International Business Development (IBD), Political, Economic and Public Affairs (PERPA), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Dakar during the period of February 18 to February 26, 1999. The previous audit of the Administration and Consular Programs was conducted in 1994.

Administration Program

Overall, services are delivered effectively. However, the organization of the Administration Section is not conducive to the efficient or effective use of resources. Effective utilization of the Mission resources will enable the Mission to handle the increased workload resulting from the potential establishment of a full Hub & Spoke relationship with Conakry, without the need for additional resources.

The MCO is very knowledgeable in Human Resources and manages the area well. However, a number of improvements can be made to ensure compliance with Departmental policy and guidelines.

The management of Physical Resources in the Mission is generally carried out in an effective manner with emphasis on client satisfaction. Staff involved in the Program is knowledgeable and systems are generally in place for effective management. Improvements could be made in the areas of distribution of duties in the Property Section and maintenance files. The Mission is faced with major property issues related to the need to replace the current Chancery, the disposal of surplus properties and the current Staff Quarter (SQ) portfolio.

The Audit Team fully supports priority being given to replacing the Chancery in Dakar as soon as possible. Although it is recommended that the Chancery be replaced in the near future, there are safety and security deficiencies which will have to be addressed to bring the current Chancery up to minimal standards notwithstanding a pending move.

Generally, Mission finances run smoothly with the exception of the existing banking arrangements. The current banking arrangements are not satisfactory and as a result the existing cash account at the Mission increases its exposure to risk.

Administration - Detailed Report

Consular Program

Consular and Immigration services are provided by an LE Consular/Immigration Assistant. Immigration services are under the direct responsibility of the CB PERPA Officer and the Consular/Immigration Assistant spends 80 percent of her time in the provision of these services. Consular services are the responsibility of the MCO. The MCO handles the Consular aspects of the Program and the Consular/Immigration Assistant handles Passport and Citizenship services.

Consular - Detailed Report

International Business Development (IBD)

The IBD Program is an important part of the Mission's mandate. A professional assessment of the Commercial Officer's capabilities to run this Program is required.

IBD - Detailed Report

Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)

The PERPA Programs are well run and managed. Headquarters sections must recognize in tasking the Mission that its PERPA resources are extremely limited and that the responsibilities of the PERPA Officer are divided among four Program areas with five countries of accreditation.

PERPA - Detailed Report

Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Personnel (FTEs)

 Canada-based
staff
LESTotal
HOM268
International Business Development011
Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs123
Administration and Consular211.0*13
CIDA336
Total82331

* 0.6 of a position is assigned to CIC

Physical Resources

AssetsOwnedLeased
Chancery10
Official residence10
SQs 7
Vehicles6 

Financial Information - Fiscal year 1998-1999

LES salaries (CC 017)$264,535
Operational (CC 014)$854,751
Overtime by Canada-based staff (CC 015)$11,000
Capital (CC 050)$144,200
Total$1,274,486

Administration Program

1.1 Management of the Program

Overall, the management of the Administration Program is effective. However, some improvements could be made in the areas of physical resources and human resources. The organization of the Administration Section is also not conducive to efficient or effective resource utilization. The Mission currently serves as the financial Hub for Conakry but discussions are underway to possibly expand this relationship to encompass all administrative areas.

Administration Objectives

1.1.1 An Accountability Agreement has been prepared for the HOM which contains objectives which are specific to the Administration Section. These objectives have been clearly conveyed to the MCO although not through a formal document. The HOM takes a great interest in administrative matters and is therefore aware of the status of these objectives. The MCO in turn has not formalized objectives for his administrative staff.

Recommendation for Mission

1.1.2 The MCO should set objectives for Administrative staff which set out work priorities and future plans and tie these into the annual appraisal process.

Mission Response

1.1.2 When IMS was activated at the end of October, the MCO took the opportunity to review the functions, objectives and priorities of the LES. The tasks performed by certain LES were modified. Priorities were discussed with each employee, particularly in view of two job vacancies. Work plans are being drawn up and will be completed once the need to perform multiple functions have come to an end. The performance of multiple functions will commence once the fate of the CR position has been determined. Consultations on this point are under way between the HOM and GGD.

Administrative Services

1.1.3 Program Managers were interviewed by the Audit Team members and were generally satisfied with the quality and timeliness of the services provided by Administration.

Mission Committees

1.1.4 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meets weekly and is chaired by the HOM. Membership consists of CBS Program Managers and the HOM Secretary. The HOM has, since her arrival, endeavoured to make CMMs more versatile. The CMM also serves as Housing Committee, Classification Committee, Contract Review Board and Occupational Safety and Health Committee with the appropriate changes in membership. The Mission has a Program Committee made up of Program Managers which meets regularly. It is important to note that the legislation governing Occupational Safety and Health Committees requires that the chairmanship of this Committee alternate between management and staff.

