U.N. names Canadian to anti-corruption watchdog post

Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:52pm EDT
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By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The General Assembly on Wednesday approved a former World Bank auditor from Canada as head of the U.N. internal watchdog after the previous incumbent left with a stinging rebuke to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

The U.N. secretary-general then nominated Canada's Carman Lapointe to replace Inga-Britt Ahlenius of Sweden to head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), an appointment that was unanimously confirmed by the 192-nation General Assembly.

Lapointe was auditor-general of the World Bank from 2004 to 2009 and has held senior auditing posts at the Bank of Canada and other institutions.

During the assembly session, delegates from Egypt and Cuba expressed disappointment with Ban's decision to appoint a candidate from a developed country to another senior U.N. post, and not one from the developing world.

Ahlenius left earlier this month at the end of her term after delivering a strongly-worded end-of-assignment report that said the United Nations was "falling apart" under Ban.

Ahlenius' criticism of Ban's performance at the helm of the United Nations comes as the former South Korean foreign minister weighs his prospects for a possible second term.

The Swede said that under Ban's watch "there is no transparency, there is (a) lack of accountability" and accused him of interference with the independence of her office, which investigates alleged wrongdoing by U.N. officials.

U.N. officials dismissed her allegations.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler)