Earth Science News  





. Countries Warn UN Weather Agency Of Damage Over Fraud Case

-
by Staff Writers
Geneva (SPX) May 08, 2007
Fifteen countries want reforms at the UN's weather agency following a fraud scandal which has seriously damaged the organisation, a senior Swiss official said Monday. The 15, including Switzerland, will present a resolution at the World Meteorological Organisation's (WMO) congress over the coming two weeks to increase transparency and give the 188 member states greater oversight over its management, said secretary of state Michael Ambuehl.

The move follows a long-running investigation into alleged embezzlement of reportedly more than four million Swiss francs by a former employee, which was revealed in 2003. The amount is equivalent to about six percent of the agency's budget.

The case was investigated by an internal audit and is the subject of a probe by the Swiss judiciary in Geneva. The auditor involved, Maria Veiga, says she was subsequently sacked by the agency.

She has alleged in Swiss newspapers that the embezzled funds were partly linked to campaigns for elections of the agency's secretary general.

On Sunday it emerged that the regional prosecutor in Geneva, Daniel Zappelli, had opened another investigation into possible use of the embezzled funds to pay for travel by developing nation representatives and influence voting.

Ambuehl told the opening of the WMO's congress here: "The embezzlement case uncovered a few weeks after the previous congress has caused serious damage."

"To tackle natural catastrophes linked to global warming, we need a strong WMO that is entirely focused on its basic mission," he added.

Switzerland firmly condemned any wrongdoing in international agencies, Ambuehl said, acknowledging that internal financial controls have since been reinforced.

However he insisted that improvements in the organisation's governance had to continue.

Ambuehl said member states were never able to take part into attempts to deal with the 2003 embezzlement case "or other important matters of governance."

The judicial probe has managed to recover some of the money, he added.

A US official at the congress said the WMO's reputation had been tarnished but underlined that measures had been taken since then.

The WMO's Secretary General, Michel Jarraud, denies any wrongdoing or connection with the affair and said that the agency has fully cooperated with the probe.

"Any allusion suggesting that the current secretary general of the WMO may have benefitted from influence peddling is defamatory," Richard Van Maele underlined.

Jarraud told the congress Monday: "All the internal audit reports, all the information was sent swiftly."

"We will continue to give the Swiss judiciary all the necessary information," he added.

Jarraud was elected in 2003 to succeed Nigerian Godwin Obasi at the head of the organisation. Obasi, from Nigeria, had held the post for 20 years.

He is due to stand for re-election on May 16.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Email This Article

Related Links
Weather News at TerraDaily.com

Giant Tornado Leaves Nine Dead In US Heartland
Washington (AFP) May 5, 2007
At least nine people were killed by a massive tornado that wrecked a small town in Kansas, collapsing a hospital and reducing homes to piles of broken timber, local officials said Saturday. Six people were killed in Greensburg, Kansas, after the storm made a direct hit on the small prairie town late Friday, said City Administrator Steve Hewitt.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • US Control Strategies May Make Flu Epidemics Worse
  • In Search Of The Missing Dead
  • Exercise Tests Responses To Hurricane, Nuke And Terrorists
  • Poll Shows Support For FEMA

  • Melting Of The Greenland Ice Cap May Have Consequences For Climatic Change
  • Question Marks Over Commitment By China Climate Change Mitigation
  • Despite Perils UN Report Upbeat On Climate Change
  • Sarkozy Urges Action On Global Warming

  • Volcanic Eruptions In Kamchatka
  • NASA Satellite Captures Image Of Georgia Wildfires
  • US Earth-Observing Satellites In Jeopardy
  • Exploring Caves From 30 Feet In The Air

  • Stepping Up Efforts To Push Through IPI Gas Project
  • Duke Energy Adds Energy Efficiency To Nuclear, Coal, Natural Gas And Renewables
  • New Layered-Layered Materials For Rechargeable Lithium Batteries
  • China Taps North Korea Resources

  • Experts Warn On Gambia AIDS Cure
  • HIV Treatment Goal Elusive
  • Bird Flu Genome Study Shows New Strains As new Infections Spread
  • Ebola Outbreaks Killing Thousands Of Gorillas And Chimpanzees

  • An Ancient Bathtub Ring Of Mammoth Fossils
  • Climate Change Impacts Stream Life
  • Wildlife Caught In Web Of Internet Sales
  • Ecology In An Era Of Globalization

  • Indonesia Prosecutors Challenge Newmont Verdict
  • Tree Rings Show Elevated Tungsten Coincides With Nevada Leukemia Cluster
  • Beijing Restrictions Offer Case Study In Emissions Of Key Atmospheric Gases
  • Indonesian Green Groups Slam Newmont Judges

  • Climate Changes Caused Neanderthal Extinction On The Iberian Peninsula
  • Sleep And Exercise Critical To A Smarter And Longer Life
  • Ape Gestures Offer Clues To The Evolution Of Human Communication
  • Americans See Climate Threat But Reluctant To Conserve

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement