Former Dutch minister Evelien Herfkens acknowledged and accepted the UN’s guidelines when she joined the organisation, according to a letter from the head of the development arm UNDP, quoted by the NRC.
This implies Herfkens should have known she was not allowed to accept money on top of her UN salary to pay for her New York flat.
Nevertheless, ‘the investigation further found that it appears she did so unknowingly and in good faith,’ according to an unsourced and undated document on the NRC website.
The document, addressed to foreign minister Maxime Verhagen, goes on to say the Dutch government should also have known it was not allowed to give Herfkens the disputed $280,000.
And, according to the NRC, the UN says it too may be guilty of ‘possible shortcomings’ during Herfkens induction programme. This may have contributed to her ‘not being fully aware’ that she was not allowed to accept gifts, the document says.
The ‘carefully-worded’ statement, based on four months of research, is the UN’s first public comment on the scandal, the NRC says.
The foreign ministry told the paper it has not yet received the letter and cannot comment.
MPs from all parties want the money repaid, but Herfkens is refusing to comply.
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