Wednesday, November 30, 2005

No Reform for the United Nations

This from the Pakistani Daily Times:
US Ambassador John Bolton urged the United Nations and governments on Monday to crack down on corruption and mismanagement turned up by a probe of the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq.

The oil-for-food investigation, led by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, last month accused 2,200 companies in 66 countries of steering $1.8 billion in bribes and kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s government.

Volcker’s commission also recommended extensive UN management reforms to prevent future fraud and abuse.

... "The central insights of the Volcker commission about corruption and mismanagement are at risk of not receiving the kind of attention that they need," Bolton told reporters. "I know it's painful to talk about the criticisms that Volcker made, but if you don't talk about the criticisms and you don't talk about the problems, how can you expect you are going to find a solution?"

US prosecutors are pursuing several cases of alleged wrongdoing by US businesses and executives and "I just hope other (UN) member governments do the same," Bolton said.
Interestingly enough, it was Pakistan's rival nation India who earlier this month became the first UN member nation to reprimand an official over the findings in the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) report. Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh was demoted and relieved of his ministerial duties pending an investigation by the Indian government, which has shown skepticism over the veracity of the report.
Volcker's report has become a major embarrassment for [Prime Minister] Manmohan Singh, a 74-year-old former diplomat who has led India's campaign for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Ambassador Bolton has urged the UN to keep control of the documents collected by the IIC to insure accessibility of the records, fearing many may be destroyed if returned to their original sources. Said Bolton, "We don't want to see these documents going into paper shredders around the world."

It's refreshing to hear an honest voice speaking up in the United Nations for a change.

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