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The World Bank
Governance Global Practice
Governance Systems Unit

Ukraine, Bulgaria, Honduras
January 2014 - April 2016

Senior Public Sector Management Specialist and Governance and Inclusive Institutions Directorate

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Honduras

As the Task Team Leader of the World Bank, I forged partnership with the UNODC in conducting reviews and supporting compliance of the United Nations Conventions against Corruption (UNCAC) as part of Bank’s global agenda to combat corruption.

I together with UNODC, provided technical assistance to the National Anti-Corruption Council (CNA) of Honduras in conducting the Self-Assessment of Honduras’ compliance with the UNCAC. The UNCAC assessment was pending for more than two years, but I was able to complete the Self-assessment report in three months and formally submit that to the UNODC Secretariat on June 30, 2015. The draft Self-Assessment report covered two chapters of the UNCAC: Chapter III on Criminalization and Law Enforcement and Chapter IV on International Cooperation. The self-assessment was prepared through an inclusive process in which relevant government and judicial agencies have actively participated.

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Bulgaria

As the Task Team Leader, I led the Bulgarian Judiciary Public Expenditure Review, which was delivered to the Government in December 2015. I consulted with senior officials of Supreme Judicial Council, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, National Audit Office, and District Court in Sofia and Plovdiv. I collected necessary information, data and documents for preparing the public expenditure and institutional review report.

This was a sensitive assignment which involved working with a number of counterparts and stakeholders, some of whom are on record as being hostile to the Bank. I engaged effectively with all national counterparts. In an environment of low trust, I was able to gain their trust, securing their attention and engagement, among other things, by listening well and consistently modeling an objective and fair approach.

My work was characterized by a thorough knowledge of the sector, detailed benchmarking of performance against other country peers and a clearly written report setting out the findings in a straightforward manner with recommendations building logically on those findings.

I actively sought out comments from colleagues including the Country Director and was fully responsive to them. Ultimately the report was very well received by the authorities. The Minister used it as the basis for his response to a Parliamentary debate on the financing of the Judicial sector It was an excellent example of our work being used to inform and influence key policy choices.

The report continued to be useful both in the country dialogue and in our ongoing analytical work. For example, it was the key source of information for a highly regarded report on the Sub-National Doing Business environment in Bulgaria where it was the main source of information of the “Contractual Dispute” indicator.

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Ukraine

As the Task Team Leader, I led the preparation of Implementation Completion and Results (ICR) Report for Ukraine PFM Project. It was a $65 million project, which was extended/ restructured 3 times, leading to a total project time of 7 years between 2008-2014. The major component of establishing Public Financial Management System (PFMS), for which $61.5 million was allocated, could not be delivered, due to a procurement failure. Only $3.94 million could be disbursed and the rest of the loan was cancelled.

I examined the reasons of procurement failure and found that international competitive bidding was done thrice but failed. In the first bidding, while everything was going on smoothly, a complaint was received, which the Bank team sent to INT for investigation. This led to a complete halt and subsequent cancellation of those bidding. I then chose to dig out that complaint from the system.

We discovered that it was an ‘anonymous’ complaint and that there was no corruption alleged in that complaint. It was only suggesting that the technical specifications in the bidding document could help a particular software. That could have been handled by examining the technical specifications and revising them as necessary, and there was no cause for requesting an INT investigation. In the end, INT didn’t find any corruption in their investigation, and the project failed to procure the PFMS. We went up to the root of the problem and diagnosed the cause of failure.

Our assessment of outcomes and Bank and Government performance was, therefore, not very positive. We prepared a draft ICR Report and presented in a Quality Enhancement Review (QER) Meeting. Thereafter, stakeholder consultation was organized in Kyiv and findings of ICR presented and their feedback taken.

The draft ICR was further revised and submitted to management for approval. The final ICR Report was approved by the management. IEG reviewed the ICR and rated the Quality of ICR as “Exemplary”.