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Idris To Step Down Next Year As WIPO Chief

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

15 November 2007


It was reported this week that Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Dr Kamil Idris, is to step down a year earlier than planned, following criticisms of his leadership of the body, and allegations of misconduct.

According to an AFP report, Dr Idris was found to have misrepresented his age, allowing him to extend his term at WIPO's helm. Additionally, in 2005, WIPO was accused of financial irregularities and mismanagement in connection with various projects, and concerns were raised by the US and other governments over the use of WIPO resources to build a swimming pool on Idris's property.

An audit completed by Ernst & Young appeared to clear the Organisation of any wrongdoing, but made a number of recommendations for improving practice in this area.

Commenting at the time, Brooks Robinson, spokeswoman for the US Mission to the United Nations, announced that:

"We note that (the) Swiss authorities are still investigating the allegations, and it's important to allow that investigation to be concluded before we reach any judgement about accused wrongdoers."

She went on to allege that the E&Y report "makes it clear that management weaknesses at WIPO do make it possible for financial irregularities to be committed".

Member states including Switzerland and the United States last month refused to sign off on the Organisation's budget for the coming year whilst Dr Idris remained in charge, and have reportedly welcome the announcement that he will step down next year, rather than in 2009 as originally planned.


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