June 16, 2000Aid workers indicted for fraud in Kosovo
GENEVA (Reuters) - A major international relief agency helping resettle refugees returning to Kosovo said on Friday that two of its former employees in Pristina had been indicted for alleged embezzlement and fraud.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that the Angolan and Kenyan employees had manipulated its data base to issue two checks in fictitious names, including one for 190,000 marks ($93,040) which was cashed.
The two men, named as Manuel Ribeiro and Moses Omweno, are in custody in Pristina, awaiting trial by a tribunal of the United Nations in Kosovo (UNMIK) provisional government, IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy told a news briefing in Geneva.
"Two former employees have been indicted for fraud, charged with colluding to unlawfully obtain 190,000 DM of IOM assets," Chauzy said. "We deplore this fraud and have taken strict control measures including reinforced auditing to make sure this does not happen again."
The scheme was uncovered during an internal audit last month and the Geneva-based agency acted quickly, according to the spokesman. IOM has asked for the bank accounts of the two former employees to be frozen, he added.
Over the past year, the agency has helped 110,000 Kosovo Albanians who fled the war to return home, providing cash payments to resettle and rebuild their lives.