The investigation function supports the Inspector General and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) through the conduct of administrative investigations and inspections. 

OIG’s scope of work requires that “…allegations of irregularities (fraud, waste, abuse of authority and other misconduct) are assessed and, where warranted, are investigated." The investigative function provides the Inspector General with the capability to fulfil this responsibility.

In addition, and in accordance with OIG’s Charter, the investigative function conducts investigations in accordance with the standards established by the Conference of International Investigators’ Uniform Principles and Guidelines for Investigations.  Accordingly, OIG administrative investigations adhere to the principles of “…objectivity, impartiality, and fairness…”.

The fundamental purpose of the investigation function, similar to that of evaluation and internal audit, is to support the Inspector General and OIG deliver “independent, objective assurance, systematic review and advice to add value and improve programme/project design, delivery and operations” to IOM and, through the conduct of administrative investigations and inspections, enable the Inspector General to provide a “consolidated internal oversight mechanism”.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Section 1: Role and Scope of OIG Investigations

What is the role/mandate of OIG Investigations?

The OIG investigations team investigates allegations of violations of IOM regulations, rules and policies. An OIG investigation is an administrative fact-finding activity, which means collecting evidence to either support or refute allegations of misconduct against persons working for IOM.

Where does OIG conduct its investigations?

OIG conducts its investigations in all IOM departments, duty stations and offices, wherever IOM activities, resources or personnel are present. As needed, OIG undertakes field travel and deploys to the locations of witnesses or other evidence regarding the case under review.

Is OIG Investigations a law enforcement service, police or prosecution?

NO. The OIG is not a law enforcement agency, police, or prosecution. OIG investigations are not criminal investigations but purely administrative. OIG has no police powers, it cannot arrest, detain or fine anyone. It has no role in a country’s justice system and does not replace an investigation or court proceedings by national authorities. The OIG investigation function serves to establish the facts with regards to allegations of wrongdoing by IOM employees, and to allow other IOM departments to make an informed decision about violations of the IOM legal framework or other action needed. The focus is on promoting accountability, transparency, and effectiveness within the Organization’s activities and programmes, and there is no possibility for IOM to impose criminal sanctions on IOM personnel.

What does OIG investigate or not investigate?

OIG investigates allegations against IOM personnel regarding misconduct such as fraud, corruption, (sexual) harassment, or sexual exploitation and abuse. OIG does not investigate allegations against persons who do not work for IOM, or reports that rather concern managerial, performance or interpersonal issues. Due to its limited resources and other available means at IOM to address low-risk matters, OIG prioritizes the more serious allegations for investigation.

I am in need of assistance with migration, and I would like IOM to help me, should I contact OIG?

NO. OIG only deals with allegations of misconduct. If you need assistance from IOM with migration-related issues, please contact the local IOM office in your country. You can find all contact information online at .

Is OIG independent within IOM?

YES, OIG provides the Director General with independent, objective assurance, systematic review, and advice. This means it operates separately and is not influenced by the day-to-day operations or decisions of IOM. This independence is important to ensure that the OIG can provide unbiased assessments and recommendations to help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of IOM's programmes and projects and conduct investigations without outside interference.

I am a manager at IOM, will OIG Investigations give me advice on what I should do as a manager?

NO. OIG Investigations’ purpose is to review and investigate allegations of misconduct. OIG Investigations can direct you to the department that will assist you or share additional information for your decision and action. IOM’s Department of Human Resources has tools and trainings you can use as a manager. On questions related to staff contracts and assignments or otherwise impacting on a person’s conditions of contract, please also consult with the IOM Legal Department. With regard to managerial action pending investigation, there are multiple types of measures that you can take to protect the funds, operations, personnel and beneficiaries of the Organization. Managers at the concerned location have the best insight on how to address these multiple risks and it is their responsibility to do so as a first line of defense. Such measures may include, for example, enhancing protection at a campsite, reviewing contractual arrangements with vendors, freezing payments, and reinforcing verifications in procurement processes. Please keep OIG informed of the actions you plan to take pending investigation.  

Can OIG mediate my case or find a solution, even by way of an informal resolution?

NO. OIG does fact-finding, and its role is not to act as a mediator or find a solution. For informal resolution, please contact the Office of the Ombudsperson at You can also find guidance in this document by the Department of Human Resources, Addressing workplace issues in IOM - Roadmap on Where to Go and When (June 2022).  

Will OIG take disciplinary action against the person I reported?

NO. OIG’s core role is fact-finding. It does not have legal or disciplinary authority. It does not make recommendations or take decisions on disciplinary sanctions. Disciplinary action is decided by the Executive Office after disciplinary proceedings handled by the Legal Department in coordination with the Department of Human Resources.   

Will OIG provide victim assistance?

