No plans at USAID to release AED investigation findings

The Universal South building serves as the headquarters of AED. Photo by: M.V. Jantzen / CC BY-NC

The U.S. Agency for International Development does not intend to make public any details of its investigation of the Academy for Educational Development in the near future.

“USAID does not have plans to issue any products or publications in the near future” regarding its ongoing investigation of AED, said James Charlifue, a deputy assistant inspector general at USAID who was referred to Devex by USAID’s press office.

Charlifue would not comment on the nature of the AED case because it is an “open and ongoing investgiation,” but noted that the inspector general’s investigations unit is handling AED’s case. This unit works independently of other units in the inspector general’s office because it looks into protected matters, including allegations of criminal behavior. Typically, the investigation’s unit does not make its findings public and the office does not communicate details of its preliminary findings to other USAID offices, he said.

According to USAID’s website, the investigation’s unit is staffed by “Special Agents, be they Civil Service Criminal Investigators or Foreign Service Criminal Investigators, [who] have full law enforcement officer authority and employ an array of investigative techniques including interviews, surveillance, electronic monitoring, undercover operations, subpoenas, and the execution of arrest and search warrants.”

By contrast, Charlifue noted, the inspector general’s audit office handles routine performance audits that are made public.

In December 2010, USAID barred AED from receiving any new U.S. government funds because of “serious corporate misconduct, mismanagement, and a lack of internal controls.”

>> AED Barred From Receiving New USAID Funding Pending Investigation into Consultancy’s Af-Pak Work

As Slate.com pointed out in a recent article on the matter, USAID has faced mounting criticism of how it is handling the AED suspension.

For its part, AED has not provided much information about its future or why USAID’s debarment has led to the 50-year-old organization’s demise. The origanization said in March 2011 that it will essentially disband and transfer its assets to a single acquirer.

>> What’s Next in AED Asset Sale: A Conversation with Misha Galley

Indeed, some employees at AED have noted that they have received little information outside of what is made public on AED’s website about the transfer. Instead, they have been instructed to continue their work and have been told that the transfer to a single acquirer is meant to ensure as much continuity of operations as possible.

Despite trying to keep its programs running smoothly amid the current uncertainties, AED has made various management changes. Most recently, it announced that Larry Thomas, vice president of its benefits department, will head up its new human resources and corporate benefits department. In a release, the organization stated that “In the coming months, AED’s many projects and nearly 2,800 staff will move to a new organization as AED is currently moving through a divestiture process. Thomas will help ensure that the transition is smooth for AED’s employees and the acquiring organization.”

Read more:

  • What’s Next in AED Asset Sale: A Conversation with Misha Galley

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