Newspaper article International New York Times

Call for Transparency by U.N. Highlights Limits of Oversight

Newspaper article International New York Times

Call for Transparency by U.N. Highlights Limits of Oversight

Article excerpt

A report from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave recommendations to the General Assembly president, who does not report to the secretary general.

Five months after a former president of the United Nations General Assembly was accused of accepting bribes to buy items like hand-tailored suits and Rolex watches, a task force appointed by the United Nations secretary general recommended greater transparency in the way money is raised and spent by that office.

But the report, made public on Tuesday, only signaled the limitations of oversight. It recommended that each president of the General Assembly, elected annually by the 193 member states, make financial disclosures at the beginning and end of his or her term. It also recommended that the presidents make their travel and other expenses public.

The president of the General Assembly is not a United Nations employee, does not report to the secretary general, has a $326,000 annual budget and is free to raise money from outside sources, including private companies, creating what the secretary general's report called "significant loopholes and blind spots. …

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