Wotka World Wide

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Another depressing headline: U.N. cuts back on investigating fraud. Not really surprising, but this makes me wonder why people have such boundless faith in an organization that is among the most corrupt and plutocratic organizations working around the world today. The fact that the U.S. contributes half their budget really rankles as well. Accountability should be a contingency for receiving our funds. Do you think it is any coincidence that all these investigations of corruption and fraud ceased at the beginning of 2009? Read the whole thing.

The world body was rocked earlier in the decade when more than 2,200 companies from some 40 countries colluded with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk $1.8 billion from a U.N.-administered oil-for-food program for Iraqi humanitarian relief.

In response, it established a special anti-corruption unit, the Procurement Task Force, in 2006 that over the next three years uncovered at least 20 other major schemes affecting more than $1 billion in U.N. contracts and international aid.

But at the beginning of 2009, the United Nations shuttered the agency and diverted its work to the Office of Internal Oversight Services' permanent investigation division.

Since then, the number of cases opened, pursued or completed has dropped dramatically and the division has let go most former task force investigators, the AP found in an examination of U.N. documents, audits and e-mails, along with dozens of interviews with current and former U.N. officials and diplomats.

Over the past year, not a single significant fraud or corruption case has been completed, compared with an average 150 cases a year investigated by the task force. The permanent investigation division decided not to even pursue about 95 cases left over when the task force ceased operation, while another 80 unfinished cases have languished.

It also stopped probes into contractors and cut qualified staff and other resources - and halted five major corruption investigations documented by the task force in the final days of 2008.

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