Hub and Spoke Arrangement

1.1.5 There is no formal Hub and Spoke agreement between Dakar and Conakry. However, Dakar is responsible for inputting all financial data into Finex and will continue with that responsibility with the implementation of IMS. The arrangement works well and there is a good level of cooperation between the two Missions. Dakar also provides the Mission with support and guidance on any financial issues which may arise. The recent audit of Conakry revealed a need for more direct supervision in matters of Administration. Consequently, there are plans underway to expand the Hub and Spoke arrangement between Dakar and Conakry to encompass all areas of the Administration. It is the view of the Team that no additional resources will be required at the Mission to carry out this added level of responsibility and that the services can be delivered effectively to Conakry by a reorganization of the Administration Section in Dakar.

Organization of Administration

1.1.6 The present organization of the Administration Section is not conducive to the effective or efficient use of a CB resource and two LES positions are not being fully utilized.

1.1.7 The CB Administrative Assistant (CR 06) is underutilized. During the term of the previous MCO, the incumbent of this position (CR 06) was responsible for day-to-day operations concerning property and materiel management, human resources management and financial management. The MCO was responsible for overall planning and coordination in these areas. Under the direction of the current MCO, the CB Administrative Assistant is responsible for certain less-important areas of Property and Materiel management, such as management of storage facilities, supplies and gas coupons. She is also in charge of communications and property records and fills in for the HOM's CB SCY, as needed. Property maintenance is generally handled by the LE Property and Materiel Assistant, under the direction of the MCO. Since this is a CR-06 position, the Audit Team feels that more responsibility should be assigned to this employee.

1.1.8 The Administration Section currently has an LE Executive Assistant (Asst 05) and an Assistant Accountant (Asst 05). A review of the duties of both positions revealed that neither employee is fully occupied and that neither position warrants a full-time position. The Assistant Accountant provides financial services for Conakry, acts a back-up for the Accountant and does some general administration. The Executive Assistant performs a variety of administrative duties which can easily be assumed by the Assistant Accountant without impacting her effectiveness.

1.1.9 Four individuals assume property management responsibilities. The MCO supervises the Property Management Section and negotiates contracts and leases. The LE Property and Materiel Assistant (ASST 06) is responsible for property and vehicle maintenance as well as vehicle allotment. The Accountant (ASST 07) helps administer contracts. The CB Administrative Assistant (CR 06) handles certain property and materiel functions of secondary importance. The Property Section is fragmented and the work distribution and the reporting structure are occasionally inconsistent. For example, contracts are not the responsibility of a single individual: they are handled by one ormore of the employees mentioned, depending on the nature of the contract. Consequently, in some instances, certain contracts have expired and not been renewed, but the work continues. According to the organization chart, the LE Property and Materiel Assistant reports directly to the MCO, but in practice it is the CB Administrative Assistant who prepares the ASST 06's appraisal report, with the MCO's input.

1.1.10 Any review of the organization of the Administration Section will have to take into account the increase in administrative duties resulting from the possible expanded Hub and Spoke relationship with Conakry. It is the Audit Team's opinion that the effective use of the existing Mission resources will enable the Mission to handle this potential workload without the need for additional resources.

Recommendations for Mission

1.1.11 Reorganize the Administration Section to make more effective use of the CR-06 position or reclassify the CR-06 position to accurately reflect the nature of the duties carried out.

1.1.12 Eliminate the Executive Assistant position and incorporate its duties into another position.

Mission Responses

1.1.11 The Administration Section is being restructured. A host of changes have been made (personnel management, attendance, leave, waivers, property maintenance, work descriptions).

1.1.12 Two positions will be combined into one, certain functions will be added to the Administration Section and an LES position will be eliminated. The new work descriptions are being prepared. The restructuring will take place as soon as an Administrative Assistant takes up his or her duties.

1.2 Human Resources

Management of the Program

1.2.1 Management of Human Resources is the responsibility of the MCO but a number of improvements can be made to ensure compliance with Departmental policy and guidelines.

LES Compensation

1.2.2 The Mission has not conducted a benefits survey since 1997. There appears to be some movement in the market and therefore benefits are no longer current. Issues which should be raised with Mission markers when conducting the next benefits survey are medical care for retirees and their families, medical care outside the country and early retirement packages.

1.2.3 The Mission has not conducted a salary survey for Official Residence (OR) staff since 1995.

1.2.4 Although the LES Handbook is up-to-date, it does not contain any grievance procedures.

Recommendations for Mission

1.2.5 Conduct a salary and benefits survey for all Mission LES, including the Official Residence staff.

1.2.6 Following this survey, update the LES manual in order to include the approved results as well as grievance procedures.

Mission Responses

1.2.5 The salary and benefits surveys are up-to-date for all staff and have been forwarded to the Headquarters Section responsible for LES. The data collection process is under way with an eye to the revision that will take effect April 1, 2000.

