The Dirty Laundry of The United Nations

I read a news article that caught my eye about the UN’s investigations into corruption and fraud within its ranks. It’s now shelving cases by cutting back its investigating staff. These cases involved millions of dollars in misuse and theft involving its own employees and contractors.

In 2006 it established a special anti-corruption unit, the “Procurement Task Force”. With in the first three years of its establishment, it has uncovered at least 20 major schemes affecting more than $1 billion in U.N. contracts and international aid.

But in the beginning of 2009 the U.N. shut down the agency and diverted its work to the Office of Internal Oversight Services’ permanent investigation division. I guess the Procurement Task Force was doing too good of a job!

Of course since then, the number of  cases that were opened and pursued or completed has dropped dramatically due to the release of the majority of its investigators. Over the past year not one fraud or corruption case has been completed. Someone definitely did not like the Procurement Task Force sticking their noses in other peoples business. Especially if it affects someone’s personal financial gain.

The UN also halted probing into contractors and stops five major corruption investigations that were documented by the task force in its final days of 2008.  Someone in the Office of Internal Oversight Services must have dirty hands and a filled wallet.

Even Nancy Boswell, who is president to the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International-USA, stated that she fears the U.N. is diminishing its self-policing.  Go tell it on the mountain Nancy

U.N. officials who operate a $5 billion annual budget and have extended agencies and funds spending at least $20 billion a year more, stoutly say their commitment to rooting out corruption is undiminished. They must have waders on to keep the crap from getting on their nicely polished shoes!

But U.N. management Chief Angela Kane said in late October. “The new investigations division is doing a very good job, and is continuing the good work”.  Maybe she thought no one would repeat her comment.

The U.N.’s track record over the past year definitely suggests a different tale.

Did Angela ever notice the one million dollars a day floating out of a safe from a U.N. project office in Kabul? A year later the U.N. managers say that this is still under investigation? Come on guys, this happened from 2002 to 2006. For all we know it could be supporting the insurgents in Afghanistan. Or just AIG’s private executives parties!

The Procurement Task Force even found some monies coming from Kabul, went to expand operations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I can’t remember are we having any problems from theses countries?

There was even evidence that half of $350,000 in U.N. funds intended to launch a radio station to support women in Baghdad was used to pay off personal loans, a mortgage, credit card bills and taxes. Even for cash withdrawals from a bank in Jordan.

Since then the U.N. did nothing.

The task force investigators obtained evidence of major corruption involving more than $200 million in transportation contracts for U.N. peacekeeping throughout Africa. U.N. procurement records show Russian companies held a large proportion, a quarter of about $400 million in U.N. air transportation contract. The case has since been dropped.

At the end of 2008, the U.N. General Assembly refused to fund Russia and Singapore for any of the tasks. Of course Russia and Singapore protested the findings of wrongdoing involving their citizens or companies from their nations, though the U.N. Board of Auditors concluded the task force acted impartially and helped deter fraud and corruption. It must be a bummer when you get your allowance taken away. Sorry about that Russia and Singapore. Maybe you can deliver newspapers to make up the difference!

The U.N. is even allowing political pressures to stop most if not all of its internal policing.

Several task force reports from December 2008 still await a final decision from Secretary-General Ki-moon. This is more than a year later. It includes cases involving large sums of money and accusations of major fraud, theft or embezzlement by U.N. staff. Come on Ban, can’t you see the moon before you eyes.

This one makes me to ill to my stomach to type so I’ll quote it from the report I read. “In 2009, the secretary-general referred only one case for prosecution outside the U.N., and only after reports by the AP and The Washington Post. U.S. prosecutors are now pursuing task force allegations that the former American head of the U.N. project office in Kabul, Gary K. Helseth, diverted a half-million dollars to lease luxury cars, fly first-class on private trips, buy expensive meals and install high-end home appliances”. Hey Ki-moon! Did Gary pad your wallet? Or was the light of the moon causing a glare in your eyes?

Michael Dudley, who is the acting head of the new investigation division, has barred new inquiries into anyone outside of the U.N., including former staff, employees and contractors. In a memo signed and initialed by him states, “that third party employees are outside of his division’s mandate and cases involving ex-U.N. staff members should be reassessed to determine whether the matter should be closed without further investigation”. Of course Alzheimer disease hit him when he was asked if he ever wrote this memo. It has been stated that he felt that if someone who was charged with misconduct had retired or left the organization, there was no point in investigating since the person was beyond sanction by the U.N.

Now back to Mr. Ki-moon. He said that he has seen “steady progress” in U.N. self-policing since the Office of Internal Oversight Services’ creation, and he pledged “full support” for the agency. It’s been said that investigator are being harassed Mr. Ki-moon! Must be the rose colored glasses he wearing that turns bull crap into a lovely grassy field of green. Or maybe it’s the green in his pocket that’s causing his blindness.

I could go on for hours and delve into more research, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what is going on. So, I have only one question.

Hey Mr. President Obama! Are you going to give more money to the U.N? Or maybe we can use the millions we send to them to help our own country? Oh god, I’m sorry that’s wrong. I mean, to help you politicians with the raises you all are getting the next two years?

I just thought I would comment on this.   It’s still my rights under freedom of speech isn’t it???


About Rev Greg

A student of Theology and Life. Looking for answers to some questions.
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