Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Inspection of the Canadian Embassy Phnom Penh

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March 2009

Table of Contents


1.1 An Inspection of our Embassy in Cambodia was conducted in Phnom Penh November 18 and 19, 2008. The Mission was last audited in January, 1996. The Embassy in Phnom Penh is a micro mission with two Canada-based staff (CBS), a Head of Mission (HOM) and a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Officer and five Locally-engaged staff (LES), a Trade Commissioner, an Office Manager, a Driver and two Security Guards. The five local staff are officially employees of the Australian Embassy.

1.2 The Mission is co-located with the Australians who in addition to Chancery facilities and security provide administrative support to our mission as well as consular assistance to Canadians. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Embassy is on file for the services they provide as well as a Post Specific Financial Agreement covering our co-location. Back-up administration and consular is provided by our missions in Bangkok and Canberra. Bangkok also processes passports received from Phnom Penh.


2.1 The HOM as the sole DFAIT representative covers all aspects of operations for the Political Economic and International Business Development (IBD) Programs and for aspects of the Administrative and Consular Programs not covered per above. Program activities are centered on Canada’s obligations under the Paris Accords to monitor Cambodia’s development, governance and respect for human rights. In support of Cambodia’s efforts in these areas, Canada is a major development assistance donor with CIDA projects delivered through a Post Support Unit. With Cambodia having one of the fastest growing economies in the region, the Mission’s trade objectives and activities include monitoring sectors of interest and providing Canadian business with identified prospects and promoting educational and training opportunities in Canada.

2.2 There is *** teamwork and moral amongst the staff with *** support and leadership from the HOM. *** procedures and documentation were in place on the Program side such as a Country Strategy, Reporting Agreement, HOM Performance Management Plan (PMP), and IBD business plan. As well, all relevant administrative procedures and controls were in place and up to date such as hospitality diaries, inventories, vehicle logs, staffing files, security reports and passport inventories (which were verified with the Australian custodian).

Observations and Recommendation

3.1 There is one *** issue relating to ongoing operations that needs to be addressed on a priority basis by the Department in order to ensure the on-going viability of our mission in Phnom Penh.

3.2 The co-location agreement with the Australians is scheduled to terminate as of May 15, 2009, coinciding with their move to a new chancery. While known for some time by the Mission and the Department, *** giving our mission notice that they will no longer be able to support our operations both as to the premises they provide to us and all that that entails (security and maintenance) and the administrative services that are performed by their staff.

3.3 This leaves the Mission with having to find new offices, rehire staff already working for us and to hire new staff to carry out the services being provided by the Australians.

3.4 In reviewing the resources currently expended by the Australian mission on our behalf, and in consultation with the HOM regarding minimal resource requirements for a stand alone mission, we conclude that at least three new full time equivalent positions will be required as well as contract funds for property maintenance, cleaning and guard services. It should be noted that most of these costs are not incremental as we are paying for them via our financial co-location agreement with the Australians.

3.5 The bigger issue facing the Mission is finding suitable space for a stand alone mission that will accommodate at least eight staff and be accessible to clients. Given the short time frame between now and May 15, 2009 (less than six months) and the fact that Headquarters (HQ) property and security experts cannot visit until the end of January, 2009, it is unlikely that a fully functioning chancery will be ready in time. In fact it will more likely be six months to one year after May 15, given the lack of viable options in Phnom Penh and the time frames required to properly plan for, purchase and fit-up a stand alone chancery.

3.6 Between the May 15th deadline and the establishment of a new chancery, a temporary solution will be required. Possible options include operating out of the HOM’s Staff Quarter (SQ), the CIDA Post Support Unit or some other temporary office site, such as a hotel or serviced apartment. All options would require security and communications fit-up and relocation for the HOM *** if the SQ is chosen. At the same time new staff would have to be hired and trained.

3.7 One interim solution that would require minimal cost and coordination would be to have the HOM operate out of her SQ which already has as a back-up office with a photocopier and fax. Signet remote could be used for communication. The CIDA Officer could temporarily work from the PSU on the same basis. ***

3.8 This is a low cost albeit low profile solution, but it would be the most pragmatic under the circumstances. Recommendation for the South, Southeast Asia Oceania Bureau (GSD)

Recommendation for the South, Southeast Asia Oceania Bureau (GSD)

3.9 The Geographic in consultation with the Property, Security and Consular bureaux, needs to develop a transition plan to deliver core services in Phnom Penh from May 15th, 2009 until a permanent Chancery is established.

GSD Response and Timeframe

3.9 We agree with the recommendation and will take action to deliver a transition plan before the end of April 2009.

Appendix A: Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission management and the General Relations, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs.

The inspection objectives were to:

  • Assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the programs;
  • Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • Assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision-making and accountability purposes;
  • Ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving valuefor- money; and,
  • Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs.

The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and LES, and the review of documentation. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.

Appendix B: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Official Residence--
Staff Quarters2-

Table 2: Mission Resources Financial Information
Financial Information 2007- 08 (CAD$)
Operating Budget (N001)$289,102
Capital Budget (N005)$15, 241
LES Salary Budget (N012)N/A

Appendix C: Organization Chart

Organization Chart

Table 3: Organization Chart
Head of mission (FS-04)Chef de mission (FS-04)
Canadian International Development Agency
Agence canadienne de développement international
International Business Development
(1 LES)
Expansion internationale des affaires
(1 LES)
(2 LES)
(2 LES)

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