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Cablegate: Usaid-Funded Partner Required to Hand Over Usaid Property

VZCZCXRO8157
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0156/01 0321115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011115Z FEB 08 ZDK CTG RUEHNK 8468 0340826
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9858
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000156

SIPDIS

AIDAC
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND BPITTMAN
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR FSHANKS
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: USAID-FUNDED PARTNER REQUIRED TO HAND OVER USAID PROPERTY
TO HAC AND PAY ADDITIONAL SALARIES

REF: (A) KHARTOUM 106

(B) KHARTOUM 100
(C) KHARTOUM 91

KHARTOUM 00000156 001.4 OF 002


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI) has been
implementing a wide range of programming including civic education,
protection, capacity building for non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) and the provision of tangible peace dividends in Sudan over
the past three years. The week of January 28, the Government of
National Unity's (GNU) Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) required
Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), an assistance partner
with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), to hand over
four Toyota Land Cruisers. In addition, DAI staff were required to
accompany HAC officials to the office of another USAID implementing
partner, PADCO, to inventory former DAI items with the intent that
HAC would later take possession of these items as well. PADCO has
also been required to provide more detailed program documents to HAC
for approval than is standard practice for OTI's implementing
partners. These recent actions are part of an ongoing trend of HAC
attempts to interfere with USAID programming. End Summary.

-------------------------------------------
HAC ADDS DEMANDS BEFORE DAI CAN LEAVE SUDAN
-------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) According to Luis Rodriguez, the Chief of Party (CoP) of
DAI, on January 27 DAI paid six months of wages to each of the
employees working in its Darfur and Khartoum offices, in order for
HAC to allow the CoP to leave Sudan. (REFTEL) (Note: We believe
this labor dispute should have been resolved in labor court. End
note.) The DAI CoP indicated that in a January 28 meeting Mutasim
Abu Elgasim, the NGO Director of HAC (reputed to be a Sudanese
Intelligence officer), added two more requirements: 1) that DAI hand
over to HAC four vehicles from their Khartoum office which had
recently been intended for PADCO, OTI's new implementing partner
(per normal OTI procedures for transferring equipment); and 2) that
the DAI CoP accompany him to PADCO's office to document all the
inventory transferred from DAI to PADCO (presumably indicating that
HAC now intends to take control of the inventory).

3. (SBU) DAI complied with these demands and its last staff member
left Sudan on January 29. The vehicles and other equipment were
USAID-funded and the handing-over these assets to the HAC will
impact the budgets of other OTI partners.

-----------------------------------
MEETING BETWEEN HAC, DAI, AND PADCO
-----------------------------------

3. (SBU) The meeting at PADCO on January 28 included the DAI CoP,
Marv Koop (PADCO CoP), and Mutasim Abu Elgasim and Salah Hamid
Mohamed, a "security advisor" in HAC's NGO office. According to the
PADCO CoP, during the meeting, Mutasim required PADCO to write and
sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) specifying that PADCO would
store the former DAI inventory in PADCO's office until it is taken
into the custody of HAC for re-disposition. In addition, PADCO had
to sign another MoU stating that the generator and air conditioner,
both of which are still in the former DAI Khartoum office, would be
similarly stored by the owner of the building.

4. (SBU) The PADCO CoP indicated that he made several attempts to
list USAID in the disposition decision-making process included in
the MoU. The PADCO CoP also told USAID staff that he asserted his
understanding that an agreement existed between HAC Commissioner
Hassabo and the USAID/Sudan Mission Director Patrick Fleuret on the
disposition of DAI's inventory (it also violates a similar agreement
between CDA Fernandez and Humanitarian Affairs Minister Harun Run
Lual, ostensibly the HAC's boss). The PADCO CoP stated that Mutasim
agreed that this political process was above his head and his task
was only to ensure that HAC had custody of the assets. As a result,
any reference to USAID's role in the disposition of assets process
was removed from the signed MoUs.

--------------------------------------------- -
DAI REQUIRED TO PAY SIX MONTHS SALARY TO STAFF

KHARTOUM 00000156 002.4 OF 002


--------------------------------------------- -

5. (SBU) The DAI CoP also told USAID staff that during the meeting
at PADCO, an employee from one of two DAI offices in the Three Areas
region of Sudan entered the office and requested that all staff in
these offices also be paid six months of wages. In response, the HAC
official added this request to his list of requirements that must be
completed before the DAI CoP was permitted to leave the country. The
DAI CoP said that Mutasim agreed to allow him to leave the country
only after signing an agreement indicating that DAI would send
payment for these salaries to Sudan. According to the PADCO CoP, the
DAI CoP asked if DAI could transfer the funds to PADCO's bank
account in Sudan to fulfill this requirement.

--------------------------------------------- -----
HAC CLAIMS LACK OF COOPERATIVE/BILATERAL AGREEMENT
--------------------------------------------- -----
6. (SBU) According to the PADCO CoP, Mutasim inferred that there was
a problem with the fact that OTI did not have a
cooperative/bilateral agreement with the GNU as did, he stated,
other parts of USAID. (Note: There is a bilateral agreement between
the USG and the GOS that allows for a "special mission" which is
USAID. There are no separate agreements for other offices. USAID's
position is that the bilateral agreement would cover all USAID
programs and perhaps all USG programs).

7. (SBU) The PADCO CoP explained that he would meet Mutasim at 09:00
hours local time, January 30, to begin the process with HAC to
facilitate technical agreements, entry visas, customs agreements,
and other administrative procedures required for PADCO to begin
implementing USAID-funded programs in Sudan. The PADCO CoP plans to
present PADCO's 2008 program, budget for grants and operations,
intended areas of activities, and potential local partners.

8. (SBU) Comment: We are witnessing a disturbing trend that has set
a serious precedent for future USAID implementing partners as well
as for other donors. Embassy has already twice expressed our deep
concern to the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, to little apparent
avail. We will seek an agreement that such egregious seizure of
assets will not occur again. Whether this is a coordinated GOS
campaign against the USG and US-funded INGOs remains to be seen but
the regime has traditionally thrived on just this sort of ambiguity
to fabricate multiple crises for the international community.

FERNANDEZ

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