Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jun 2001
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company
Author: Barbara Crossette
Bookmark: (Corruption)


UNITED NATIONS, June 11 - Investigations of the United Nations Office 
of Drug Control and Crime Prevention in Vienna found today that poor 
management was costing the office money and talent, leaving the staff 
demoralized and often in the dark about decisions made at the top.

The program's executive director, Pino Arlacchi, a sociologist and 
criminal expert from Italy, has been criticized by European countries 
and American officials who say he did not adhere to United Nations 
procedures and rarely consulted the staff. Accusations like those 
were studied by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight 

At a news conference today, Dileep Nair, a former banker from 
Singapore who is the inspector general, declined to comment on one of 
his office's recent reports, on accusations that Mr. Arlacchi had 
misused money to pay for a questionable project to send a yacht 
around the world to publicize the war on drugs. The results of a 
separate inquiry in that case have been sent to Secretary General 
Kofi Annan. Mr. Arlacchi has said the project was a mistake, and 
initial findings cleared him of deliberate wrongdoing.

But criticisms of his general administration were sharp. The 
oversight office "made it clear that the management situation at the 
office cannot be allowed to continue," Mr. Nair said, in a comment 
that is highly likely to revive speculation about whether Mr. 
Arlacchi will be appointed to a second term early next year. Some 
countries, notably Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, have been 
outspokenly opposed to his reappointment unless the problems can be 

Mr. Nair noted Mr. Arlacchi's self-critical response to the report 
today, which he saw in advance. Mr. Nair also said that 14 
recommendations for "drastic and immediate change" had been acted on 
promptly but that "the effectiveness of these measures will only be 
known when the tangible results become verifiable." He said a 
follow-up review would be conducted at the end of the year.

Mr. Arlacchi, who had a major role in the campaign against the 
Sicilian Mafia a decade ago, was among officials chosen by Mr. Annan 
for their experience in the fields that they would direct. Mr. 
Arlacchi said in interviews during the investigations that he was 
under attack because he was not a bureaucrat and refused to be reined 
in by what he saw as politically inspired pressures.

The issue is especially sensitive in crime control, because Mr. 
Arlacchi has been aggressive in fighting narcotics, trafficking in 
people and money laundering. Mr. Nair praised Mr. Arlacchi today for 
his successes. "The major strengths" of Mr. Arlacchi's office "are 
clear mandates, a high priority to intergovernmental policy agendas 
and a broad range of expertise," Mr. Nair said. "Its main assets are 
a committed, resourceful and talented staff, a very strong field 
presence and the ability to work multilaterally in very sensitive 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh Sutcliffe