1.2.6 Done.

LES Appraisals

1.2.7 A review of LES files indicated that 12 of 22 LES appraisal files were not current. It is management's responsibility to have a system in place which ensures that appraisals are completed for all LES in a timely manner.

Recommendation for Mission

1.2.8 Develop a system to ensure completion of all outstanding appraisals in a timely fashion.

Mission Response

1.2.8 Employee appraisals are now up-to-date. The Accountant keeps an appraisal schedule and sends the supervisor a reminder one month prior to the due date of an appraisal. For employees who have reached the top of the pay scale, the MCO administers a reminder system and advises the supervisors in a timely manner.

Training

1.2.9 The Mission has been providing LES with training whenever possible. The Consular/Immigration Assistant, the SA and the Property and Materiel Assistant have all received training in Ottawa. The MCO has undertaken a number of initiatives to provide training to the LES through distance learning. The MCO should be commended for his efforts in this area. However the Mission does not have a training plan which identifies training needs throughout appraisal process.

Recommendation for Mission

1.2.10 Develop a training plan for LES based on identification of training in the annual appraisal process.

Mission Response

1.2.10 Done, in consultation with the managers.

Classification

1.2.11 The Mission has reclassified six positions since the spring of 1997. There was no evidence on file that the reclassifications were conducted according to Departmental policy. A review of the files could not find minutes or reports from the Classification Committee, evaluation criteria, ranking mechanisms or justification for the six reclassifications in question.

Recommendation for Mission

1.2.12 Send the classification files for the positions in question to HRL for review and follow-up action.

Mission Response

1.2.12 The Mission's Classification Committee recommended the reclassifications to the then HOM, who approved them in accordance with the delegation of authority letter to the HOM. The EXT-145s signed by the HOM were forwarded to Ottawa. After an exchange of messages, HRL expressed satisfaction with the Mission's response. The observations have been noted and will be put into practice in the future.

Comment by SIV

The Audit Team found no trace of a Classification Committee in existence at the time. The team feels that the reclassifications were not carried out in accordance with Departmental policy.

Comment by HRL

In light of the auditors' observations, in future HRL will examine closely any classification action carried out by Dakar and, if need be, take the appropriate remedial measures.

Job Descriptions

1.2.13 A review of the LES position files revealed that, with the exception of the six positions which have been reclassified, the job descriptions were out-of-date and were neither dated nor signed by the LES.

Recommendation for Mission

1.2.14 Review and update LES job descriptions through the Classification Committee and forward them to LES for signature.

Mission Response

1.2.14 The work descriptions are up to date and were given to the LES for signature.

Official Languages

1.2.15 The Mission has the linguistic capability to provide its services in both official languages. However, official signage and internal documents, particularly those relating to health, safety and security are only available in French.

Recommendation for the Mission

1.2.16 Internal documents specifically those related to health, safety and security should be made available in both official languages.

Mission Response

1.2.16 The documents have been translated by a local firm and are available in both official languages. If necessary, they are posted.

1.3 Physical Resources

Management of the Program

1.3.1 The Program is under the direction of the MCO with daily operations carried out by an LE Property and Materiel Assistant (ASST-06) and the CB Administrative Assistant (CR-06). All properties were visited by the Audit Team and found to be in excellent condition. Staff involved in the delivery of the function are knowledgeable but improvements are required in the division of duties within the Property Section and in the management of records related to property maintenance and the disposal of Crown assets. The MCO has done significant planning for maintenance projects and capital purchases. Most maintenance in SQs and the Chancery are carried out by two contractors under the supervision of the Property and Materiel Assistant who has a technical background.

1.3.2 The Chancery and the OR are Crown-owned and the seven SQs are Crown-leased. In the past, the Mission entered into leases with indeterminate terms. The MCO is gradually renegotiating new leases and ensuring that they contain fixed terms. The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) has not been updated since March 1994. The MCO had included this task in his workplan. Inventories and occupancy agreements were up-to-date.

1.3.3 The MCO has reviewed the vehicle fleet since his arrival and has integrated a 4X4, previously reserved for recreational purposes, into the fleet and disposed of another older fleet vehicle. The Mission has taken another vehicle out of service and is testing their ability to provide effective fleet services without this vehicle. If found to be acceptable, the Mission will dispose of this vehicle further reducing the fleet to a total of five.

Chancery

1.3.4 The Chancery is located on the fourth floor of a ten-story residential/commercial building in a prime location in the downtown area. The Chancery originally consisted of two residential apartments which were acquired in 1965. In 1968, two additional apartments on the same floor were acquired and following extensive renovations, the four apartments were converted into the Chancery offices.

