Saturday, February 12, 2005

Benon Sevan Blocked UN Audits: Volcker

Captain Ed has a good piece on the U.N Oil for Food Scandal:

In an interview with the Associated Press, UNSCAM investigator Paul Volcker took aim squarely at OFF program chief Benon Sevan, claiming that Sevan used his office to severely restrict auditors who could have caught the corruption in the $64 billion program:
The U.N. oil-for-food program chief under scrutiny for alleged corruption and mismanagement blocked a proposed audit of his office around the same time he's accused of soliciting lucrative oil deals from Iraq, according to investigators.

A U.N. auditing team, which was severely understaffed, said running the $64 billion oil-for-food program was "a high risk activity" and a priority for review. But Benon Sevan denied the internal auditors' request to hire a consultant to examine his office in May 2001 — an act top investigators of the program are now calling into question.

"I think the auditors thought they were steered away from some areas," Paul Volcker, who's leading the independent probe, told The Associated Press. "Our judgment is that the main office should have been audited. And that leaves the inference that perhaps the auditors were not encouraged to do the work. I think we draw the inference that it was at least suspicious."

What appears most suspicious is the level of oversight given to the OFF free-for-all. The UN's internal regulations require that programs have one full-time auditor for every $100 million of funding, a level which would have required 640 auditors at the current estimates of cash flow through Sevan's office. In 2001 alone, Sevan's main office in New York should have had 160 auditors. Only five auditors worked at Sevan's HQ that year.

Read the rest at Captains Quarters.

Will the American people finally ask the U.N. to leave or withdraw participation?

Or our we used to these foreigners ripping us off and expect such behavior?

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