GLOBAL FUND BOARD FIRES INSPECTOR GENERAL
Karanja KinyanjuiArticle Type:
Article Number: 6
An independent external peer review of the audit function was a factor
ABSTRACT The Global Fund Board has decided to fire John Parsons, its Inspector General. The Board said that the decision was made after a careful review of Mr Parsons’ performance, which it found to be “unsatisfactory.”
The Global Fund’s Inspector General, John Parsons, has been fired. The decision was made by the Fund’s Board on 15 November at its 28th meeting in Geneva. A press release from the Fund said that the Board made the decision after a careful review of his performance, “which was found to be unsatisfactory.”
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for overseeing audits and investigations of the Global Fund and its grant implementers.
Despite firing Mr Parsons, the Board said that it supports an independent and strong OIG. “Robust audits and investigations are essential to the health of the Global Fund, to root out instances of financial impropriety and to assure donors and implementers that money is properly accounted for,” the Board said.
The Board said that the decision to fire Parsons, which was effective immediately, was made after considering various factors, including: a performance review; an independent external peer review of the audit function; and a report to the Board from its Audit and Ethics Committee.
The Board said it will appoint an interim Inspector General to help maintain continuity in the audits and investigations currently underway. The Fund will then conduct a search for a new Inspector General, which is expected to take six months.
The OIG was created in 2005 and Mr Parsons ran it from January 2008. Previously, he served as Director of the Internal Oversight Service at UNESCO (from 2001), Director of the Office of Internal Audit at UNICEF (from 1996), and Director of the UK National Audit Office (from 1989).
Mr Parsons was a controversial Inspector General. Relationships between him and the Global Fund Secretariat were usually strained. In addition, some of the OIG’s audits and investigations, particularly in Mr Parsons’ early years at the Fund, were criticised by the entities being audited and investigated.