1.3.5 The current configuration does not provide acceptable working conditions for staff. The four apartments are strung in a long row down the length of the building. The secure area is located in the middle of the offices. Access to the main reception and to the Administration area from the CIDA and Trade areas is through the secure area. Employees without access to the secure zone must either exit the Chancery and enter through another entrance or use an outdoor balcony which runs the length of the Chancery and which passes by the HOM and Political Officer's offices in the secure area. The renovations converted many of the existing bathrooms and kitchens into offices and small, inefficient storage rooms. The Mission has made the best possible use of the space and have made improvements where possible and should be commended for their efforts.

1.3.6

1.3.7 The Audit Team fully supports that the Mission should be placed on a priority list for relocation as the current location does not offer an appropriate work environment and poses many safety and security concerns. Regardless of a move, upgrading is required to address the immediate security and safety concerns.

1.3.8 The Mission has two vacant properties in its portfolio. One, PR3230069, is a property in the downtown area which has been purchased by the Senegalese government. As part of the agreement, the government will attempt to provide the Mission with a property appropriate for the development of a new Chancery or will pay the Canadian government a prescribed sum of money. The other property, PR3230006 was originally intended to serve as a site for a new OR. The present OR was purchased by the Crown in 1997 and since this site would not be suitable for a Chancery, SRD wishes to dispose of it either through sale or a property exchange.

Recommendations for SRD

1.3.9 The Dakar Chancery should be put on a priority list for replacement.

1.3.10 In consultation with ISRE, immediate action should be taken to address safety and security concerns in the current Chancery.

Mission Responses

1.3.9/1.3.10 The only way to solve the existing security problems which are noted in 1.3.5 would be a complete renovation of the Chancery which would include demolishing solid walls and either the relocation of the secure area or the provision of an alternative connection between the unsecure areas which does not compromise the secure area. This would be costly, more expensive than is deemed prudent, and may not satisfy all of the ISR concerns. The complete move of the Chancery which is currently being investigated is the preferable solution.

As for short term initiatives which could ameliorate the life safety conditions until any move can take place, the Mission was instructed to obtain assistance and estimates as to the location and sizing of smoke detectors, emergency exits and exit lighting and forward these to SRSF for approval and funding.

Staff Quarters Portfolio

1.3.11 The Audit Team viewed all SQs. The houses are well maintained, well furnished and occupants are complimentary of the services provided to maintain the SQs. The Audit Team found that with the exception of PR323083, (currently occupied by the SCY), all SQs have sufficient space to be considered representational. Given that this is a small Mission (eight CBS), it is important that the Mission maintain flexibility in the housing inventory but the Audit Team found that the current trend is towards larger SQs with little variety.

1.3.12 The last three SQs leased by the Mission, between 1996 and 1998 (PRs 323083, 084, 085) were not measured and therefore there was no determination that they fell within Treasury Board space guidelines. Measurements should have been taken prior to signing the lease to ensure that the Mission had the authority or HQ authority would have been required before committing to a lease.

1.3.13 In 1998, the Mission was forced to identify two new SQs following a notice of intent to occupy by the landlords. The MCO viewed a large selection of houses available on the market at the time and after review by the Housing Committee and the HOM, replacement SQs were selected. The two SQs are owned by the same person. They are new constructions, are finished tastefully and have in-ground swimming pools. Many of the other SQs are older homes and are not of the same quality nor do they have swimming pools.

1.3.14 The Audit Team believes that the addition of the two recent acquisitions to the Mission portfolio has created two classes of housing. This will pose insurmountable problems in allocating SQs and will ultimately result in dissatisfaction on the part of tenants.

1.3.15 The SQs and the OR are grouped together in three neighbourhoods. The choice is mainly based on security factors and on the reliability of local water and electrical supply. The Mission has not explored the feasibility of identifying housing in other neighbourhoods and as such may be missing the opportunity of finding suitable housing at lower costs. The Audit Team met with the General Services Officer at the American Embassy. He indicated that they have 65 houses and apartments in various parts of the city, all of which meet their standards. Rents vary between 450,000 CFA francs and 700,000 CFA francs (between $1,170 and $1,821) per month.

1.3.16 Rents on the two new SQs (PRs 3230084, 085) mentioned in 1.3.13 and 1.3.14, are set at 1,700,000 CFA francs ($4,425) per month and will increase to 2,000,000 CFA francs ($5,204) in the last two years of the leases. These SQs each have a security deposit of one month's rent. The remaining five SQs have monthly rents ranging from 425,000 CFA francs to 937,500 CFA francs ($1,106 to $2,440) per month and there are no security deposits on these properties. The rationale for the rental costs on the two new acquisitions put forward by the Mission was that all fit-up was paid for by the landlord including the provision of air conditioning equipment and generators.

1.3.17 The Audit Team is not convinced that the rationale used by the Mission in seeking approval to rent these two SQs is sound. The cost of fit-up does not offset the large differences in rent which the Mission is committed to for three years. The figures used to cost out fit-up on an average SQ included the purchase of a new generator, air conditioning equipment and appliances. The acquisition of the SQ was not as a result of the establishment of a new position, therefore some equipment would have been available to transfer from the previous SQ. Also, the cost of fit-up was amortized over five years when in fact the life of much of this equipment would be much longer than five years.

