Sunday, April 20, 2008

The UN Continues Corrupting Itself - A Chavez Connection

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook, and at Reject the UN

The United Nations simply cannot be shamed. The anti-poverty agency within the U.N., the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), is using it's procurement power to favor Hugo Chavez.

This is a dizzying web of isn't easily explained, and the UN is hiding it's paper trail as I write. All the details are not known but here's my summary:

The UNDP is charged with fighting poverty - their mission is anti-poverty development. The UNDP needs to procure goods and services to fulfill its mission. The agency has rules governing how those procurements are made. The rules require that bids be "let" and that the bidding environment be "competitive."

Fox News (April 18th, 2008) discovered that much of the bidding was anything but "competitive," in fact, competitive bidding was waived "on more than half of the $1.5 BILLION in goods and services it paid for over the past three years."
The same UNDP documents also show that by far the largest and most frequent requests for UNDP procurement cash — and their subsequent approvals — come from countries with questionable track records for government honesty and transparency. Among the big winners are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Honduras and Iraq.
William Easterly, a former World Bank economist, is quoted as saying:
The totals are “shocking,” and “scandalous,....There could be some extraordinary circumstances involved, but even those cannot possibly explain why the bulk of UNDP operations are waivers of competition.”
According to Fox News, the waivers for competitive bidding broke down this way:
The value of the waivers ranged from $259 million, or 50 percent of total purchases in 2005,...

to a high of $409 million, or two-thirds of the total for 2006,...

before settling back to $210 million, or 54 percent of the total last year.
Well, so far, this is not good...but then, it is the United Nations, and of course, it gets worse.
UNDP’s procurement procedures became an issue on April 1, when FOX News questioned the agency’s 2007 authorization of 19 airport walk-through body scanners worth $2.3 million, on behalf of the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez.
While it appears that corruption in bidding occurred, it is not clear who or what actually paid for the scanners for Venezuela, but it seems, at the least, UNDP acted as a mediator between a Venezuelan manufacturer and Chavez.

Fox News' George Russell points out the obvious questions, at least obvious to those of us with reasonable common, and moral, sensibilities:
Behind the foggy complexities of UNDP’s role in the airline scanner puzzle lies a deeper question: what role is an agency devoted to alleviating international poverty playing as a general contractor for the authoritarian rulers of an oil-rich nation, who are also avowed supporters of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere?

And another question: whether the close, often secretive, and apparently quite profitable relationship that UNDP has forged in Venezuela really serves the high-minded goals of the United Nations as a whole.
Fox News on the benevolent UNDP's affinity for Venezuela:
Oil-rich Venezuela, with an estimated GDP per capita of $12,800 in 2007, shares one characteristic with many of the biggest beneficiaries of UNDP funding: its low ranking on the Transparency International corruption perceptions index. In 2007, along with four other countries, it ranked 162nd — in the place immediately above the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Two Fox reports that I've linked to include PDF's of UNDP documents, including "confidential UNDP minutes," and a list of Venezuela's waivers for 2007.

To add some more fuel for those warm fuzzies we're feeling toward the U.N. right now, this also from Fox:
(The U.S., which is on the executive board, pays roughly 22% of UNDP’s $5 billion annual budget.)
Homeland Security speaks:
Sums up Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a member of the U.S. Senate’s homeland security and government affairs committee: “We simply cannot afford to give President Chavez or the UNDP any benefit of doubt.”
Article End - Posted by Maggie

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  1. It would seem that wannabe POTUS Obama would tie the US into this corruption with his bill on Global Poverty.

    Senator Obama wants to tie the U.S. into spending millions, if not billions, on Global Poverty. His Senate Bill S-2433, along with the already passed House version, never mentions the money involved, and for good reason. They don’t want anyone to know how much the money would be. The attempt at hiding the money in this Bill is ingenious to say the least. However, it is outright prevaricate, for it certainly took some maneuvering and underhanded thinking on the part of Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) in his HR 1302 and by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) in his S2433 to come up with the idea.

    The claim that there is no money provided for in this Bill is partially true in that it never directly mentions the money needed to fund this act. However, if one reads the U.N. Millennium Development Goals as set forth by Jeffery Sachs, it is easy to find out where the money is hidden.

    The Democrat leadership in the Senate has attempted to “fast track” this Bill as was done in the House, but it seems that a few GOP Senators were smart enough to have done their homework after the House fiasco. Of course, we find all kinds of “conservative“ Senators singing the praises of this Bill, but we have to remember that this is election year, and who would want to be accused of not caring for a “poor starving child.” Well, it is not true. A vote against this Bill would not be a vote against “poor starving children.” It would be a vote in retaining the sovereignty of the United States and not giving it to the UN in small bits and pieces as we have done over the past 50-plus years. However, the Leftists in this country will scream that we can spend billions on a war in Iraq but not a few paltry billion on “starving children.” Again, that is a deception and a good one, for certainly the conservatives who had not done their homework in the House were caught in this web of deceit woven by the House Democrats in order to look good during election time.
    With any luck this bill will die and so will Obama's chances of becoming POTUS. Hopefully his days in the Senate will be numbered as well or else we can look for more nonsense coming from Obama to give away tax monies and to support other tyrants and terrorist world wide .

  2. Ya know what amazes me?? The fact that this wonderful post hasn't garnered any more attention than it has...

    Are our readers THAT apathetic??

  3. Thank you Maggie for an excellent post. No we cannot give the U.N. a free pass any longer!