Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Say it ain't so! More UN waste found

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, to find the UN is guilty of wasting money on useless programs. (Hey, who let Congress spend their money!)

The United Nations has wasted tens of millions of dollars in its peacekeeping operations in Sudan over the past three years, according to the findings of U.N. auditors examining the financial practices of the global body's overseas missions.

U.N. officers in Sudan have squandered millions by renting warehouses that were never used, booking blocks of hotel rooms that were never filled, and losing thousands of food rations to theft and spoilage, according to several internal audits by the U.N. Office for International Oversight Services. One U.N. purchasing agent has been accused of steering a $589,000 contract for airport runway lights to a company that helped his wife obtain a student visa, while two senior procurement officials from the United States and
New Zealand have been charged by a U.N. panel with misconduct for not complying with rules designed to prevent corruption.

The U.N. procurement division "did not have the necessary capacity and expertise to handle the large magnitude of procurement actions" in Sudan, particularly during the early phases of the mission, according to a confidential October 2006 audit obtained by
The Washington Post.

Investigators also detected "a number of potential fraud indicators and cases of mismanagement and waste."

The internal United Nations audits provide a rare glimpse into the messy business of assembling a massive multinational expeditionary force in a war-torn nation. They also highlight the Bush administration's struggles to make progress on its top
Africa initiative: ending a decades-long civil war between Sudan's Islamic government and southern rebels, and halting the mass killing of civilians in the country's southern region of Darfur.

U.N. peacekeeping officials maintain that the auditors' allegations are overblown, and that they neglect the difficulties of launching a major operation in a nation with few roads and a government hostile to foreigners. "This is seen as a witch hunt that is not warranted given the fluidity and complexity of that mission," said one U.N. official who served in Sudan, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigations.

A U.N. task force is examining the United Nations' handling of nearly $300 million in contracts for food, transportation and fuel for Sudan, including a $200 million contract with Eurest Support Services, a
Cyprus-based subsidiary of the Compass Group, a British catering company. ESS also has been charged with rigging bids in Liberia, Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

"There is no excuse for having poor internal control mechanisms and for tolerating mismanagement," Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the undersecretary general of the oversight office, told reporters last month. "We are handling public money and considerable funds and should care about that as if it were our own money."

OK, yes, I'm laughing my @$$ off at the "witch-hunt" comment. Was it a witch-hunt when UN peacekeepers were caught in the myriad of sex scandals in the Congo, Sudan, Bangladesh, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc.? The UN consistently shows the world that they simply don't care about the money other nations give them to deal with humanitarian crises around the world. The excuses they offer are worthless, and the spin they provide is priceless.

Nothing in the world makes me happier to be living here in America than to see how badly mismanaged the UN is. Furthermore, if they hadn't been so damned lax in moving forward on serious reform, maybe some of these stories would subside. In the meantime, we can just sick back, pop some popcorn, and continue to watch the comedy of errors created by diplomats that seemed to have learned less in school, and more from the Three Stooges.

Publius II


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