NO. OIG does not provide victim assistance. However, if you are a victim of sexual misconduct by an IOM employee, please make a report on our “We Are All In” (WAAI) platform, and OIG will redirect you to the relevant department and trigger victim assistance on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). If you are a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse or sexual harassment, for victim assistance, you can also contact the PSEAH office at, an IOM PSEAH focal point or an IOM protection officer directly. 


Why should I report misconduct to the OIG and We Are All In (WAAI)?

Misconduct undermines the effectiveness, credibility and integrity of IOM. When confronted with misconduct, IOM personnel should speak up as soon as possible to ensure timely preventive and corrective actions – they have a duty to report misconduct. IOM is committed to ensuring swift action and accountability.

Do I need to report to my supervisor or the Chief of Mission before reporting to OIG or WAAI?

NO. You do not have to report to your supervisor or the Chief of Mission before reporting to OIG. Supervisors are not informed by OIG when staff are under investigation but may be contacted as witnesses if they have relevant information or evidence, or when the allegation comprises serious wrongdoing, and it is necessary to protect the interests of the Organization or an individual. However, even then, OIG will apply strict confidentiality.

I am not an IOM personnel. Can I still report misconduct to OIG or WAAI?

YES.  Everyone can report to OIG and WAAI. IOM has a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct, and all individuals who are victims or witnesses of misconduct can file a report against IOM personnel. All reports, whether they come from an employee or not, will be given the same attention. 

How can I report misconduct?
  1. Contact OIG Investigations directly via e-mail:
  2. The “We are all in’’  (WAAI) platform:
  3. Contact an OIG Investigations team member in person, via phone, email or chat stating that you would like to make a report of misconduct.
  4. For allegations of retaliation, contact the Ethics and Conduct Office: or report to WAAI.
Does the OIG accept anonymous reports?

YES. OIG does accept anonymous reports. While anonymous complaints of misconduct can be made, they should contain enough detailed information to enable OIG to conduct independent verifications. In the absence of sufficiently clear and specific allegations, OIG may not be able to proceed. If you prefer, you can communicate with OIG Investigations through an alias or a confidential account (e.g., Proton Mail) to interact with OIG and provide files of evidence.

What should I include in my report?

Individuals reporting misconduct are encouraged to be as specific as possible about the allegation(s) and should include details of who, what, where, when and how the incident(s) occurred. As example the:

(a) Name of the alleged offender. 
(b) Name of alleged affected individual/victim. 
(c) Date(s) and location(s) of incident(s).
(d) Description of the misconduct situation and incident(s) in as much detail as possible.
(e) Names of witnesses, if any. 
(f) Any other relevant information, for example, documentary evidence or records of communications, if available. 
(g) The affected individual’s/victim’s needs and/or suggested solutions/outcomes, if any.

Do I need evidence to make a report to OIG ?

NO. You do not need evidence to report allegations of misconduct to OIG. It is the role of OIG to collect further information and evidence to address the matter.  You also should not conduct your own investigation before reporting to OIG. Please report promptly to OIG sufficient information so that it can proceed; see question 6 above. 

Is there a deadline for reporting an allegation of misconduct?

NO, there is no deadline or time limit to report misconduct, except for complaints about discrimination, harassment (except sexual harassment which is not subject to time limits) and abuse of authority, which need to be reported within a year of the last incident of abusive conduct. 

Will my confidentiality be protected and will the person I am reporting to OIG be notified that I have reported them?

OIG investigations are strictly confidential, and information is only shared on a need-to-know basis, for administrative, disciplinary or judicial proceedings. OIG uses redactions and other methods to protect the identities of whistleblowers and witnesses at risk. For reasons of due process, a person under investigation must get a meaningful opportunity to defend themselves, which includes access to evidence such as testimonies. This, together with a formal notification, generally happens at the end of an investigation. In cases of harassment, discrimination, abuse of authority, retaliation and sexual misconduct, the person under investigation will normally have a right to know the identity of the affected individual/victim. Only in rare exceptions, the Organization may accept entirely anonymous testimonies in disciplinary proceedings, for example for victims of human trafficking or at risk of severe bodily harm. Requests for anonymity by complainants or investigation participants will be considered to the extent possible. 

Will I get periodic updates on the matter I reported?

NO. OIG does not provide every reporter with periodic updates due to the confidential nature of investigations. However, it will acknowledge receipt of the allegation reported.   If you are directly affected by the allegations (such as when you are a victim of alleged sexual harassment or SEA), OIG will keep you informed, e.g., on whether the case is closed or if the case has been sent to the IOM Legal Department for further action. You can also follow up with OIG if you would like to have information about the case status or need to provide an update. After an investigation, IOM Chiefs of Mission are notified systematically of the transmission to the IOM Legal Department, and also of closures of cases that were reported officially by their offices.

I am the victim of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) or Sexual Harassment (SH) by IOM personnel, can OIG help me? Alternatively, I know a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse or sexual harassment by IOM personnel, can OIG help him/her?

YES. It is very important that you report SEA, because IOM has a policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse by its personnel. OIG will promptly review your report and assess if an investigation is warranted. Please note that OIG cannot provide victim assistance but can redirect you to appropriate resources at IOM and will trigger SEA victim assistance by others.

I have information about a private company, a vendor, an implementing partner or a third-party contractor (or some of its employees) involved in corrupt and/or fraudulent practices when doing business with IOM, should I report this to OIG?

YES. Fraud or corruption are prohibited at IOM. If you have any information on such wrongdoing, you have a duty to report it.

I am a victim of retaliation for having reported misconduct and cooperated with an investigation, should I report the responsible person to OIG?

NO. Please report to the Ethics and Conduct Office (ECO) or WAAI.  If the Ethics Office finds a prima facie case of retaliation, it will submit the case to OIG for investigation. Any retaliation or threat of retaliation against a person who reported misconduct or cooperated with a duly authorized investigation or audit is unacceptable and may be subject to disciplinary action. This also applies after a case is closed. Please refer to IN/282 and the ECO internet site for more information on protection against retaliation at IOM.

I am being retaliated against, but not because I have reported misconduct or cooperated with an investigation or audit. What can OIG do?

This may be an act of abusive conduct based on IN/90 Rev.1, IOM’s Policy on a Respectful Working Environment. Please consider the DHR roadmap and consult with ECO or the Ombudsperson about available avenues. If the acts go beyond what is described in IN/90 Rev.1, please report the misconduct to OIG or WAAI. 

I am hesitant to report to OIG because I am afraid that I might face sanctions if the content of my complaint turns out to be wrong or unsupported by evidence. Is that true?

NO. If a person makes a report in good faith – in other words, shares his or her suspicions with the aim of helping to put an end to a situation of misconduct – and the investigation concludes that there was no or insufficient evidence of misconduct, the person who filed the complaint will not be considered to have made a false complaint or face a disciplinary sanction. Only a complaint made with knowledge of their falsity or with willful disregard of their truth or falsity (so-called mala fide complaints) may result in a disciplinary measure for the person behind the false complaint. 


What is the process for conducting investigations within IOM?

There are three major steps in this process: intake/preliminary assessment, investigation, and reporting.

During the intake and preliminary assessment phase, OIG Intake team will acknowledge receipt of all allegations of misconduct and examine them to see if they warrant an investigation and if there is enough information to proceed.  Some cases will be closed by OIG already at the end of this phase or referred to the Legal Department or other offices for action.  During the investigation phase, the OIG Investigations team will conduct a formal collection of evidence to establish the facts relevant to an allegation. Lastly, during the reporting phase, which is the last phase of the process, the evidence collected will be included in a written document and closed.  Investigation reports will be send to the IOM Legal Department for review and potential disciplinary sanction(s).

What happens during an investigation?

An investigation consists in evidence collection activities, e.g., witness interviews, documentary analysis, computer forensics and site visits. Towards the end of this fact-finding process, the person who is the subject of the investigation will be informed of the allegations via a Notice of Allegations. The subject is also invited to comment on the draft investigation report and evidence before finalization. OIG prepares a report, which will contain the allegations, analyze available evidence and make findings of fact. 

How long does it take?

An investigation is not a quick review, instead this is a formal, thorough and fair process that needs to follow a composite system of professional standards and legal requirements. The length of an investigation depends on multiple factors, including complexity, number and availability of witnesses, travel logistics, safety risks, OIG resources, and others. OIG prioritizes cases depending on the category and risk level.  

Will OIG take interim measures to help me and others while the investigation is on-going?

OIG has no authority to decide on or take interim measures. It can recommend to relevant departments (e.g., LEG, DHR, country offices) to take temporary actions or precautions to prevent further harm, protect individuals or resources, maintain the integrity of the investigation, or ensure that operations can continue smoothly. Those interim measures can take numerous forms, such as a suspension pending an investigation, reassignment or other. The responsibility to take interim measures to protect beneficiaries, funds, staff and operations pending an investigation lies with the IOM administration and relevant manager (see above Section 1 Question 7). OIG participates in information sharing and cooperation, and may recommend measures on a case-by-case basis. If you are in need of help during an investigation, please bring your concern to the attention of OIG so that it can coordinate with relevant departments. You may also turn directly to these for assistance. 

Can OIG offer witness protection?

There is no witness protection programme at IOM. Options in the area of witness protection are very limited because IOM is merely an employer and not a national authority. OIG does not have the same means as a police or prosecution service. OIG reviews all requests for witness protection and liaises with relevant departments and offices for advice and possible measures. However, anyone who cooperates in good faith with an investigation is entitled to protection from retaliation in accordance with the IOM Policy for Protection against retaliation for reporting misconduct or cooperating with investigations and audits, IN/282. Every IOM employee who fears or faces retaliation can contact the ECO office for further assistance.

