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New Chief For UN Internal Oversight Takes Office


New York, Jul 20 2005 3:00PM

Hailed by a senior United Nations official as a remarkable woman of vital integrity, the world body's new chief watchdog met the press for the first time in her new capacity today, saying she was pleased to be at the UN during a time of such far-reaching changes.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Chief of Staff, Mark Malloch Brown introduced veteran Swedish inspector and auditor Inga-Britt Ahlenius as the new Under-Secretary-General for the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

Previously the former Auditor-General of Kosovo, she succeeds Dileep Nair, who has been cited for misconduct by the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) led by former United States Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker probing alleged irregularities in the UN Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq.

OIOS submits reports to the Secretary-General and the Assembly on protecting the organizations' assets. It also does worldwide audits of UN operations and provides consulting services to UN funds, programmes and tribunals.

Ms. Ahlenius was also a member of the Committee of Independent Experts established by the European Parliament with a mandate to examine the ways in which the 20-member Commission detected and dealt with fraud, mismanagement and nepotism. Its report in 1999 led to the resignation of the entire Commission and its later reform.

Calling Ms. Ahlenius "a remarkable woman," of vital integrity, Mr. Malloch Brown said that she exhibited "exactly the values and priorities that we want to see in the oversight function here at the United Nations."

For her part, Ms. Ahlenius said that she was happy to be at the UN during this time of change. She had officially only been on the job for three days, but was already looking into the various recommendations that had emerged during the Volcker investigation.

When asked by reporters if she would be more open with the press than her predecessor, she said that while she had been in regular contact with the media in other positions she had held, an internal audit, by definition, was an interior undertaking. Still, she was aware that the Assembly had asked for more disclosure of reports and would be looking into the matter.

She added that she had been in the position to make "tough" decisions regarding the disciplining of and/or firing of staff. "While no one enjoys that sort of thing, the hope is that such decisions are taken with a view to preserving the integrity of your organization," she said.

2005-07-20 00:00:00.000

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