WFP fires 17 for fraud and theft

 ROME – As many as 17 staff at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) were dismissed for fraud or embezzlement during a year of disciplinary proceedings, WFP sources say.

 It is unclear whether the dismissals are related to the widely reported incident of diversion of WFP funds in Somalia that year. Diplomatic sources revealed that up to half the agency’s aid to Somalia was diverted to local staffers, Jihadists and food transporters.

 A total of 24 staff were fired for professional misconduct in 2010 according to an internal report published in the latest edition of WFP’s in house magazine Pipeline. The agency told italian Insider they were unable to provide any further information, saying the report is "private," but WFP sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said these include 13 for fraud, four for theft/embezzlement, three for gross negligence, and one apiece for personal harassment, sexual harassment, threat/assault, misuse of WFP assets and violation of applicable national laws.

 The Human Resources department of the Rome-based agency dealt with 48 cases of misconduct in 2010 compared with 30 in 2009, according to the latest HR annual report.

 The strict disciplinary regime at the emergency relief agency evidently contrasted with the situation at its sister agency in Rome, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), food-agency watchers said. IFAD's flamboyant Nigerian President Kanayo Nwanze was accused by UN auditors of "blowing millions" on his sky high expenses including a luxury villa set in sprawling parkland on the posh Appian Way, the Italian Insider disclosed.

 The IFAD supremo also was accused of putting pressure on senior agency accountants to obscure personal spending in agency accounts under other categories. Nwanze remains at the helm of IFAD, however, after one of his direct underlings was given the blame for the expenses scandal and dismissed.