UN to assist in fund mishandling probe if requested

UN to assist in fund mishandling probe if requested

The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday will extend assistance to the Philippine government if requested, in its investigation of the alleged misuse of UN peacekeeping funds intended for Filipino troops sent to East Timor.

The alleged mishandling of the UN funds was exposed by former state auditor Heidi Mendoza who said the funds were diverted by military officials through double charging and ghost projects.

One project involved the repair of a C-130 aircraft in 2002, which was double charged to both the UN fund and a depot maintenance program of the Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG). Another double charging was the P9.1 million in fuel expenses which were also double charged to the Balikatan and UN funds, and were even reimbursed by the US government to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Mendoza also revealed a missing P50 million out of a P200 million UN reimbursement cheque signed by then military comptroller Carlos Garcia.

For its part, the DPKO said all payments covering expenses related to peacekeeping operations are made in accordance with standard procedures. It also said the UN does not enforce measures to keep track of how UN peacekeeping funds are used by the Member States. At this stage, UN National Information Officer Teresa Debuque said that the DPKO has not yet received any inquiries or complaints from any specific contingent regarding payment.

The chief of the AFP Resource Management Office earlier said there were no records available on how the UN funds were used prior to 2005.