Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The UN

Strangely enough, the UN has once again emerged in the news as a perpetrator of fraud and deceit. What is this world coming to??

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations called on Tuesday for a full investigation into alleged corruption in contracts worth some $610 million linked to U.N. peacekeeping missions.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that a U.N. task force had uncovered a pervasive pattern of corruption and mismanagement involving contracts for fuel, food, construction and other services for peacekeeping operations.

Well, at least there aren't any charges of teenage sex slaves. They must have gotten the word, "Grab the Loot but not the Booty."

The Post said that in recent weeks 10 U.N. procurement officials had been charged with misconduct for allegedly soliciting bribes and rigging bids for peacekeeping forces in Congo and Haiti.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he was very concerned about the report. "We want these allegations to be fully investigated and where appropriate to have criminal references made," he told reporters at U.N. headquarters.

And no doubt a vicious wrist slapping followed by a letter of reprimand on bonded paper will haunt the perpetrators for the rest of their natural lives. Which will be spent in comparative luxury after making the obligatory bribes, gifts and offerings in their respective home countries.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman Michele Montas declined to comment on individual cases in the report but said staff members accused of misconduct in Haiti and Congo were "under consideration in the internal justice system."

"Under consideration in the internal justice system" in UNese means that this case will be buried under so much red tape, hand wringing, obfuscation and bold assed lies that it will be like it never happened. And the MSM will help speed the process.

"The cases are being accorded the highest priority," Montas told a news briefing, adding that it was a U.N. investigation that had uncovered the alleged cases of fraud.

Just like every other UN corruption investigation in Africa that went no where.

"The United Nations does not want in any case to sweep anything under the rug," she said, adding that Ban planned to present proposals on reforms to fight graft next year.

That's because there isn't any room left under the rugs in the UN. Nor is there any room left under the carpets, above the ceiling tiles or in the ladies room Tampax dispensers. No room at the inn to hide another stolen drachma. Go hide your shit in the stable.

A report by the U.N. Procurement Task Force, which was created in January 2006, gave details of investigations into contracts in various missions including Congo, Haiti, Liberia, Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and at U.N. headquarters in New York.

"The Task Force identified multiple instances of fraud, corruption, waste and mismanagement at United Nations headquarters and peacekeeping missions, including 10 significant instances of fraud and corruption in cases with an aggregate value in excess of $610 million," said the report, seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The report said the fraud in those cases cost the United Nations more than $25 million, which it called "a very conservative estimate."

This must be the new UN math where "fraud and corruption in cases worth an aggregate value in excess of $610 million" now only cost the UN $25 million.

The Washington Post detailed a case in Congo where a U.N. official was said to have accepted a $10,000 bribe, steered a lucrative contract to a friend and persuaded a U.N. contractor to paint his apartment and swimming pool at no cost.

The Task Force report described investigations into Congo contracts worth more than $25 million and what it called a "collapse of ethical culture and extensive corruption in procurement in the Mission which has existed for years.

This UN corruption must be addictive. Let's allow the UN's internal justice system to handle the William Jefferson investigation.

"Jefferson is charged with bribery, obstruction of justice, wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering. Officials alleged Monday that the nine-term representative used the power of his office to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes — benefiting himself and his family — from U.S. businesses and to influence foreign officials.

The indictment says Jefferson received more than $500,000 in bribes and sought millions more in separate schemes to enrich himself by using his office to broker business deals in Africa. The charges came almost two years after investigators raided Jefferson's home in Washington and found $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer. If convicted on all charges, Jefferson could face a maximum sentence of 235 years.

Remember that movie, "Earth Girls Are Easy"? There must be a manual, a web site, a bathroom stall or someplace that tells thieves that Africa Is Easy; that the dark continent is the place to go pull a fast one. And as for this Jefferson investigation to be dragged out for well over two years means one thing to me: that nothing is going to happen.

Same as the UN invest.

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