The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Internal Audit and Investigation Group

The Internal Audit and Investigation Group (IAIG) leads the Executive Director's investigations into alleged fraud, corruption, waste of resources, sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment and other misconduct and violations of UNOPS regulations, rules and operational instructions. This helps UNOPS bring a systematic approach to evaluating and enhancing the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes. All UNOPS operations are subject to internal audit and investigation.

Added value

IAIG is committed to fostering greater transparency and accountability within UNOPS by providing independent and impartial assurance and advice to improve UNOPS operations. IAIG strives to protect the human and financial resources of UNOPS by investigating, among other things, fraud, corruption and misconduct in the workplace.

Investigation mandate

IAIG is the principal channel for receiving allegations of misconduct and is responsible for conducting investigations into all reports of alleged wrongdoing involving UNOPS personnel or other persons, parties or entities where the wrongdoing is to the detriment of UNOPS. IAIG is the sole office in UNOPS mandated to conduct investigations. 

What does IAIG investigate?

Procurement fraud
Corruption and bribery
Theft and embezzlement
Entitlements fraud
Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (SEA)
Sexual harassment
Misuse of UNOPS resources
Misrepresentation, forgery, false certification
Failure to comply with financial disclosure requirements
Improper recruitment
Retaliation against whistle-blowers (after the finding of a prima facie case by the Ethics Officer)
Assault and threat
Workplace harassment (upon receipt/review of referral from the Director, People and Change Group (PCG))
Abuse of authority
Failure to comply with local laws/abuse of privileges and immunities
Any other misconduct, such as willful, reckless or grossly negligent disregard of UNOPS regulations, rules, and operational instructions

What does IAIG not investigate?

  • IAIG does not investigate allegations that do not constitute misconduct, but indicate managerial or interpersonal issues, e.g. work performance related issues. Such allegations should be referred to the Director, PCG.

How we work

An IAIG investigation is an administrative fact-finding activity to collect evidence to either support or refute the reported violations of misconduct by UNOPS personnel and prohibited practices by UNOPS vendors/third parties. IAIG may also analyze systemic issues that are brought to its attention.

Fraud and corruption

IAIG investigates allegations of fraud or corruption involving UNOPS staff members, other UNOPS personnel, vendors by themselves or in collusion with any other party in a business relationship with UNOPS.

  • Fraud is a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or a concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her or another person’s detriment.
  • Corruption is the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting, directly or indirectly of anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party.

Read more about fraud and corruption.

Examples of fraud and corruption:

  • Forging documents, preparing false entries in UNOPS systems or making false statements to obtain a financial or other benefit for oneself or another/others.
  • Collusion or other anti-competitive scheme between suppliers during a procurement process.
  • Providing information in relation to a medical insurance claim or another entitlement that the claimant knows to be false.

Acting on misconduct

Any allegation or suspicion of misconduct reported to UNOPS is assessed and may be investigated.

If IAIG finds that the allegation is substantiated, it will vigorously pursue disciplinary or other action against the perpetrator, including immediate termination of employment. Depending on the violation, these cases may also, upon consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs, be referred to the national authorities for criminal prosecution. The UN Secretary-General can then waive the immunity of the implicated UN personnel to allow them to face criminal prosecution.

UNOPS Executive Director publishes annual details of allegations of misconduct and sanctions taken.

Read the latest report

Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

UNOPS is committed to strengthening protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. Sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment constitute acts of gross misconduct and are grounds for disciplinary action, including termination of employment.

Vendors doing business with UNOPS

UNOPS requires that all vendors we work with operate with high standards of integrity and competency. UNOPS has zero tolerance against vendors that engage in corrupt, fraudulent, coercive, collusive or unethical practices. 

A vendor who prevents or hinders UNOPS from investigating instances of possible proscribed practices by its acts or omissions can also be sanctioned for obstruction.

Should a vendor engage in a proscribed practice, they may be sanctioned further to provisions in the UNOPS Vendor Sanctions Policy. Suspension and debarment actions are administrative remedies taken by UNOPS and other UN agencies to exclude companies or individuals from receiving new contracts and to prevent and combat fraud and corruption in its projects.


Vendors and SEA

UNOPS expects that all vendors, their parent, subsidiary and affiliated entities as well as any subcontractors create and maintain an environment that treats all employees with dignity and respect and prevents sexual exploitation and abuse. All UNOPS contracts contain provisions concerning this obligation.  The failure by a supplier to take preventive measures against sexual exploitation or abuse, to investigate allegations thereof, or to take corrective action when sexual exploitation or abuse has occurred, constitutes grounds for immediate termination of any agreement, without any liability of any kind.

Read more about UNOPS procurement instructions, procedures and processes.