1.3.18 Because of a personal matter involving the owner of the SQs, the Senegalese government has seized rents for the two houses. The Mission has obtained a legal opinion on the implications for the Embassy in this matter and has been in contact with SRS, JUSR and PAM.

1.3.19 Given the problems related to the two classes of housing which have been developed in the Mission SQ inventory, the high rent on the last two acquisitions and the serious problems related to the ownership of these properties, the Audit Team suggested to the HOM, PAM and to GGD that consideration be given to relinquishing the leases on these two SQs.

Recommendations for Mission

1.3.20 Ensure that SQs are measured and are within the HOM delegated authority before leases are signed.

1.3.21 Study options available for relinquishing the leases on PR3230084 and PR3230085 as soon as possible, or failing that, upon their expiry.

1.3.22 Undertake a market study to determine appropriate locations for SQs and an acceptable rental range for housing in line with the Mission profile.

Mission Responses

1.3.20 All the SQs have been measured, and the housing inventory was completed and sent to Ottawa (SRSK) in June 1999, then again in January 2000. Henceforth, all SQs will be measured before a lease is signed.

1.3.21 In consultation with SIX, PAM, JUS, SRD and the Mission's counsel, a detailed review of the situation has been carried out. Headquarters has asked us to keep our current housing inventory for the time being, and not to renew the leases on units PR3230084 and PR3230085 in 2003.

1.3.22 Locations and costs identified. Last July, in connection with the Collier housing study, we sent the results of our study to PAM and SRD. Rents vary between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 CFA francs a month.

Official Residence

1.3.23 The OR was purchased in 1997 and is an excellent property. Recent renovations have been very successful and will greatly enhance the representational areas. There is still work that could be undertaken to improve the bathrooms in the family areas and to provide a powder room bathroom more closely available to the public areas. The Audit Team was impressed with the property.

Disposal of Surplus Assets

1.3.24 The Audit Team noted several areas of concern with the method used for disposing Crown assets. The Mission has held closed sales which were open only to LES and FSU employees and their families and some outside contacts. Departmental regulations clearly state that LES are not allowed to bid on the purchase of surplus crown assets unless a sale which is open to the public is held. In view of the manner in which the sale was conducted, the Audit Team is not convinced that the Mission obtained the best possible price for the assets sold, as stipulated in the Crown Disposals Act.

1.3.25 The Mission has allowed payments for the sale of crown assets to be made in instalments when the purchaser is an LES. This practice should be discontinued and the full amount should be collected at the time of sale and immediately credited to the Mission bank accounts and entered in FINEX.

1.3.26 Disposal files were found to be incomplete. There was no evidence that disposal forms had been completed and signed by the HOM. Disposal files should contain everything related to a sale, ie contracts, advertisements, inventories, offers, analysis, final disposition, copies of all official receipts, disposal forms, list of remaining items and what would be done with them, list of persons involved in the sale and their role, etc.

Recommendations for Mission

1.3.27 Disposal of surplus assets should be done in accordance with the guidelines as set out in Chapter 7 of the Materiel Management Manual.

1.3.28 Maintain a file outlining the complete history and administration of a disposal exercise.

Mission Responses

1.3.27 Will do so in future. There hasn't been an assets disposal sale since the Audit Team's visit.

1.3.28 As soon as we take assets out of service, we place them in storage and complete the necessary disposal forms. When we hold the next sale, we will add the documents relating to the sale by tender.

Property Records

1.3.29 Property maintenance files are maintained by the Property and Materiel Assistant. A review of these files indicated that they were incomplete and not filed in an orderly fashion. All work orders are received by E-mail. Copies are not placed on the files. The Property and Materiel Assistant maintains work orders electronically but they are not filed by property nor are they contained in a shared drive which can be accessed by other staff in the Section. Although we encourage the Mission in its efforts to reduce paper load, it is necessary to place copies of work orders on the files for historical purposes. Complete files are necessary to provide anyone else referring to the files with sufficient background.

Recommendation for Mission

1.3.30 Ensure that Mission Property files contain adequate histories of maintenance carried out in all properties.

Mission Response

1.3.30 The Property Officer keeps a copy of the purchase orders and work invoices in the SQ files.

Security Deposits

1.3.31 The Mission has many security deposits for telephone, electrical and water hookups that have not been properly accounted for and as such, do not appear in FINEX records of outstanding advances. The Property and Materiel Assistant has a full record of these deposits and holds all the necessary documentation to recover these deposits. There are only two security deposits on leased SQs (PR3230084, 085) which were coded as security deposits. Unfortunately, the amount coded as security deposits was incorrect in that it included amounts that would not be refundable such as fiscal stamps.

