Inquiry says diplomats at UN HQ 'sold positions' on international peacekeeping missions

Officials say police officers from Ivory Coast have been repatriated as a result of inquiry

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UN investigators have said in a report that senior diplomats accredited to the UN headquarters in New York were selling positions on international peacekeeping operations to their citizens for up to $4,000.

A report by the Office for Internal Oversight Services claims that two envoys from the Ivory Coast arranged for the sale of positions of UN police officer posts in missions to Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Officials said it was the first time they they had uncovered such corruption.

“The matter was investigated and the Permanent Mission of the concerned member state was notified,” a UN spokesperson told The Independent. “Upon receipt of the investigation report, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) took decisive measures, including ordering the repatriation of the UN Police Officers involved.

The spokesperson added: “All of those officers involved are either gone or in the process of leaving the peacekeeping operations on which they served.”

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Herve Ladsous heads the UN's peacekeeping operations

Officials said the allegations of corruption were first raised in the summer of 2013. It is understood that the officials accused in the UN report are no longer posted at UN headquarters.

The head of the Ivory Coast’s mission, Youssoufou Bamba, is not implicated in the inquiry. He declined to comment on the inquiry and referred all inquiries to the government in Yamoussoukro. The government has not yet responded to inquiries.

The UN investigation was first reported by the Inner City Press website, which obtained the internal report. It said that some within the UN believed that officials had been slow to respond to the allegations.

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Officials say they have uncovered the sale of peacekeeping posts to operations in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo

The UN spokesperson said the hiring of police officers from the Ivory Coast for UN peacekeeping operations was currently suspended until there was confirmation that action had been taken by the Ivory Coast “on the investigation”.

The spokesman declined to say how many positions were allegedly sold by the diplomats from the Ivory Coast. UN records suggest there are 36 UN police officers from the Ivory Coast deployed to the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 60 to the operation in Haiti.

"We cannot and should not pre-judge the results of the national investigation, which the UN has asked the member state to conduct, the spokesman added. "We have insisted that the investigation be very thorough and have stressed that the UN should be kept fully informed of the results." 

 

Follow Andrew Buncombe on Twitter: @AndrewBuncombe

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