15 December 2005 | Anusha Bradley
The United Nations' "outdated" procurement system left it open to fraud, a review has concluded.
The review by Deloitte & Touche was ordered by secretary-general Kofi Annan in the wake of the oil-for-food scandal, in which Alexander Yakovlev, a former procurement officer, admitted fraud.
The review was published on 6 December. It found purchasing staff lacked external controls or audits leaving the UN "extremely vulnerable to potential fraudulent or corrupt activity".
Christopher Burnham, undersecretary-general for management, said it found "significant internal control deficiencies and insufficient management oversight" due to outdated processes and poor governance.
The review recommends the UN update its processes and guidelines; improve professional development of staff, including an ethics programme; and put a staff rotation policy in place.
As reported in SM
(see News, 25 August
), Annan had already committed the UN to implementing the recommendations.
A forensic audit of procurement activities in the past two years will now take place to check for further instances of fraud or incompetence. The results of that investigation are expected in June.