December 28, 2010 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan has demanded the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) to provide it with a detailed auditory report on the finances of a program designed to rehabilitate former war soldiers, as news of money abuse by UN officials working for the program surfaced in foreign media.
- UN personnel working on documentation for DDR candidates in Al-Damazin town, February 23, 2009 (www.comfec.forces.gc.ca)
Nearly half a century of intermittent civil war between the predominantly Muslim north Sudan and the south, where most people follow Christianity and traditional beliefs, ended in 2005 with the signing of a peace deal known as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Under the CPA, south Sudan is due to hold a referendum vote in January 2011 to decide whether it wants to remain united with the north or secede to form its own independent state. The plebiscite is widely expected to result in the creation of a new state in south Sudan.
Another key provision of the peace deal is to initiate a Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), an interim program operated jointly between the UN and authorities in north and south Sudan to rehabilitate former war combatants.
A German newspaper recently cited a confidential UN report as disclosing that some 50 UN experts working for the DDR program in south Sudan had received exorbitant salaries of 14 million US dollars.
According to the paper, the report also disclosed that some UN experts had received salaries of fake names that do not exist in the UN payroll.
News of the financial irregularities has prompted Sudan to react, threatening to report the issue to the UN Secretary General if the UN fails to provide it with a full details on audits carried on finances of the program.
The official in charge of coordinating the DDR program with the UN in Sudan, Osman Nuri, on Tuesday claimed that the UN had only released 39.967.380 out of 105.068.169 US dollars provided by the donors for the DDR program.
As reported by Sudan’s official news agency SUNA, Nuri, further recounted that the official in charge of coordinating the DDR program in south Sudan, William Deng, has noticed that enormous amounts of money were being spent outside the purview of the program.
Nuri said that these two facts made the government suspicious that the UN was abusing donors’ fund.
Consequently, Nuri added, the government had asked the UNDP to appoint independent auditors to review the way it handled donors’ money.
The Sudanese official said that the UNDP had indeed appointed independent European auditors but refused to release a full report on their findings to the Sudanese authorities, citing internal regulations which prevent it from doing so.
Nuri said that the UNDP had offered to provide a summary of the report but Sudan refused but to receive a full report.
He reiterated the government’s demands to receive the auditors’ report, warning that failure by the UNDP to do so would lead Sudan to report the matter to the UN Secretary-General.
Nepal to probe alleged graft in its police mission in Sudan
Meanwhile authorities in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu have announced their intention to initiate a probe into financial irregularities allegedly committed in the procurement of logistics for the Sudan Mission of Nepal Police.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Madhav Kumar has promised to bring the culprits to books after necessary investigation in April.