American Opinion - On U.N. corruption:
From The Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers around the United States:
On U.N. corruption:
Around this time last year, U.N. leaders decided that the best way to cut rampant corruption in its ranks was to aggressively ... stop looking for it.
They yanked funding for a special anti-corruption task force that the U.N. created in 2006 after the infamous oil-for-food scandal. They promised that they were just consolidating the task force into an existing U.N. division, not killing its investigations.
Move along, folks! Nothing to see here!
But we suspected the U.N. task force had been too successful, that it had mightily embarrassed U.N. leaders and member countries.
Remember, the task force had exposed about $630 million in allegedly tainted contracts. Its work led to criminal convictions of a U.N. employee and a contractor, and disciplinary actions against 17 other U.N. employees. It triggered the suspension or banishment of more than 45 private companies from the contracting process. There were scores more investigations in the pipeline.
So what has happened since then? Exactly what we feared. The Associated Press reported recently that the U.N. has "cut back sharply" on corruption and fraud investigations, including five major cases in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa. It dismissed most former task force investigators and the highly regarded leader of the unit.
And then there was this astonishing paragraph: "Over the past year, not a single significant fraud or corruption case has been completed, compared with an average 150 cases a year investigated by the task force. The permanent investigation division decided not to even pursue about 95 cases left over when the task force ceased operation, while another 80 unfinished cases have languished."
Not a single significant case.
U.N. officials insist -- insist! -- that their commitment to root out corruption is undiminished. "The investigations division, I am convinced, is doing a very good job, and is continuing the good work," U.N. management chief Angela Kane told the AP.
Not a single significant case, Ms. Kane.
-- Chicago Tribune