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UN to follow up on Volcker report on Oil-for-Food

UN oversight office to follow up on findings of Volcker report on Oil-for-Food

The United Nations Department of Management has asked the UN oversight office to see if any action needs to be taken in the area of procurement, after the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) into the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme found both misadministration and evidence of corruption, a UN spokesman announced today.

The request for follow-up from the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) comes two days after the release of the latest of the series of Volcker reports, in the wake of which the Secretary-General Kofi Annan took quick action toward reform, according to the spokesman, who yesterday listed some of the measures already being implemented.

Among those measures, he said that staff will have the ability to seek protection from a newly established Ethics Office when managers or other staff try to penalize them for reporting misconduct. There will be a very clear and thorough set of provisions, outlining what kinds of complaints will be protected, and what kinds of actions could be considered reprisals.

The UN has also adopted a new, proactive approach to tightening controls over large donor-funded humanitarian programmes, the spokesman said, citing the example of the tsunami response, which is being administered by the office of the UN relief coordinator with help from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

To promote transparency in procurement, all vendors are listed on the UN website and full information is provided on each contract throughout its life and a two-tiered bidding process is in use, separating the financial bid from the technical part. Thus the requisitioning office has no information on cost. Only after the technical bid is completed is the sealed financial bid opened to evaluate which is the lowest qualified bidder.

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