UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations turned to a Canadian woman on Wednesday who was chief auditor for the World Bank as its choice for the next head of the U.N.'s internal watchdog agency.

Carman Lapointe-Young won approval from the General Assembly to become the undersecretary-general for oversight. She will be given the huge task of trying to quickly fix an agency that her predecessor says is in disarray.

The Manitoba native was appointed to the non-renewable, five-year term as head of the U.N.'s Office of Internal Oversight Services by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whose leadership was severely criticized in an end-of-assignment memo by outgoing OIOS head Inga-Britt Ahlenius of Sweden.

Ban's office said Wednesday that Lapointe-Young has the required experience and expertise for the job, and that she will be expected to rebuild OIOS and fill its many vacancies as soon as possible.

Over the past decade the U.N. has been rocked a series of corruption scandals in its multibillion-dollar spending. The best known resulted from a two-year investigation into the U.N.-run oil-for-food program for Iraq led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

Volcker's inquiry culminated in an October 2005 report accusing more than 2,200 companies from some 40 countries of colluding with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk $1.8 billion from a program aimed at easing Iraqi suffering under U.N. sanctions.

As a result of the scandal, the U.N. created a special anti-corruption task force between 2006 and 2008 that found 20 significant corruption schemes. Its work led to sanctions against about 50 U.N. vendors, many of which were permanently debarred, and felony convictions against three U.N. officials , including two senior procurement officials.

Lapointe-Young won the nod despite some grumbling among diplomats from developing nations who said her appointment upset an informal understanding that the top accountability post should alternate between developing and rich Western nations.

She has been the director of the office of audit and oversight at the International Fund for Agricultural Development since February 2009. From 2004 to 2009, she was the auditor general of The World Bank Group.

She succeeds Ahlenius, who left the OIOS post in mid-July after blaming Ban for blocking her attempt to hire a former U.S. federal prosecutor as permanent head of the investigation division and taking other measures that she said undermined the operational independence her office is supposed to have.

Ban and his senior advisers have quickly closed ranks and disputed many of the memo's assertions while trying to put the dispute quickly behind them. Ban is reviewing the memo and has ordered a review of the U.N.'s ability to investigate itself, his chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, said last week.

"Where there are lessons to be learned, we will draw them," Angela Kane, the undersecretary-general for management, said in a statement Wednesday.

In a statement labeled "Accountability for a Stronger United Nations," Kane said Lapointe-Young will inherit "an office with 76 vacant posts" because Ahlenius failed to fill them.