Finland, the public broadcaster wrote, managed to attract the initiative’s headquarters S3i to Helsinki. The initiative was launched to build affordable housing in developing countries, but no houses have yet been built due to suspected abuse by its CEO.
Although the UN is working to recover the funds it has invested in the projects notified by the agency, Finland has not been informed of the internal investigation launched by the intergovernmental organization for almost two years.
“Information about Finland and other financiers that would have affected our funding decisions in the past was concealed,” Skinnari said To YLE on Tuesday. “This is a hard blow to trust. Finland has built and is building major projects with the UN. Trust must be restored, and in that sense we take this very seriously.
He added that many people have neglected their duty to oversee the initiative in a way that has been exceptional in UN history.
“Those who have acted improperly must be held accountable. We will weigh all measures and options,” he said.
“It is not excluded that Finland will initiate its own legal action.”
Finland has repeatedly requested access to the results of the internal investigation, but according to YLE, the request has still been approved. However, UNOPS has acknowledged that not all information has been provided to the country that could have influenced its decision to support the initiative.
“I have stressed to the authorities that we need to have all the necessary information and we need to take all necessary action, legal and judicial action if and when appropriate,” Skinnari said.
The investigation report or its conclusions have not been published. The decision to follow up will be made by the UN Secretary-General.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted the agency EUR 10 million in funding before the suspected misconduct was uncovered. It is currently considering whether it should try to recover funds that are not believed to have been misused, as they were used exclusively for the day-to-day running of the office and not for the investment activities under investigation.
Skinnari told YLE that it is still too early to say what will be decided on the possible recovery of the funds. He also did not want to comment on the details of the factors affecting the decision.
“We are now forming an overall picture. People who have acted wrongly will be held accountable. Let’s get back to the details when the time is right. “
Finland did not see much risk in hosting the office, although its operations were previously largely unofficial and plans were vague, according to the broadcaster. The Finnish government has been criticized for its slow and subdued reaction to the revelation, but Skinnari rejected the criticism.
“Finland and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs reacted [the suspected misconduct] as soon as we received notice of it. We operate transparently and openly. We published press release as soon as this came to light this spring, “he said.
However, according to YLE, the country suspended funding for the initiative well in advance of the press release – already in December.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page