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Le Mont de Sisyphe
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Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Je suis beau et intelligent. À part cela, je suis juriste helvète, libéral-conservateur, amateur d'armes, passionné d'histoire et de politique. Je suis libéral et capitaliste convaincu car je pense que c'est cela l'état naturel de l'homme. Je parle le "Schwiizerdütsch" avec un accent zurichois, j'adore la bonne musique, la bière et surtout la femme avec qui je vis.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Wanna waste your money? Give it to the U.N.

This is something you will hardly find in European MSM (Mainstreammedia). Here's a confirmation that the UN is a chronical money wasting body where the lack of transparency and accountability is the rule and where mismanagment has become a trademark. At least they are now "investigating" on this. All this doesn't mean that the U.N. must be abolished but it must be radically reformed. The forum character where nations can meet and try to relsove the toughest crises still makes sense. But in my view it is necessary to somehow out-source their activities. For the rest, basic standards of accountability have to be introduced. Every private business is expected to do so. Of course things like the Commission on Human Rights of the ridiculous Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or the scandalous United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) should immediately be abolished for lack of seriousness and credibility.

Our media will hardly give this its due place. What is not allowed to be, is not - as we use to say in German. The U.N. (and Kofi of course) still represent some sort of mystical "World spirit" which stands for the common good and which is trying to refrain the evil United States from World domination... Well, I'd rather prefer the U.S. to rule the world than the U.N.

What I must keep in mind though is that back in 2002, I voted in favor of Switzerland's entering the U.N... Nobody is perfect.

Via the Washington Post:
Jan. 23 -- An internal U.N. probe of the department that runs international peacekeeping operations has uncovered extensive evidence of mismanagement and possible fraud, and triggered the suspension of eight procurement officials pending an investigation, according to U.N. officials and documents.

U.N. investigators have uncovered rampant waste, price inflation and suspicion that employees colluded with vendors in awarding contracts for a variety of peacekeeping programs, said a confidential report presented to several governments Monday.

Peacekeepers, for example, spent $10.4 million to lease a helicopter for use in East Timor that could have been secured for $1.6 million, and paid $2.4 million to buy seven aircraft hangars in Congo that were never used, the report said. An additional $65 million or more was spent for fuel that was not needed for missions in Sudan and Haiti, said the report, which called for an investigation into whether U.N. staff members improperly "colluded to award" one U.N. supplier an $85.9 million fuel contract for the Sudan mission.

The failure of U.N. managers to enforce basic standards has led to a "culture of impunity" in U.N. spending, according to the report. Together, it says that there are "strong" indications of fraud involving contracts whose value totaled about $193 million, nearly 20 percent of the $1 billion in U.N. business examined by the auditors. (...)

The U.N. findings come as the organization is struggling to recover from a financial scandal involving abuse of the $64 billion oil-for-food program in prewar Iraq and reports of widespread sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers.

U.S. prosecutors, meanwhile, are conducting their own investigation into criminal wrongdoing in U.N. contracting. The U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York in August charged a former U.N. procurement officer, Alexander Yakovlev, with receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes on behalf of companies doing business with the United Nations. Yakovlev pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation. (...)

John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the procurement scandal would not prompt a retreat from U.N. peacekeeping. But he said it underscored the need for far-reaching administrative changes in the world body.

"It is very disturbing. It shows the sad record of mismanagement that we are trying to deal with through the reform process," he said.

The U.N. Office of Internal Oversight, which conducted the inquiry, cited several cases in which they found "fraud indicators," or cause for suspicion.

The helicopter deal in East Timor was one of them. U.N. procurement officers had been offered a $1.6 million lease for an Mi-26 helicopter, the report said, but the procurement documents did not reflect that offer. The U.N. report called for an investigation into why officials paid $8.8 million too much and into their dealings with vendors.(...)
(Hat tip: Couhoulinn des PF)

UPDATE (25.01.2006, 11:20): In the light of what is said above, the WMD-Blog reminds us of the irony of Kofi's call on the U.S. last year not to withhold its dues to the U.N. The U.S. bears nearly half of the U.N.'s $ 2 billion annual budget. Before you pay such a sum to somebody, you should make sure he uses the money in a reasonable and justifiable way. Otherwise, don't pay him.


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