10 November 2008
The United Nations (UN) secretary general Ban Ki-moon has backed plans to strengthen the organisation's flexibility to deal with suppliers found guilty of wrongdoing.
The UN's Procurement Task Force, set up to address corruption and fraud in purchasing, has proposed expanding penalties beyond the current measures including temporarily suspending vendors or removing them permanently. The new terms could include conditional exclusion or financial compensation. The group also recommended moves to penalise vendors that were not currently active providers.
Ban Ki-moon said the ideas based on similar schemes at the World Bank and Asian Development Bank were comprehensive and elaborate procedures to give suppliers due process.
The task force has discovered fraud and corruption in around $630 million (£389 million) of the $2 billion (£1.2 billion) worth of contracts examined so far. But it will not be able to complete its investigations by the end of the year when its funding ceases. The report said there would be more than 50 cases involving allegations of fraud and corruption outstanding and 150 investigations in total. In addition, the group will not be able to tackle all the allegations of fraud and corruption in overseas offices and on peace-keeping missions.
The UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services said it plans to transfer the caseload to its investigation division. Cases uncovered this year included bribes to a procurement official - who since resigned - to secure contracts.