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New report shows millions of dollars saved through work of UN oversight body

New report shows millions of dollars saved through work of UN oversight body

Under-Secretary-General Dileep Nair
The United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has saved the Organization millions of dollars in recent months, according to a new report released today at UN Headquarters in New York.

"Savings and recoveries-wise, we have managed to reach something like $58 million resulting from audits, inspections and investigations," said the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, Dileep Nair, at a press conference held in conjunction with the release of the report, which covers work from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001. "We also realized expenditure reductions of something like $8 million, and $2.5 million have actually been recovered during the reporting period," he added.

Among the oversight body's accomplishments, Mr. Nair pointed to its investigation of a scheme to defraud refugees seeking assistance through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Branch Office in Nairobi. "This investigation resulted in the arrest of nine individuals who are currently being prosecuted in the Kenyan courts," he said.

In another area, OIOS audits identified potential savings and recoveries totalling $4.5 million annually at UNHCR's emergency operation in Kosovo. "Out of this, $2 million has been recovered," he said.

Mr. Nair explained that progress was ongoing. "You can always try to find productivity improvements, you can find ways of doing things better, you can get management to be more focused," he noted, adding that OIOS worked to facilitate this process.

The Under-Secretary-General acknowledged that the UN had seen "egregious" cases of fraud or misconduct. "Every organization has its share of bad apples," he said. At the same time, he stressed that his office had succeeded in promoting a culture of accepting oversight. "We want to introduce an ethos of integrity, accountability and transparency," he said. "I believe we have started on the road to introducing these values in the UN system."