A high-profile UN whistleblower, whose claims of sexual assault at the main agency dealing with Aids prompted a long-running scandal, has been sacked along with another colleague for alleged sexual and financial misconduct.
Martina Brostrom publicly accused a senior director at UNAids of forcibly kissing her and trying to drag her out of a Bangkok elevator in 2015. She also said he had sexually harassed her on other occasions.
An investigation found the allegations were not substantiated. But campaigners condemned the manner in which the inquiry was handled, and her case prompted an investigation into the agency’s leadership and culture by an independent expert panel.
Earlier this year, Associated Press reported that before Brostroms’s allegations became public, Brostrom herself and a supervisor were being investigated by UN officials for their own sexual and financial misconduct.
Internal UN documents leaked to AP suggested officials at the agency believed they had evidence that Brostrom and a supervisor had taken part in fraudulent practices and misused travel funds.
According to AP, the staff members were reprimanded for abusing UN privileges by requesting special UN rates for the purpose of booking hotels for sexual encounters.
Brostrom denies the claims, adding: “My performance and professional integrity has never been questioned during my 14 years with UNAids, as [is] reflected in my performance appraisals.”
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Rebecca Ratcliffe, Peter Beaumont and agencies