UN vows not to squander disaster aid despite oil-for-food track record
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UN vows not to squander disaster aid despite oil-for-food track record

News Telegraph | January 11, 2005
By Francis Harris and Robin Gedye


Stung by findings of costly mismanagement in Iraq, the United Nations assured the world yesterday that its billion-dollar tsunami assistance programme would be open to the most rigorous checks.

Kofi Annan in Sri Lanka last week: questions have been raised about his leadership

The UN is working with international financial experts, including the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, to devise a system under which countries and the public can use the internet to follow their contributions until they reach those in need.

Jan Egeland, the United Nations under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said he was determined to enable people and governments to launch investigations if there were any suspicions of mismanagement on the part of the UN.

He described the tsunami relief operation as "the biggest assistance operation of its kind ever" and hoped that relief groups would assist the UN in its tracking efforts.

More than 50 internal UN audits of the Iraq oil-for-food programme show that millions of dollars were squandered in suspect overpayment to contractors, mismanagement of purchasing and assets and fraud by its employees.

Corruption in the UN's Food for Oil Program

Cihan News Agency | January 11, 2005

An internal investigation concluded that there was corruption within the United Nation (UN)'s oil for food program manifesting itself in excessive payments for construction and serious administrative faults.

Though the report claims that many cases of corruption had been previously found, there was no examination of them.

American politicians, in particular, have demanded an investigation into the claims of corruption.

Begun in 1996 to supply Iraqi's affected by the, what was then, six year old embargo, the $64billion-program was started by a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve (FED) Paul Volcker.

Under the program, Iraq was allowed to sell a certain amount of foil in return for the purchase of the basic materials that its population needed.

The investigation concluded that $2,2 billion in payments were made to Gulf War violators.

Besides, it is also came to appearance that although those employees who are charged only to control constructing buildings in Iraq, $500,000 have been paid to them who did not work.

A London-based firm appointed to control Food program, took $1,38 million without doing any work.

The firms who monitored the quality and distribution of the food also took their cut.

Also it is reflected to the report that the authorities, responsible for the amount of Iraq's export oil, Danish firm Saybolt, took $471,000 without performing a task.

 

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