Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, February 09, 2005

BREAKING: New United Nations Scandal
Written by: Beck

Muhammad Hassan, a Sudanese employee at the UN's World Meteorological Organization, managed to embezzel $3 million over a three to four year period. An accountant discovered the irregularity in July of 2003, but the scandal is only now coming to light.

Just another day at the office. I fully expect that such incidents of mismangement, fraud, theft, and embezzlement are to be found throughout the United Nations--the institution is rotten to its foundations. This is to be expected in an organization run predominantly by dictatorships and staffed with unelected bureaucrats.

There are so many choice excerpts from this article that it's hard to know where to start. You should really read the whole thing. For those not as interested in United Nations stories (God knows there's no shortage) here are a few highlights:
Fred Eckhard, the spokesman for Secretary General Kofi Annan, said that while the specialized agency was in the "U.N. constellation," it operated independently of the Secretariat in New York. "They are responsible for cleaning up whatever might have gone wrong there," he said.

Representative Henry J. Hyde, the Illinois Republican who is chairman of the House panel, said United Nations officials "want it both ways." He said they took credit for the accomplishments of agencies like the meteorological organization but deny "responsibility for accusations of malfeasance."

[...] Mr. Ngwira, 49, the Malawian accountant who uncovered the first unusual check, initially hesitated to report his suspicions.

"Hassan was very close to the man who was then our secretary general," he said, referring to Godwin Olu Patrick Obasi of Nigeria. Mr. Obasi had run the meteorological agency for more than 20 years, and Mr. Hassan had boasted of being close to him. "They were always together, so we knew that if you annoyed Muhammad Hassan, you were annoying the big man," Mr. Ngwira said.

[...] "He said, 'Look, if you do something like this for the secretary general, he will never forget you,'" Mr. Ngwira said Mr. Hassan had told him. "'People here get promoted not because of their work, but because they're nice to the powerful people here. This is an opportunity for you. If you don't take it, don't be surprised if you don't get promoted.'"

[...] Although investigators have not found Mr. Hassan [who disappeared without a trace], they have learned more about him. Swiss investigators discovered that he had "numerous businesses in Switzerland," including two restaurants in Geneva and an export-import company, according to a State Department cable. He had also used his position at the agency to obtain at least three "laissez-passers," or service passports, allowing free passage between countries. Before he left Switzerland in the fall of 2003, he emptied his bank accounts.

According to State Department cables, investigators are examining whether some officials in meteorological offices around the world, who received training fund checks, may have colluded with Mr. Hassan. In addition, one cable said that as many as 10 to 15 officials at the agency could be found to be negligent in the case.

[...] The organization, the cable reports Mr. Jarraud as saying, "suffered from decades of stagnation and mismanagement which required overhauling W.M.O.'s corporate culture." The agency's internal auditor "had no staff support and is clearly overtaxed."

Mr. Muller, who has helped supervise the internal inquiry, said Mr. Jarraud had enacted more than 40 changes in the agency's operations, including stricter financial controls and an increased auditing staff.

As the cloud over the agency begins to lift, the agency's senior legal adviser has assessed the damage. According to one State Department cable, the legal adviser, Iwona Rummel-Bulska, recently told American diplomats in Geneva that "while bad," the weather agency's internal procedures were "not the worst seen in the U.N. family of organizations."
Inasmuch as the United States pays roughly 22% of the UN budget, $660,000+ of your tax dollars went towards enriching a Sudanese con artist. Your tax dollars at work.

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John Beck

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