Recommendation for Mission

1.3.32 Liaise with SBR to determine how security deposits which have not been coded correctly can be properly captured in IMS.

Mission Response

1.3.32 The codes are being converted to suit IMS.

Gasoline Usage and Control

1.3.33 Gasoline for Mission vehicles is purchased with coupons. Control on the coupons is good. The Mission has developed a program in Lotus Approach which tracks coupon and gasoline usage. The Audit Team views this as a "best practice" and suggests that a field be added to calculate gasoline consumption on each vehicle for electronic monitoring. The gas coupons have a stub which is not being completed by the garage or returned to Administration.

Recommendation for Mission

1.3.34 Ensure that gasoline coupon stubs are returned to the Administrative Assistant for control, verification and retention.

Mission Response

1.3.34 Done.

Generators

1.3.35 The generators currently in use in the SQs were shipped from Ouagadougou in 1992 after having been in use for approximately two years. They now have approximately ten years of use and require considerable maintenance. The MCO has negotiated a maintenance contract for the generators which also includes preventative maintenance. Given the condition of the generators, SRSF is investigating replacement in 1999.

1.4 Finance

1.4.1 The MCO is responsible for the provision of financial services at the Mission. He is assisted by an Accountant (Asst 07) and an Assistant Accountant (Asst 05) who is responsible for the entry information from Conakry into Finex. Financial services to the Mission and to Conakry are very well managed and very effective. However, the existing banking agreements are unsatisfactory; thus, the Mission's cash account is exposing the Mission to increased risk. The cash account is no longer necessary. Certain salary payment improvements could be made in the interests of enhanced efficiency.

Cash Management

1.4.2 The Audit Team examined the books and the bank reconciliation statements for the months of November and December 1998. It found that the Mission's financial services are in very good order and efficiently managed. Bank balances are low and outstanding cheques are well justified.

1.4.3 The method used by the Mission to meet the CIDA Section's funds requirements contributes to efficient cash management and helps keep bank balances low. The Mission requests transfers of funds from Paris upon receipt of invoices from CIDA Section contractors; this obviates the need to obtain estimates and keep a high bank balance.

LES Salary Payments

1.4.4 The LES Handbook states that LES salaries are to be paid on the 15th and/or the end of each month. Once the LES choose when they want to be paid, they have a choice of methods in which to be paid, either by cash, cheque or electronic funds transfers. The Accountant therefore produces four separate paylists per month. In order to streamline this process and reduce the attendant workload, there should be only one method of payment.

Recommendation for Mission

1.4.5 Implement a salary payment policy.

Mission Response

1.4.5 We concur. All staff are now paid by cheque at the end of the month, except for a few employees who have taken out loans or mortgages from the bank, for them, we use electronic funds transfer.

Bank Account

1.4.6

1.4.7 Originally, the cash account was created to enable CB staff to convert funds without delay and without having to incur bank charges, since the Mission couldn't deposit its local revenues (in CFA francs) into a convertible account. But these reasons are no longer justified, because the banking system in Senegal has changed in recent years. The Mission now has other options: for instance, British and Italian diplomats are using new banks such as Citibank. Deposits are made without delay, and bank charges, while high, are taken into account in the post index.

The Mission is also unhappy with the services provided by the bank it currently deals with due to high service charges and frequent errors. The time is appropriate to look into concluding a new banking agreements.

Recommendations for Mission

1.4.8 Open a non-convertible CFA francs account with the approval of SBD.

1.4.9

1.4.10 Negotiate new banking arrangements for the Mission.

Mission Responses

1.4.8/1.4.9 Consultations are under way with SMF. The current practice was originally approved by HQ. In the coming days, we will follow up with SMF and PAM in order to obtain authorization to open and maintain a cash account.

Comment by SIV

SIV referred the question to PAM and SMF. SMF agrees that the current system is no longer necessary and feels that the Mission and must in any case conform to Treasury Board's policies on cash management.

1.4.10 Under way. Will be done in April. We will do what it takes to negotiate agreements of a more favourable nature. We have received service offers from several banks and will be making recommendations to HQ. At first blush, it seems that changing banks might be advantageous.

Hospitality

1.4.11 The hospitality guidelines are generally being respected. The per capita rates are current. However, review of the hospitality files revealed that the Mission might benefit from a reminder to CB staff that the purpose of hospitality events is to increase contacts with local and foreign representatives and that consequently, events should not be held where there are only Canadian guests. The HOM took note of these comments and indicated that she will take appropriate action to ensure compliance in the future.

Contracts

1.4.12 Contract management in general can be improved. A review of the existing contracts revealed that they are not current. There is no central register. Contracts are held by the Accountant, the Administrative Assistant and the LE Property and Materiel Assistant. Therefore, there is no method for identifying renewal dates, notice dates, etc. While the Mission has a Contract Review Board, documentation relating to selection criteria and evaluation methods could not be found on file.

