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2001 02 09 * UNwire - ODCCP : Italian Opponents Join Criticism Of Arlacchi

Adding to controversy surrounding UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention(ODCCP) Executive Director Pino Arlacchi, Italian politicians are calling for him to be removed from his post.

Maurizio Turco, a member of Italy's Radical Party and a representative to the European Parliament, yesterday requested in a letter to the European Commission that the commission "block all funds supplied to the UN Drug Control Program, whatever the aim may be." The UNDCP is part of the ODCCP. Turco called for "competent services" to be "in charge of making an in-depth inquiry on the use of the funds supplied during Senator Arlacchi['s] management."

The letter disputes claims by Arlacchi that the facts contained in the resignation letter of UNDCP official Michael von der Schulenburg were "rubbish," citing a memorandum from ODCCP official Francisco Thoumi to Arlacchi (Maurizio Turco, Italian Radical Party Web site, 8 Feb).

Thoumi accused Arlacchi of "concentrating too many ODCCP decisions in [his] own hands." Thoumi wrote that it is "imperative" Arlacchi decentralize the ODCCP if it is to work efficiently. Referring to delays in the publication of the World Drug Report, Thoumi referred to Arlacchi as a "bottleneck," and said that "the difficulty interacting with you has become a [main] obstacle to meet those deadlines" (Italian Radical Party Web site II).

Arlacchi's supporters say the Radical Party has always criticized him because of its own support for the legalization of narcotics (Barbara Crossette, New York Times, 8 Feb). Arlacchi is the target of a UN investigation into claims of financial and administrative mismanagement (UN Wire, 5 Feb).