"Prestige and reputation" of UN General Assembly at stake

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General Assembly 70th session: 45th plenary meeting. UN Photo/Cia Pak

The "prestige and reputation" of the UN's General Assembly is at stake over recent corruption allegations, said the organization's chief, on Tuesday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the assembly on Tuesday, as a debate got underway about revitalizing its work.

At the beginning of October, federal prosecutors in the US made a series of corruption allegations against John Ashe, a former President of the General Assembly.

Matthew Wells reports.

The UN Secretary-General said that the Assembly had to draw "larger lessons" from the allegations made against Mr Ashe, who last week was released on bail, after being charged with tax fraud in relation to alleged bribery.

Mr Ashe was Assembly president for the session which began in September 2013.

Mr Ban said he had already expressed his shock at the allegations, and stated that there would be zero-tolerance of any corruption at the UN:

"The Assembly must now draw larger lessons from this incident – and act with resolve. In this effort we can build on a a tradition of responding to problems with systematic solutions."

He added that it was for Member States to improve how the Office of the President of the General Assembly works, and make it more organized, especially when it came to funding the president's activities.

"Greater transparency and accountability" were vital going forward, and he outlined the steps that had already been taken to investigate the allegations, including an internal audit and the establishment of an internal task force.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″


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