Herfkens firm on no UN cash repayment

Former aid minister Eveline Herfkens has again refused to repay the $280,000 she was wrongly given to pay for her New York flat while working for the UN, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Herfkens worked as a special advisor to secretary general Kofi Annan on poverty issues between 2002 and 2006 and was given the money by the Dutch government against UN rules.
Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen, who told MPs on Tuesday that the government had made mistakes, says he is determined to recoup the cash. Herfkens had failed to read the rule book and thus took the risk, he said in a letter to MPs.
Herfkens told the Volkskrant that if the case came to court and she lost, she would repay the money. ‘If it does not go well, I will pay,’ the paper quoted her as saying in a telephone interview.
She said she was astonished by the government’s position, which she described as ‘character assassination’. ‘I did break the UN rules but unconsciously and in good faith. That is a case between me and the UN,’ she told the paper.
The paper says Verhagen is reluctant to go to court and is hoping to reach a deal for a partial repayment.
A UN report on the issue said Herfkens, the Dutch government and the UN itself were all responsible for the affair.

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