16 November 2005

Secretary-General Provides Clarifications on Case of Joseph Stephanides

NEW YORK, 15 November (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General examined Mr. Stephanides' case in the light of the Joint Disciplinary Committee's (JDC) findings and conclusions, as well as the entire record and the totality of the circumstances.  While the JDC unduly focused on whether or not the bid prices remained confidential after the bid opening of 30 July 1996, the charges against Mr. Stephanides were not confined to this issue.  Mr. Stephanides violated the procurement rules that required him to act with "absolute impartiality" towards all bidders and that he not disclose outside the United Nations any information with respect to the probable acceptance or rejection of a bid offer (Procurement Rules 9.0002 and 9.0016).  He violated these rules by contacting the United Kingdom Mission and advising them that a competitor would be receiving the bid and advising the Mission how much lower the Lloyds' bid needed to be.  In its final report, the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) has also reconfirmed its original findings in respect of Mr. Stephanides' actions.  That the bids were opened on 30 July 1996 does not detract from the fact that he showed "partiality" to Lloyds and provided information about "the probable acceptance or rejection of a bid offer".  Consequently, Mr. Stephanides' actions violated the procurement rules and the Secretary-General does not share the JDC's view that the decision to sanction his conduct was "seriously flawed" in law or in fact.

Notwithstanding the above, the sanction that was imposed on Mr. Stephanides has been reconsidered in light of all the circumstances in this case and the principle of proportionality.  As a result of such reconsideration, it has been decided to rescind the decision to summarily dismiss him and to pay his salary and emoluments from the date of his summary dismissal to the date of his retirement.  It has also been decided, in view of the circumstances, to impose a written censure on Mr. Stephanides pursuant to Staff Rule 110.3(a)(i).  The letter sent today to Mr. Stephanides will serve as the written censure.

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