New York- The United Nations on Thursday named a new senior official to the agency responsible for aid to Palestinian refugees, as the cash-strapped organisation already under fire by the Trump administration faces new claims of management misconduct.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday named Christian Saunders of the UK as acting deputy commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, after an internal ethics report questioned the agency’s management under Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl .
The report alleged “abuses of authority” by an “inner circle” at the relief agency including “nepotism and retaliation,” according to a media outlet that said it obtained a copy of the confidential report.
The secretary-general’s office confirmed Thursday that the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services is investigating the allegations, and that Guterres is “committed to acting, as appropriate, once he receives the findings and recommendations.”
In a statement, UNRWA said it is cooperating with the probe and can’t comment on specific details until the investigation concludes. It added that if the inquiry “were to present findings that require corrective measures or other management actions, we will not hesitate to take them.”
The US, long the agency’s largest donor, cut off its contributions to the organisation starting in 2018, but other nations injected new funds to fill the gap.
Guterres on Thursday urged that UN member states “remain committed to UNRWA and its services and continue their support for the crucial work performed by the Agency.”
But the latest allegations have prompted Switzerland and the Netherlands to temporarily suspend funding, and aides and supporters of President Donald Trump seized on the new report as proof of their contention that the agency has grown corrupt and inept.
“This is Exactly why we stopped their funding,” Trump’s former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted.