UN auditors recover 26 million in savings over the past year

In its annual report to the General Assembly, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) states that more than half of the 541 recommendations it made during 2003-04 have either been implemented or are already in progress.The recommendations called for $16.4 million of savings and recoveries, but OIOS says an extra $10.2 million was actually saved when some recommendations from previous years were finally implemented. Since it began work in 1994, OIOS has identified an average of $31 million in savings every year.Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services Dileep Nair, who completes his five-year term in April next year, says in the report that OIOS can and should have more independence from the UN, especially in managing its finances and its staff.”Operationally, this will remove any potential for a conflict of interest, given that OIOS has to go through departments that it has oversight of,” he states.The report highlights the 153 audits conducted by OIOS, including reviews of peacekeeping operations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and procurement and programme management.It also states that it is auditing field security procedures at 14 peacekeeping missions and six political and peace-building missions.During the year, OIOS identified and reviewed several examples of fraud, mismanagement or poor financial or administrative planning across the UN system.In one case, a security officer with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) defrauded the UN of $130,000 by submitting fraudulent claims for education grants. The ICTR is now implementing the Office’s recommendations in the matter.In another example, the honorary representative of a field office with UNHCR was found to have abused his position for many years to organize the buying and re-selling, at profit, of international driver licences. That representative’s contract has not been renewed.

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