Recommendation for Mission

1.4.13 Delegate responsibility for contract management to one individual.

1.4.14 Establish a contract Register.

1.4.15 Retain justifying document on each contract file.

Mission Responses

1.4.13 Done. The MCO is handling this task.

1.4.14 Done. Maintained by the accountant.

1.4.15 Done.

1.5 Information Management

Management of the Program

1.5.1 The MCO has overall responsibility for Information Management in the Mission. The CB SCY is responsible for secure communications and the CB Administrative Assistant is responsible for the Registry and organizational mail. Other than the issues usually found relating to equipment and line failures, there are no problems in this area.

1.5.2 The LE Systems Administrator was recently hired having only been on the job for two months. She had just recently returned from HQ after completing SIGNET training. The MCO is in the process of establishing objectives and a workplan for her taking into consideration input provided by Program Managers, and will be developing a training plan. He has given much thought to implementation of SIGNET 2000 and IMS which will be rolled out to the Mission this year and believes the Mission is in good position to handle these changes. Local facilities exist for software training but the MCO will provide most training in-house presented by the SA relying on distance training provided by the SIGNET 2000 and IMS implementation teams. The Mission will put emphasis on ensuring employees have good basic knowledge before moving on to training in more sophisticated systems.

Year 2000

1.5.3 The MCO has the prime responsibility for Year 2000 (Y2K) readiness and is aware of the potential problems associated with Y2K. The SA, although familiar with potential Y2K problems, has not yet worked on this issue in the Mission. She has updated the hardware inventory and will be completing the software inventory.

1.5.4 HQ records indicated that the Mission's Y2K compliance reporting was 75 percent completed as of October 1998. At the time of the audit, the MCO assured the Audit Team that the compliance kit was 100 percent complete, but the report had not yet reached HQ. The report on building systems has been completed and submitted to HQ.

1.5.5 The Mission has not completed an inventory of software packages but does have some off-the-shelf packages which they will verify for compliance. They have one application which was developed in the Mission written in Lotus Approach which tracks gasoline and gasoline coupon usage which the Mission will have to verify for compliance.

Consular Program

2.1 Management of Program

2.1.1 The Consular Program is under the direct responsibility of the MCO with daily operations the responsibility of a very knowledgeable LE Consular/Immigration Assistant (ASST-07). The Consular/Immigration Assistant also provides Immigration services for which she reports to the CB PERPA officer. Approximately 20 percent of her time is spent on Consular Services and the balance on Immigration.

2.1.2 Upon arrival at the Mission in 1998, the HOM sent a letter to all Canadians registered in ROCA in which she introduced herself, outlined briefly her objectives and invited their participation and input. The Audit Team viewed this as a "Best Practice".

2.2 Service to Canadian Citizens

2.2.1 There are approximately 400 Canadians registered in Senegal. The Mission also has consular responsibilities for Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Gambia. There is only one Canadian registered in Guinea-Bissau, approximately 20 Canadians registered in Cape Verde, 70 in Mauritania and 100 in Gambia. The Mission also has responsibility for approximately 400 registered Australian citizens.

2.2.2 The MCO takes primary responsibility for consular cases with the Consular/Immigration Assistant handling mostly passport, citizenship and ROCA. Although the consular workload is not particularly heavy, it is complicated by the fact that the Mission provides coverage to five countries. The Consular Contingency Plan is in good order for Senegal. There is a warden system in place and the Mission has close contact with the wardens. The Mission is now working on developing contingency plans for Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Gambia.

2.3 Passport Services

2.3.1 Passport and citizenship services are effectively provided by the Consular/Immigration Assistant. According to COMIP reports for November, December 1998 and January 1999, the Mission handled an average of 18 passport cases and 23 citizenship cases per month.

2.4 Honorary Consuls

2.4.1 There is one Honorary Consul in the Mission territory, in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Although she was appointed in August 1997, she did not actively take up her duties until 1999. She did not have an office or equipment and did not have an assistant to provide continuous service. The MCO travelled to Nouakchott in March 1999 and was able to put in place the necessary infrastructure. The Honorary Consul is now providing the requisite services.

2.5 Admission to Canada

2.5.1 The CB PERPA officer is responsible for visa services under the guidance of the Program Manager in Abidjan. The Consular/Immigration Assistant spends 80 percent of her time on visas and student authorization issuances. All visa requests are entered into CAMANT by the Receptionist. This facilitates the work of the Section as they can determine if previous visas have been issued or refused and they can respond easily to requests for information from other Embassies. The Consular Services Bureau has no concerns with this use of CAMANT.

2.5.2 The Mission's cash register is not functional and is irreparable therefore all revenues are handled manually. The volume of visa issues warrants the use of a cash register which would provide better revenue control and produce official receipts.

2.5.3 Consular and Immigration fees are established in local currency by Abidjan for the entire CFA Franc zone which includes Dakar. Providing change to clients poses a problem for the Consular/Immigration Assistant since she has not been provided with a cash float.

