Ban urges stronger UN investigative powers to combat fraud

[JURIST] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Monday that the UN "needs some strengthened investigative capacity" to combat fraud and increase transparency. During his first press conference [transcript] of the year, Ban said that although the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) [official website] has found fraud within the UN, more robust investigative authority would help the organization:

As for some reports about procurement fraud which have appeared in some of the media, I would like to make it quite clear that I do not agree with all that has been reported. It is true that there was some fraud, which was found, investigated by our own OIOS teams. The amount which has been the subject of procurement fraud was sort of an aggregate sum, not the fraud itself, so there were some exaggerations and incorrect reporting...It was not in the amount of several hundred million dollars. That several hundred million dollars was the total aggregate sum of the project fund...

At this time I think the United Nations needs some strengthened investigative capacity. We have many different mandates, different organizations and different agencies, starting from the ombudsman, OIOS, the Ethics Office; and there are all the specialized agencies and funds and programmes. In November of last year, with my consistent efforts, we were able to have a standardized ethics rule which will be applied to all the agencies, funds and programmes. That was very good progress in terms of ensuring and strengthening transparency and accountability. That effort will continue this year and in coming years.

But I hope that Member States one day will consider how we can strengthen the investigative capacity. We don't have such investigative capacity in the United Nations. We have been relying upon this Procurement Task Force. Fortunately, that mandate has been extended for another year.
Reuters has more.

 

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