12 April 2007 | Paul Snell
The United Nations is investigating further cases of "inappropriate relationships" between buyers and suppliers.
It follows last month's news that it has removed four suppliers from its vendor database also because of alleged "inappropriate relationships" between the suppliers and former UN officials. It has around 5,900 vendors on its database and spends around $2 billion a year on procurement.
A statement from the organisation's Procurement Task Force (PTF) said it was "examining several additional cases, some of which involve high-value contracts, involving vendors and intermediaries and agents of those companies, who have acted on behalf of entities doing business with the UN."
According to Paul Buades, chief of the UN procurement service, speaking at a press conference last month, suspending the suppliers had an operational and financial effect on the organisation. But he said: "It is a very strong signal to the vendor that this organisation is implementing a zero-tolerance policy."
He added that although the procurement department did not have the resources or authority to investigate supplier fraud, it did exchange confidential information with the PTF.
Buades said he was keen to put the scandals in the past: "We need to rebuild confidence and trust in procurement function and activity, for the staff, the member states and the vendors."See UNfinished business