The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has queried one of its staff members over an alleged 150-dollar fraud.
According to the organisation’s report on fraud and corruption, the staffer, who’s identity was not disclosed, is being investigated for illegal recipient of funds.
The Agency has described the accusations as “possible undue receipt of dependency allowance for two children not residing with the staff member after the staff member’s spouse separation from the staff member.”
Although the UN Secretariat’s Department of Management Strategy, Policy, and Compliance issued formal allegations of misconduct to the staffer on December 9, 2022, the issue is still ongoing.
In line with the organisation’s procedures, if the staffer had any explanations they are allowed to provide a written statement within one month of receiving the query.
In the annual report sent to the UN’s governing body, UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Anderson, asserted that preventing and addressing fraud remains an important part of UNEP’s activities and an essential pillar of project implementation.
The organization said it has zero-tolerance for misconduct involving staff members or other parties working with the UNEP.
“Zero tolerance means that UNEP will pursue all allegations of fraudulent acts involving any individual or entity covered by the regulations, rules, administrative issuances, policies, procedures and agreements described in the Framework and that appropriate administrative/disciplinary measures or contractual remedies will be applied if fraudulent acts are substantiated,” the organisation said.
“Furthermore, UNEP may, where deemed appropriate, recover loss suffered by the Organisation or refer matters involving credible allegations of criminal fraudulent acts to national authorities.”
The report cited the example of another UN staffer who was accused of possible misuse of funds on different occasions, while carrying out a country-level project.
UNEP said without appropriate approval, the staffer allowed funds of the organisation to be disbursed. The staffer also supervised false travel documents and also caused funds to be paid to a private individual for incomplete services. UNEP said the misconduct resulted in a loss of approximately $210,0000.
The organisation also disclosed that by the end of the investigation, the staffer had separated from the organisation. The organisation then resolved to withhold all separation entitlements, until the disciplinary process was completed.
“On 6 June 2022, the former staff member was issued with a charge letter from DMSPC/OHR. A fine has been imposed on the former staff member in accordance with Staff Rule 10.2(a)(v) and deducted from any remaining emoluments payable. The matter is closed.”
The UNEP maintained its stance on zero-tolerance for fraud and corrupt practices.
“UNEP maintains its zero-tolerance approach to misconduct – including fraud and corruption – and spares no effort to prevent, manage, and address all occurrences of fraud and corruption or presumptive fraud and corruption,” the report noted.
While marking the International Anti-Corruption Day last December, UNEP said the Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance (USG/DMSPC) launched the UN Secretariat’s “Fraud and Corruption Awareness Handbook” to raise awareness on the need for staff members to act honestly.
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Between January and December 2022, the UNEP has reported no less than 13 cases of fraud and corruption, ranging between procurement entitlements and financial irregularities.