UN Moving to Derail Fraud Investigations

What a surprise.

The UN bureaucracy has once again acted to insulate itself from punishment for engaging in fraud that has cost the UN (and America, since America by far is the largest contributor to the United Nations)
hundreds of millions of dollars. .

Buried in today's  New York Times paper is article by Warren Hoge (who wrote a glowing book on former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan-under whose reign this fraud-and  the related oil-for-food scandal happened) titled "U.N. Body Plans to End Investigation of Contracts" .This is  a rather anodyne headline for fraud that costs hundreds of millions of dollars*. The lead paragraph:
 The General Assembly is preparing to put an early end to an in-house panel that has exposed more than $600 million in tainted United Nations contracts and is currently investigating an additional $1 billion in suspect agreements.

A budget committee of the General Assembly is scheduled to vote as early as Friday on a resolution that would force the panel to close down its operations in six months.


The effort to scuttle the panel is not a budget matter so much as a political one, and it represents the continuing suspicion developing countries have about international intervention in their affairs.


The fight has been led by one country, Singapore, which contends that a United Nations official from there has been treated unfairly in an investigation. The resolution also recommends that the panel itself be investigated for the way it has treated officials and diplomats.


In its effort to curtail the task force’s work, Singapore succeeded in winning over the powerful Group of 77, an assemblage representing the developing world that has grown over the years to 130 nations.


The threatened shutdown of what has been a penetrating inquiry comes at a time when the United Nations is still recovering from the findings of mismanagement and corruption in the oil-for-food program made by Paul A. Volcker. Mr. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, said in the 2005 report that the United Nations suffered from a “culture of inaction.”


The investigations will obviously cease,” Mr. Appleton said Thursday, noting that the United Nations currently had no other unit “to address these matters.”

“We have five people who will leave because of the uncertainty, and it is difficult to recruit competent qualified investigators for six-month contracts,” he said. “Also, companies will delay and wait us out until we leave.”


Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the under secretary general for internal oversight services, said that letting the task force expire “would undo the great work that has been accomplished so far and expose the organization to greater risk.”

Singapore is leading the efforts to derail the investigation to protect its own nationals. This is utterly hypocritical of Singapore which has developed a sterling reputation for honesty and its efforts to attack corruption in its own island nation.

Singapore has boomed because of a reputation for transparency and honesty, always scoring well in the reports that evaluate nations for corruption. The fact that it has allied itself with historically corrupt nations - the group of 77 (now 130) nations that consider themselves lesser-developed and that have long abused foreign aid programs - is a sad development.

Singapore is an increasingly active investor in America. The nation's sovereign funds have been snapping up major ownership stakes in our leading financial companies. For instance, today there is news that it has taken  a major position in Merrill Lynch.

Maybe our Senators, including Senator Schumer from New York who has welcomed such foreign investment, should begin to cast a skeptical eye when they are being undertaken by nations who thrust a stick into our eyes when it comes to manipulating the United Nations.



* Warren Hoge's reports on the United Nations should begin with the tag "Hogewash". His hero-worshipping of Kofi Annan is again on display in this article: there is not one mention of the fact that this fraud happened under Annan's "leadership" nor is there mention of the paper-shredding of key financial records by Annan's chief of staff Iqbal Risa on the verge of their being acquired by the panel created by Paul Volker to investigate the Oil-for-Food scandal.


What a surprise.

The UN bureaucracy has once again acted to insulate itself from punishment for engaging in fraud that has cost the UN (and America, since America by far is the largest contributor to the United Nations)
hundreds of millions of dollars. .

Buried in today's  New York Times paper is article by Warren Hoge (who wrote a glowing book on former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan-under whose reign this fraud-and  the related oil-for-food scandal happened) titled "U.N. Body Plans to End Investigation of Contracts" .This is  a rather anodyne headline for fraud that costs hundreds of millions of dollars*. The lead paragraph:
 The General Assembly is preparing to put an early end to an in-house panel that has exposed more than $600 million in tainted United Nations contracts and is currently investigating an additional $1 billion in suspect agreements.

A budget committee of the General Assembly is scheduled to vote as early as Friday on a resolution that would force the panel to close down its operations in six months.


The effort to scuttle the panel is not a budget matter so much as a political one, and it represents the continuing suspicion developing countries have about international intervention in their affairs.


The fight has been led by one country, Singapore, which contends that a United Nations official from there has been treated unfairly in an investigation. The resolution also recommends that the panel itself be investigated for the way it has treated officials and diplomats.


In its effort to curtail the task force’s work, Singapore succeeded in winning over the powerful Group of 77, an assemblage representing the developing world that has grown over the years to 130 nations.


The threatened shutdown of what has been a penetrating inquiry comes at a time when the United Nations is still recovering from the findings of mismanagement and corruption in the oil-for-food program made by Paul A. Volcker. Mr. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, said in the 2005 report that the United Nations suffered from a “culture of inaction.”


The investigations will obviously cease,” Mr. Appleton said Thursday, noting that the United Nations currently had no other unit “to address these matters.”

“We have five people who will leave because of the uncertainty, and it is difficult to recruit competent qualified investigators for six-month contracts,” he said. “Also, companies will delay and wait us out until we leave.”


Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the under secretary general for internal oversight services, said that letting the task force expire “would undo the great work that has been accomplished so far and expose the organization to greater risk.”

Singapore is leading the efforts to derail the investigation to protect its own nationals. This is utterly hypocritical of Singapore which has developed a sterling reputation for honesty and its efforts to attack corruption in its own island nation.

Singapore has boomed because of a reputation for transparency and honesty, always scoring well in the reports that evaluate nations for corruption. The fact that it has allied itself with historically corrupt nations - the group of 77 (now 130) nations that consider themselves lesser-developed and that have long abused foreign aid programs - is a sad development.

Singapore is an increasingly active investor in America. The nation's sovereign funds have been snapping up major ownership stakes in our leading financial companies. For instance, today there is news that it has taken  a major position in Merrill Lynch.

Maybe our Senators, including Senator Schumer from New York who has welcomed such foreign investment, should begin to cast a skeptical eye when they are being undertaken by nations who thrust a stick into our eyes when it comes to manipulating the United Nations.



* Warren Hoge's reports on the United Nations should begin with the tag "Hogewash". His hero-worshipping of Kofi Annan is again on display in this article: there is not one mention of the fact that this fraud happened under Annan's "leadership" nor is there mention of the paper-shredding of key financial records by Annan's chief of staff Iqbal Risa on the verge of their being acquired by the panel created by Paul Volker to investigate the Oil-for-Food scandal.