Official 2018 tax filings with the US Internal Revenue Service show that senior management of the accreditation body ANAB continue to act as de facto managers of the International Accreditation Forum, or IAF.
The IAF is tasked with overseeing the entire world’s ISO accreditation scheme, and has been criticized for allowing ANAB and other bodies to run roughshod over accreditation rules. The tax filings appear to show that any attempt to have the IAF exercise control over ANAB would trigger an insurmountable conflict of interest for both organizations.
Despite registering its business in Delaware and being run by a private consultant, Elva Nilsen, from Ottawa, the IAF used the ANAB street address in Milwaukee WI on its official 9901 tax form. The form was then signed by ANAB president Keith Greenaway, under the title of “principal officer” and Treasurer for the IAF.
The form reveals the names of various IAF officers, all of whom were not compensated, pulling back the curtain on an organization that works hard to hide the people behind it. The names include Keith Greenaway (Treasurer), Xiao Jianhua (Chairman), Peter Kronvall (Director), Sheronda Jeffries (Director), Marcus Long (Director), Emanuele Riva (Vice-Chairman), Vu Thuy (Director), and Rick Parsons (CFO). Most of the individuals come from other accreditation bodies, each of which is also intended to be overseen by the IAF.
ANAB’s former VP, Randy Dougherty, appears listed only as the IAF’s prior Treasurer. He gave up that position in 2018, handing it over to Greenaway.
Keith Greenaway is the son of Skip Greenaway, the president of the ISO registrar EAGLE Registrations. EAGLE is accredited by ANAB, meaning the son oversees the accreditation of his father’s company, adding more conflicts of interest.
EAGLE was subject to a complaint when it ran a “consultant referral program” that allowed consultants who deliver at least three clients to EAGLE to be listed on their preferred consultant registry. Oxebridge argued this invited conflicts of interest, by inducing EAGLE to “go easy” on the clients of listed consultants in order to keep the referrals flowing. EAGLE representatives characterized questions about the propriety of the arrangement as “aggression,” and ANAB failed to take any action against the practice. The IAF remained silent on the arrangement, but has supported such “consultant referral programs” in the past.
Elva Nilsen remains the main recipient of the IAF’s payroll, working through her private consulting firm, EJN Consulting of Chelsea, Quebec. She was paid $295,000 for her services in 2018, or approximately 1/4 of the IAF’s total annual revenue. Nilsen’s duties, according to the tax filing, are:
All duties required by Board Secretary, receiving and processing applications for membership, annual meeting coordination, ballot coordination, finding a competent individual to serve as CFO, providing financial and accounting services, website management, communications management and records maintenance and retention.
The IAF has stripped all references for Nilsen from its website, and now sends all emails without any identification or signature line. It is understood that Nilsen is the only person sending emails on IAF’s behalf.
Irnically, Nilsen demands that whistleblowers identify themselves, and rejects complaints that are unsigned, even as she refuses to sign the emails making such demands.
IAF’s Chairman, Xiao Jianhua, is a Chinese national from the Chinese accreditation body, CNAS. That organization is obligated under Chinese law to put the priorities of that country ahead of all other business concerns. ISO and the various attendant bodies, including ISO, the IAF and ASQ, have worked hard to offset losses in the Americas and Europe by reaching out to China’s market, giving leadership positions to prominent Chinese officials.
Xiao does not respond to complaints or concerns raised with IAF. It appears Nilsen acts as a “firewall” for Xiao, preventing access to him.
The IAF has been criticized by Oxebridge and others for routinely failing to uphold the accreditation standards within the ISO 9001 and related certification schemes, specifically ISO 17021-1 and ISO 17011. These standards are incorporated into the IAF’s bylaws, making them enforceable under US law. Making matters more complicated for the IAF, the standards are then referenced in the IRS tax filing, which was signed under penalty of perjury by Greenaway.
If it is proven that Nilsen and the IAF do not perform their published responsibilities, this could amount to filing of fraudulent tax returns, resulting in criminal penalties for the organization and its officers.
Oxebridge is exploring legal avenues to force the IAF to perform its responsibilities. Given the relationship between IAF and ANAB, any such actions would likely involve ANAB, as well as its parent organization, ANSI.
The IAF has no legal budget to speak of, having spent only $240 in legal expenses for the year 2018. This would support Oxebridge’s assertion that the decisions by Nilsen and Greenaway are not vetted by competent attorneys, allowing the IAF to risk violating US and other nation’s laws.