- The Washington Times - Friday, January 21, 2000

NEW YORK The United Nations has been without an inspector general for two months and has no viable candidates to fill the post, according to several U.N. officials.

The vacancy in the cost-control position is troubling to American officials, including a group of U.S. lawmakers who are convening a rare field session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee here Friday.

In a speech to the Security Council Thursday, committee Chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, demanded continued efforts to maximize efficiency. He and Sen. Rod Grams, Minnesota Republican, among others, are expected to question U.N. officials closely about their level of oversight.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was created five years ago at the urging of the United States and other U.N. donor nations to root out waste, fraud and abuse.

Inspector General Karl Paschke, who recently returned to the German foreign service, estimated his team of auditors and investigators had saved various U.N. funds and programs more than $120 million during his tenure.

U.N. officials knew from the beginning that Mr. Paschke's five-year term could not be renewed or extended, leaving little excuse for the failure to find a successor.

But U.N. officials said the minimum $91,000-a-year job has been difficult to fill because it requires top-notch investigative and analytic skills, as well as the ability to manage a far-flung staff and communicate calmly with managers whose departments may be poorly run or worse.

Further narrowing the field, the next inspector-general must come from a developing nation and have Washington's implicit approval.

Until a successor is chosen, the organization's top legal adviser, Hans Corell, holds the curious title of acting overseer. But OIOS employees say Mr. Corell has no day-to-day control over the office.

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