New Criminal Investigations of WIPO

Posted on 28 December 2007 by Gaffer

Still another criminal complaint has been filed against the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as a new scandal breaks over the international organization which forms an important part of the United Nations landscape in Geneva and employs over a thousand staff.

A while back (see our archives) the Organization suffered a scandal over its Director —Kamil Idriss— who was belatedly discovered to have exercised excessive creativity in his curriculum vitae and was forced to discretely retire.

Now Mr. Idriss’ colleagues are in prosecutor’s crosshairs concerning strange paractices in the medical service of the Organization.

The Geneva public prosecutor has been called in concerning a criminal complaint for “fraud, swindling, accomplice to fraud, falsifying documents, falsification of medical certificates” and a raft of other charges. The complaints target the chief of the medical service at Jobs at WIPO in Geneva to disappear

WIPO, a certain Doctor N., a physiotherapist (Madame S.) and the Belgian insurance company Vanbreda.

The plaintiffs have accused the Organization of a series of abuses tolerated and sometimes even encouraged by WIPO’s director. The plaintiffs have cited cases of persons who were never part of WIPO but who were able to obtain health care benefits and reimbursements thanks to Dr. N. A member of the Soudanese mission was thusly able to fraudulently receive health benefits by using the insurance number of an ex-employee (the ex-Director General of WIPO, Kamil Idriss, is Soudanese).

This practice has apparently been frequent, in view of the multiplicity and diversity of testimony.

The investigations and prosecutions will notably have to examine as Corruption at WIPO Geneva

well an alleged traffic in medicines and false prescriptions, as well as phony invoices. Plaintiffs discovered large quantities of products were ordered by an intermediary for the Medical Service of WIPO, without anyone’s knowing the final destination for the pharmaceuticals. In less polite circles, the term ‘drug trafficking’ tends to be employed.

Reached by phone recently, the chief of the Medical Service at WIPO claimed to be unaware of any complaint lodged against him or his service. He further claimed to the victim of bad rumors. “I have nothing to hide,” he added. “We doctors, we have an ethic and procedures. It’s very serious to make such allegations.” He went to add that he was extremely shocked to hear such unfounded accusations.

In their complaint, the WIPO employees repeat that N., who was previously working in Ferney-Voltaire (a French town bordering Geneva), was expelled from the local medical association for lapses in medical ethics, just before being fortuitously hired by WIPO’s then director Kamil Idriss.

In July, PWC noted other problems in a systemic audit of the organization, among them staff abuse of “flextime,” promotions and post reclassification based on length of service rather than merit, and the prevalence of managers who are not competent. WIPO employs over 1000 staff and has an attractive tower in downtown Geneva with a superb view of the lake and a top-floor restaurant. Job vacancies are routinely posted to their website at http://www.wipo.int

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