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UNRWA Chief Resigns Amid Sex Misconduct Charges; Abuse of Authority Allegations

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Pierre Krähenbühl, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, speaks at the launch of a major fundraising campaign. He resigned on 6 November, 2019. UNRWA: Photo by Khalil Adwan

Hours after Pierre Krahenbuhl was put on “leave” due to allegations of sexual misconduct and nepotism at the corruption-plagued Palestinian U.N. agency he oversaw, the Swiss national announced his resignation.

By: WIN Staff

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres placed Pierre Krahenbuhl, the head of the Palestinians’ dedicated U.N. agency (UNRWA), on “administrative leave” Wednesday based on an investigation by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services related to allegations of sexual misconduct, nepotism and other abuses of authority at the agency.

Hours after news broke of Krahenbuhl’s “leave”, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced at a news briefing, “UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, informed the Secretary-General that he was resigning, effective immediately.”

A confidential report by the U.N. ethics office obtained by The Associated Press in July claimed UNRWA managers including Krahenbuhl had “engaged in sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority.”

Citing information from some 25 current and past UNRWA directors and staff, the ethics report said an “inner circle” comprised of Krahenbuhl, his deputy Sandra Mitchell, Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan and senior adviser Maria Mohammedi had bypassed normal decision-making processes and sidelined field and program directors and other senior staff.

The report alleges that Krahenbuhl, a Swiss national who was appointed to lead UNRWA on March 30, 2014, started a relationship with Mohammedi late that year that “went beyond the professional,” created “a toxic environment,” and caused “frequent embarrassment.”

The ethics office said Krahenbuhl established the post of “senior adviser” and followed “an extreme fast-track” to give the job to Mohammedi. She traveled with him on the vast majority of his business travels, using waivers so she could travel business class with him, the report alleged.

The report said some former executive office staff reported that Krahenbuhl was away from UNRWA headquarters in Jerusalem for 28-29 days per month, claiming a daily allowance. It said he told a senior staff member in mid-November 2018 that he had made 52 trips during that year up until that time.

While the preliminary findings of the investigation “exclude fraud or misappropriation of operational funds” by Krahenbuhl, UNRWA is no stranger to scandal. The Hamas terror group has used its schools and other facilities to hide weapons, with Hamas members caught on the UN agency’s payroll.

UNRWA has also remained under fire for a curriculum in its schools riddled with anti-Semitism, terror incitement, and martyr worship.

Israel also accuses UNRWA of grossly inflating the number of Palestinian “refugees” the agency claims to serve, in a strategy that has been called out for exacerbating the plight of the Palestinians, instead of improving it. (World Israel News)

Read more at: worldisraelnews.com

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