Recommendations for Mission

2.5.4 Obtain a cash register in support of the Immigration/Consular Program.

2.5.5 Provide a cash float to the Consular/Immigration Assistant.

Mission Responses

2.5.4 A request was submitted to the immigration service in Abidjan when its representative was last in Dakar. In the meantime, the Consular Assistant is using her safe. The immigration service is not convinced that a cash register is necessary, or even useful. The money is protected, since it is now stored in a safe.

2.5.5 The Mission now requires clients to pay the exact amount, which has obviated the need for a petty cash.

International Business Development Program (IBD)

3.1 Management of the Program

3.1.1 The IBD Section is managed by the CB PERPA Officer (0.2 FTE) who is interested, and active, in the IBD Program. Given other high priority demands on this officer's time, it is unlikely that this proportion of the officer's work can be increased and so the management of this Program is, and will remain, largely non-technical and part-time. However, the Embassy gives strong support to the Program and sees an increasing level of Canadian business interest in the market here and in some of the other four countries of accreditation. Visit management is an important aspect of the Section's work because many Canadian business visitors begin their trips to Francophone West Africa in Dakar.

3.1.2 Full-time IBD operations are carried out by an LE Commercial Officer (CO), who was hired by the Mission in 1997.

There is a regular, weekly, bilateral Program meeting with the supervising CB PERPA officer as well as a weekly meeting with all other PERPA staff to discuss Program operations and objectives. The HOM is also an active supporter of the IBD Program. Clerical and secretarial support is provided part-time (0.2 FTE) by an LE steno/clerk.

3.1.3

Recommendation for GAF

3.1.4

GAF Response

3.1.4

Political & Economic Relations and Public Affairs Program

4.1 Management of the Programs

4.1.1 Considering the modest resources, these are well-run and managed Programs with timely reporting and Program implementation fully meeting Departmental expectations.

4.1.2 Program resources include the CB PERPA Officer (0.6 FTE) and a full-time LE Assistant for cultural relations\media\information work. Support is provided (0.5 FTE) by an LE Secretary/clerk. The HOM is also an active participant in, and supporter of, the PERPA Program. The PERPA Officer does not have an accountability document\agreement with the HOM that relates to the HOM's accountability document. Performance objectives are discussed with the HOM every six months as part of annual appraisal procedures. Bilateral communications with the HOM are excellent and there is also a weekly Program Committee. Members of this committee are the HOM, PERPA head, the three CIDA Officers and the Head of the BACC. The purpose of the Committee is to discuss program objectives, operations and upcoming visits.

4.1.3 Because of its geographical location in West Africa, important development assistance programmes and Senegal's influence in the Francophonie, the Mission receives a significant number of visitors, including recently, the Governor General. Visits are well-managed, which, considering the environment, is a significant accomplishment. However, these visits put a great deal of strain on the limited resources of the Mission as it has not been staffed for the number of visits it receives, so normal Program activities suffer as a result.

4.1.4 The Mission has four other countries of accreditation: Mauritania, Gambia, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. Interim political and economic reporting on these four countries and maintaining contacts therein is only possible in conjunction with a visit to one of these areas. Visits do not occur with great frequency. Travel itself, to and in, these countries is enervating and facilities to accommodate the traveller in Mauritania and Guinea-Bissau leave much to be desired. The culture and politics of Mauritania is basically Arab and so is more focussed on the Maghreb than the Sahel.

4.1.5 While the PERPA Officer produces excellent political reports, the Mission has no LE Political\Economic Analyst to provide in-depth knowledge of the local "scene" and continuity between the assignments of CB staff. To compensate, the BACC produces an excellent trimestral review of the political, economic and social situation in Senegal which is then used by other sections in the Mission. However, it is not distributed to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), who would be interested in the implications for refugee movements.

4.1.6 The duties of the LE Cultural/Information/Press Program employee are carried out efficiently and her work is well organized, managed and supervised but she does not have a formal accountability agreement with her supervisor.

4.1.7 Hospitality diaries indicate an effective use of funds and close association with Program activities and goals.


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Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.8 Distribute the BACC-produced trimestral review of the political, economic and social situation in Senegal to CIC.

4.1.9 Produce accountability documents for the PERPA Officer and the LE Cultural/Information/Press Program employee.

Recommendation for GAF

4.1.10 Recognize in tasking the Mission that its resources are extremely limited and that the responsibilities of the PERPA Officer are divided among four Program areas with five countries of accreditation.

Mission Responses

4.1.8 Contact at CIC identified. Will be done from now on.

4.1.9 Under way. Target date: January 31, 2000.

GAF Response

4.1.10 We are aware of the problem, but unless additional resources are provided the situation is unlikely to change. We mentioned it to the HOM, and creativity will need to be shown-both by the Mission and by HQ-pending a solution.

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2008-11-11