Diplomat need not repay rent money

UN diplomat and Labour party member Eveline Herfkens does not have to repay the $280,000 she received from the Dutch state towards the rent on her New York flat, reports Monday’s Volkskrant.

Foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrat) and aid minister Bert Koenders (Labour) told parliament on Sunday that repayment of the money would be a breach of trust.
Herfkens was given help with her rent after being appointed as coordinator of the United Nations’ millenium project to eradicate poverty. The payments later proved to be against UN regulations.
An investigation into whether other payments to foreign ministry staff in overseas organisations are in breach of the rules is still being carried out.
Of the 18 staff members working for organisations such as NATO and the World Bank, 10 receive additional payments, reports the Volkskrant. In seven of these cases, the payments are in accord with the rules of the organisation.
Payments to Herfkens and one other civil servant have now been stopped. One further case where it is not yet clear if the rules have been broken is still under investigation.

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