Sunday, March 21, 2004

Meanwhile back at the UN, the "Oil-for-Food" scandal just keeps getting better

Claudia Rosett has all the details in Turtle Bay’s Carnival of Corruption. Just a brief snippet:
It now appears that neither the Iraqi Governing Council nor the CPA has thus far received a single bank statement from either BNP or the U.N. treasurer's office. A frustrated CPA official, connected with the wrapping-up of some $8.2 billion worth of relief contracts inherited from the U.N., tells me there has been no answer to his repeated requests to see current statements: "They never say no, but they never do it either." Neither has the Iraqi central bank received any statements, he adds. For the Iraqis and CPA officials now administering the remaining contracts in Iraq, this source explains, there is no way to tell "what activity has taken place" in the BNP accounts, or "how much money's left."

U.N. Treasurer Suzanne Bishopric, reached by phone in New York last Friday, confirms that she has sent no bank statements either to the CPA or to the Iraqi Governing Council. As she explains it, "They never asked me." Bishopric says that in any case, after the U.N.'s withdrawal from Iraq following the bombing of the U.N.'s Baghdad offices last August, she has not been able to deliver current bank statements because "we have no mechanism to send them."

Asked if it would not be possible to transmit the statements by fax, email, or express-delivery service, Bishopric says, "I'm not going there."
Does every UN job description start with "Must be several fries short of a Happy Meal"?