UN`s internal watchdog faces leadership vacuum

Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 10:35

New York: The leader of the agency that is supposed to root out corruption in the United Nations stepped down on Wednesday with no successor in sight, adding to fears that the UN is becoming less capable of policing itself.

With the departure of Inga-Britt Ahlenius, head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services for the past five years, three of the agency`s four top jobs are unfilled.

American and UN officials, and watchdog groups are concerned that the UN is compromising its ability to prevent another scandal like the USD 1.8 billion bilked from the UN-run oil-for-food program in Iraq.

"The United States has consistently and aggressively pushed for a strong and independent Office of Internal Oversight Services to uncover fraud, waste and mismanagement at the UN, but we are disappointed with the recent performance of its investigations division," said Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the US Mission to the UN.

"We have been crystal clear with the UN at the highest levels that the coming change in OIOS leadership must bring about a significant improvement in its performance to increase oversight and transparency throughout the organisation," he said.

Despite a General Assembly resolution in December urging Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure that a successor was appointed before Ms Ahlenius` term expired, none has been named and no indication has been given of when that will happen.

Bureau Report




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