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    Press Release No:  UNIS/GA/AB/45
    Release Date:   9 May 2000
    Fifth Committee Continues Consideration of Peacekeeping Finance,
    Addressing Questions on Internal Oversight Reports

    NEW YORK, 8 May (UN Headquarters) -- When the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) met this afternoon to continue its consideration of the financing of peacekeeping operations, a representative of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations responded to questions raised concerning two investigations by the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

    At today’s morning meeting, the representative of the United States had asked for an update on the implementation of the Oversight Office recommendations following its investigations into a case of fraud in the Travel Unit of the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) (document A/54/683) and into procurement problems in Angola (document A/54/548).

    Compton Persaud, Chief of the Finance Management and Support Service of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told the Committee that the first recommendation from the Angola report -- that even before a budget has been provided, where supplies for peacekeeping missions are urgently needed and crucial, the Secretariat should carry out procurement processes right up to the point when the United Nations is financially obligated -- had been implemented.  

    He added that the means to address the report’s second recommendation –- concerning the creation of mechanisms and special rules for emergency procurement -- were still under discussion.  Discussions between the Office of Legal Affairs, his Department and the Procurement Division were under way on the third Oversight Office recommendation -– in which the Oversight Office suggested an exploration of the possibility of precluding the particular contractor, and those associated with it, from future United Nations’ business.  Similarly, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was still in discussion with the Department of Management on the proposal that mission legal advisors be consulted in complex and expensive procurement exercises.

    Concerning the report of UNMIBH, Mr. Persaud briefed Member States on the current programme of training for staff involved in peacekeeping procurement.  Some training had already taken place, he said.  In addition, the schedule included meetings for Chief Finance Officers to be held in Brindisi, in June, which would deal with control and documentation processes.  Staff from the United Nations missions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and East Timor were scheduled to undergo training, which would focus on procurement and contract management, and senior procurement staff would meet with the Secretariat’s Lessons Learned Unit in October, when the processes that were not fully complied with in UNMIBH would receive substantial attention.  Those efforts were aimed at ensuring that such things did not happen again, Mr. Persaud concluded. 

    The representative of Lebanon spoke on an organizational matter.

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 9 May, to consider the programme budget implications of a draft resolution before the General Assembly (document A/54/L.83/Rev.1) on the Millennium Summit.

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