How are the interviews conducted?

Prior to the commencement of the interview process, the Investigator will send an email to the participants. The interviews will be conducted in an appropriate and confidential environment, at a reasonable time and for a reasonable duration, with breaks as necessary. Victims of sexual misconduct have the right to a support person during the interview. OIG will accommodate reasonable needs of the interviewees. Interviews are audio-recorded and will either be conducted in person, or remotely. 

What is the duty to cooperate?

The duty to cooperate is the obligation of IOM personnel to cooperate with duly authorized audits and investigations by providing information in any form, including testimony, computer and phone devices, records and other, as requested by OIG. Persons asked for information by OIG, during an interview or otherwise, have a duty to respond completely and truthfully to questions, and they should also volunteer any information that could assist OIG to establish the facts. A failure to cooperate, or withholding relevant information and tampering with evidence, may be considered a form of serious misconduct and lead to disciplinary action.

Can OIG investigators access or seize my IOM devices, even without notifying me?

OIG has a mandate that allows for its unrestricted access to all IOM information and communications technology data and devices (e.g., computers, mobile phones), including remotely. It does not need to provide the concerned user with advance notification of such access. OIG notifies the subject of an investigation, usually via the Notice of Allegations which is later sent by email as part of the evidence material, that it will access and seize devices.   Seizure of devices is generally done in the presence of the staff member and is documented. Witnesses should be informed of OIG’s remote access to their ICT data at some point before or after the access takes place.

Can OIG investigators access or seize my personal devices, even without notifying me?

NO. Personal devices should not be seized and searched for OIG investigations, except if they are attached to an IOM computer and there is a reasonable belief that they contain information relevant to the investigation. However, you may volunteer or show your personal devices for the use of the investigation.

Can I speak to my colleagues about the investigation?

NO. You are required to maintain confidentiality and refrain from discussing or disclosing an investigation or your testimony to your colleagues including supervisors. There are serious consequences for failing to ensure that confidentiality is maintained, and the disclosure of confidential information may result in disciplinary action. If you have a question, for example, if you can seek support from a particular professional with confidentiality obligations, please ask OIG.

I am the subject of an investigation; can I have legal representation during the investigation?

NO. Since the role of the investigation is fact-finding in nature, you are not entitled to legal representation when interacting with investigator(s) or during the interview. You may bring an IOM colleague to the OIG interview for emotional support.


What happens after I report a wrongdoing to the OIG?

After the misconduct is reported to OIG, OIG will acknowledge receipt of all allegations, will conduct a preliminary assessment and may launch an investigation. Once the investigation is complete, OIG submits its investigation report to the IOM Legal Department who will review the investigation report, conduct disciplinary proceedings if warranted, and submit the recommended disciplinary measures to the Executive Office  for decision. The IOM Administration may also decide to take managerial action, include a person in the UN ClearCheck database or make a referral to national authorities. If the Legal Office determines that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, it will proceed with closure of the case accordingly.

What happens to a person who is investigated by OIM for possible misconduct?

The IOM employee under investigation will be informed in writing of the allegations made against him/her. He/she will have the opportunity to give her side of the story and will be formally interviewed. Upholding its commitment to impartiality and based on a factual investigation, the person who is investigated by OIG for possible misconduct will be afforded all rights of due process, including the presumption of innocence and a right to submit comments and evidence in defense. When the investigation is completed, the matter will be transmitted to the IOM Legal Department for consideration. If the Legal Department proceeds with a disciplinary process, there is an additional opportunity to provide comments on the charges for the person who was investigated. Then, the Executive Office decides if a disciplinary sanction or other measure should be imposed. The case may also be closed – for example, a person who has left the employment of IOM will not receive a disciplinary sanction. 

Will OIG recommend or take disciplinary action against IOM personnel?

NO. As mentioned above, OIG is not involved in the disciplinary process but acts as a neutral factfinder to assist the Legal Department in determining whether the allegations may be substantiated or unsubstantiated.

What are the disciplinary actions that can be taken against an IOM employee? 

Pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Unified Staff Regulations and Rules (USRR), IOM disciplinary measures can be taken against IOM staff members, which may take the form of any one or a combination of the following: written reprimand; reduction of step(s); fine; discharge after due notice; summary dismissal. Administrative measures may include: oral warning; non-disciplinary written warning not containing reference to Staff Regulation 10; Recovery of monies owed to the Organization; Suspension with or without pay and other. The action concerning IOM employees who are not staff members depends on their contract with the Organization. IOM does not take disciplinary action against persons who do not work for IOM.