Inspection of Embassy Cotonou, Benin

ISP-I-23-20
    Report Contents
    Unclassified
    Unclassified

    What OIG Inspected
    OIG inspected the executive direction, policy and program implementation, resource management, and information management operations of Embassy Cotonou.

    What OIG Recommends
    OIG made 12 recommendations to Embassy Cotonou. In its comments on the draft report, the embassy concurred with all 12 recommendations. OIG considers all 12 recommendations resolved. The embassy’s response to each recommendation, and OIG’s reply, can be found in the Recommendations section of this report. The embassy’s formal response is reprinted in its entirety in Appendix B.

    What OIG Found

    • The Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of Mission led Embassy Cotonou in a strategic, inclusive manner consistent with Department of State leadership and management principles.
    • In the absence of resident Department of Defense personnel, the Political-Economic Section managed a substantial increase in security training and assistance in response to the growing threat from violent extremist organizations in northern Benin.
    • The Consular Section was not fully prepared to respond to a crisis and had not prioritized setting up an American Liaison Network.
    • Gaps in overseeing Embassy Cotonou’s management operations contributed to several shortcomings in general services and facility management.
    • Spotlight on Success: The Locally Employed Staff Association’s inclusive organizational approach strengthened embassy community relations.
    • Spotlight on Success: Embassy Cotonou’s Consular Section developed a text messaging process that resulted in applicants arriving better prepared for consular appointments.
    Category
    Locations
    Bureaus/Offices
    Recommendation Number
    1
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should comply with the requirements of the 2013 letter of agreement (and subsequent amendments) between the United States and Benin.

    Recommendation Number
    2
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should comply with Department standards for consular crisis preparedness.

    Recommendation Number
    3
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should manage asylee files in accordance with Department guidance.

    Recommendation Number
    4
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should update and reissue its motor vehicle policy to adhere to Department requirements for other authorized use of U.S. government vehicles.

    Recommendation Number
    5
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should dispose of excess expendable property in accordance with Department guidelines.

    Recommendation Number
    6
    Closed Implemented

    Embassy Cotonou should manage its bulk fuel operations in accordance with Department standards and the embassy’s standard operating procedure on fuel ordering and delivery.

    Recommendation Number
    7
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should operate its residential fire protection program in accordance with Department standards.

    Recommendation Number
    8
    Closed Implemented

    Embassy Cotonou should designate a qualified staff member to monitor the embassy’s contractor safety program in accordance with Department standards.

    Recommendation Number
    9
    Closed Implemented

    Embassy Cotonou, in coordination with the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, should perform semi-annual inspections of the embassy’s mail screening facility in accordance with Department standards.

    Recommendation Number
    10
    Closed Implemented

    Embassy Cotonou should dispose of medications and controlled substances in accordance with Department standards.

    Recommendation Number
    11
    Closed Implemented

    Embassy Cotonou should maintain accurate inventory records of medications in accordance with Department guidelines.

    Recommendation Number
    12
    Open Resolved

    Embassy Cotonou should bring its records management program into compliance with Department standards.