UN oversight office exposes $56 million in waste and fraud

UN oversight office exposes $56 million in waste and fraud

Chief of OIOS Dileep Nair
The United Nations in-house investigative arm has saved the Organization millions of dollars over the past year by exposing waste and fraud and making recommendations to increase financial efficiency, according to its annual report, which was released today at UN Headquarters in New York.

The United Nations in-house investigative arm has saved the Organization millions of dollars over the past year by exposing waste and fraud and making recommendations to increase financial efficiency, according to its annual report, which was released today at UN Headquarters in New York.

More than half of the over 2,300 recommendations issued by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) over the past year have already been implemented, the report states. If all of the OIOS proposals on waste and fraud are adopted, the UN would save approximately $56 million.

"Management has already realized expenditure reductions totalling some $27 million, and recoveries totalling $1.1 million," Dileep Nair, the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services, told the press in New York.

The execution of OIOS recommendations concerning mission subsistence rates - the amount of supplementary allowances paid to staff members serving in peacekeeping operations - has already yielded savings of $25.5 million, according to the report, which covers the period from June 2001 to July 2002.

The document includes information on OIOS audits on range of UN activities, from the Office of the Iraq Programme to the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

Among other findings, investigators uncovered evidence that some police monitors at the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) had used the services of prostitutes, but there was no explicit evidence of widespread involvement by the monitors in the trafficking of women and young girls. The OIOS recommendations issued in connection with that case are in the process of being implemented by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

The Office is also providing resident audit coverage for the $270 million UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriation and reintegration programme in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.

Since its establishment in 1995, OIOS has exposed waste and fraud at the UN totalling approximately $250 million, of which $150 million has already been recovered, Mr. Nair said.