Former Justice Minister Grete Faremo resigns as top UN official after New York Times disclosure – Dagsavisen

The case is up to date

It happened after the Americans newspaper disclosure about two UN employees who managed a fund said to have lost $25 million in value.

In an internal letter to office staff, who had been granted access to the paper, Faremo wrote that “he does not know the whole story, but it has happened under his control.”

Thus, he withdrew immediately. According to the letter, he informed UN Secretary-General António Guterres of this decision on Friday.

The case is being investigated

In a press release from April UNOPS wrote that it had started a comprehensive process to deal with allegations of fraud and mismanagement, and warned that those responsible would be held accountable.

– Funds are in jeopardy, but to date no funds have been lost, he said in the report.

Faremo had a long political career behind him and served as minister in a number of governments. Most recently from 2011 to 2013 as Minister of Justice.

An email sent from the secretary general’s office on Sunday stated that Guterres had accepted that he was stepping down immediately. Denmark’s special adviser Jens Wandel will take over Faremo from Monday, until UNOPS finds a permanent replacement.

$61 million

based on newspaper manages a $61 million office. When Faremo took over in 2014, he wrote in the introduction to UNOPS that he wanted to move away from being a tacit partner. The document was entitled «Hidden champion – a clever solution to an impossible challenge».

The UN office then manages tens of millions of dollars in profits from payments from other parts of the UN apparatus, according to the New York Times. Faremo and his deputy commander, Vitaly Vanshelboim of Ukraine, are said to have taken the initiative to start lending money, as banks, to finance projects in developing countries.

In July 2020, auditors sounded the alarm and wrote that they were of the opinion that UNOPS did not follow safe and transparent methods when selecting partners.

It was revealed last year that auditors assumed the office would lose $22 million related to a construction project in Ghana commissioned by a British businessman. According to his lawyer, however, the company is now refinancing the loan and states “no money was lost”.

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Lance Heptinstall

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