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WHO's head in controversy as auditor leaves

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 13 May 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1221

“A complete breakdown in dialogue and cooperation” with WHO's leaders has led John Bourn, WHO's external auditor, to withdraw his election bid for his post in 1995-6. Sir John Bourn is head of the National Audit Office in Britain, which has been external auditor for WHO since 1978. The next external auditor will be Henri Elwin Kluver, auditor general of South Africa.

Sir John's announcement, while not quite the same as a resignation (he will remain auditor for 1994-5), comes at a time of growing dissatisfaction with the leadership of WHO's director general, Dr Hiroshi Nakajima. It came as African delegates accused Dr Nakajima of making offensive remarks and called for his resignation. Their accusations gained momentum with the unauthorised release last week of a tape recording in which Dr Nakajima makes controversial remarks.

The National Audit Office in Britain complained of financial irregularities and mismanagement in a report in 1993, and relations with WHO's secretariat have since become increasingly strained. The 1993 …

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