Wednesday, March 30, 2005

IG for U.N. cites how oil probe blocked

Another day and another deepening scandal at the UN. This time the outgoing UN Inspector General, Dileep Nair, claims that the second-ranking official at the United Nations of impeded his efforts to take his concerns about the Iraqi oil-for-food program to the Security Council. The Washington Times story by Betsy Pisik looks into this accusation.

"Mr. Nair, who is responsible for rooting out corruption and mismanagement through the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), said Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette had prevented him from sharing reviews of the oil-for-food program with the 15-nation council.

"I was blocked by the deputy secretary-general from putting my reports into the Security Council," said Mr. Nair, who himself is being criticized by investigators for his handling of the oil-for-food account.

"I wanted to put my reports to the Security Council so it will get visibility and accountability," Mr. Nair said. "But Benon [Sevan] turned it down. And Louise Frechette said no, I shouldn't do it." Mr. Sevan is the former administrator of the oil-for-food program."
Remember that Benon Sevan has had his legal expenses paid by the UN. Which makes one wonder if there was some quid-pro-quo here. Louise Frechette cannot remember ever talking to Nair. It could be some thing in the water at the UN that causes amnesia.
" Mr. Nair, of Singapore, was harshly criticized by the Volcker committee on Tuesday for hiring a special assistant using funds earmarked for management of the oil-for-food program.

The assistant, also from Singapore, estimates he spent less than 10 percent of his time on program-specific tasks.

Mr. Nair also has been under investigation for improper hiring and sexual harassment.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters yesterday that the charges substantiated by the Volcker panel "supersede" the previous complaints, and vowed that still-unspecified disciplinary proceedings are "inevitable."
The accusations against Mr. Nair have been an embarrassment to Mr. Annan, who has spoken repeatedly of creating new accountability and transparency in the organization."
This could just be a false accusation by Nair to cover himself from the investigation of his involvement in the oil-for-food scandal and the sexual impropriorties. Either way, this does not bode well for the UN. - Sailor

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