Peacekeepers Are Mourned, Ending Impunity and Exposing Corruption Are Key
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, May
29 -- With 107 UN peacekeepers killed in 2006, Under Secretary General
Jean-Marie Guehenno said Thursday his focus is on individuals, on "the lives of
the peacekeepers we have lost."
briefing, Inner City Press asked Mr. Guehenno about one of the 107: Gyan Bahadur
Akhikari of Nepal, killed by
FNI militia in Eastern Congo on May 28, 2006.
went on to kidnap seven more peacekeepers and hold them hostage for more than
month. Immediately after releasing them, Karim was named a colonel in the
Congolese Army. Now it emerges that since 2005, well before the UN's deal with
Peter Karim, the UN was aware of and ostensibly investigating claims that
Pakistan peacekeepers traded gold and guns with the FNI. Inner City Press asked
Mr. Guehenno to address the appearance of impunity, and also why the "guns and
gold" investigation has taken so long, in light of reports that the
investigations was buried to placate Pakistan, a major troop contributing
from Minute 31:04.
is not a good foundation for peace," Mr. Guehenno responded. He said "there
might be a time for flexibility... that is for the Congolese authority to
judge." But when a killer and kidnapper of UN peacekeepers is openly given a new
uniform and position, is it any wonder if the lack of rule of law trickles down?
And now the UN through UNICEF is
counting the child soldiers Karim
recruited, without taking any
action against him.
Guehenno declined to comment on the specifics of the gold and guns investigation
of the UN's mission in Congo, MONUC. Previously, he and others are DPKO were
tight-lipped about the
torching of the Congolese village of
Kazana, until DPKO -- and not
the Office of Internal Oversight Services, OIOS -- churned out a typo-strewn
Tuesday, on guns and gold, Mr. Guehenno offered a generic defense, that often
the accusers "have their fingers in the pot, and more than their fingers." He
said that "the job of our colleagues in OIOS [the ] is not an easy one." That an
understatement in this case, if the reports that OIOS' investigators were held
captive by Pakistani peacekeepers is true, click
Mr. Guehenno and Mr. Ban: looking at and into
the narrative below?
apparently it takes the UN's OIOS well over a year to conduct an investigation
(which might never have been publicized if not for the BBC's reporting), and in
the wake of numerous questions and requests from comment from DPKO having gone
entirely ignored, from the mailbag, this narrative:
Subject: Corruption in UN DPKO.
From: [Name withheld]
To: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com
Sent: Fri, 18 May 2007 1:06 PM
I am a former UN DPKO Staff Member. I
worked, first in Kosovo (UNMIK) and then in Congo (MONUC). Because of my
position, I was very well involved with IT equipment requisitions, biddings
analysis, procurement, deliveries, etc. and mainly to the ones dealing with the
Indian companies (Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd - TCIL, Thunderbird
Industries LLC, etc.). Most of these "activities" very well connected to
"irregular" provisions of contractual staff, as well as to US$ millions in
"missing" equipment (computers, radio-communication, tele-communication, etc.)
in both UN Missions.
In 2000, after a duty mission to UN
DPKO Logistics Base in Brindisi, I realized many "wrong-doing" activities.
Investigating them further, I found many, many of them. I wrote related reports,
and I tried -- for all ways -- to call the attention of my supervisors, about
the so many, so many bizarre cases, in two of the UN DPKO Sections: "EDP" and
"Communications" (today, both are merged in one: "CIT," Communications and
Information Technology Section), without success.
In the Congo Mission, only for one-year
budget, I discover that US $8 million in IT equipment was considered "missing,"
in related budget listings.(Here, I should say that most of the "in house
developed" computerized applications, done by DPKO CIT, were completely useless,
maybe related to some "interests." The "funny" issue was that all this equipment
appeared in different UN DPKO budget documents as... already "delivered" (?!?)
Following many complains and discussions, I succeeded to "recover" US $3
million, but for the other US $5 million, the common answer always was: "nobody
knows where they are."
It was investigating about this
"missing" equipment, that I discovered many "funny," related and completely
uncontrolled systems. Systems that fully profited different "holes" in the UN
Control Procedures, like the one called "inter-mission equipment movement." A
very important part of the most expensive CIT equipment was declared "missing,"
following these transfers. Another funny related method consisted in keeping,
new and very expensive equipment, in the CIT Warehouses. Following some funny
rules, all equipment, after two years in the warehouse, "must" be declared
"obsolete." Afterwards, most of this equipment also disappeared and again,
nobody knows where they are. When you realize that, only a satellite dish (of a
total of near 100, bought only using the MONUC budget) costs US $150,000 dollars
! The market streets in Kinshasa, and other main Congolese cities, were full of
all this equipment ! complete and/or in pieces ...
Galaxy, the current UNHQ automated
recruitment system, was developed using the funds of the Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
[Editor's note: Inner City Press has
recounted this tale
before, most recently regarding this role in the still-withheld "List of Staff
of the UN Secretariat," click
Galileo, the current UNHQ automated
recovery system, was developed using the funds of the Mission in Congo (MONUC).
If somebody quickly analyses the real
costs of these "in-house" developed systems (there are so many, so many others,
similar ones) staff, premises, hardware, software, logistics, administrative,
will found out that they cost in reality: 50 to 100 times, the price of any
similar system, currently in the market. Now if somebody takes the time, and
analyses them deeply, the found-outs will shake the foundations of UN and DPKO.
I will never forget the IT needs and
requirements of PAE Daher, the aviation company, to operate the airports in
Congo. They were requesting equipment, sufficient to operate all airports in
Africa ! I would like to help to avoid more corruption in UN DPKO. I would
like also help in the current re-organization process; mainly in what I know
very well: Information and Communication Technologies. Thanks indeed of your
that... is another side of the spirit of the UN peacekeeping, offered here
in the spirit of listening to voices throughout the UN system. We also note that
DPKO not long ago made its own accusations,
insisting on anonymity, accusations that although
disproved by the public record
have never been retracted or even updated. To be continued.
Update, 6:15 p.m.
May 29 -- At the opening of a UN Peacekeeping photo exhibit in the lobby,
Jean-Marie Guehenno said that DPKO must live up to the highest standards, for
the literally millions of people who count on the UN. The photographs include
one of the German frigate Schleswig-Holstein, part of UNIFIL off the coast of
Lebanon. DPKO has resisted disclosing how much Germany is being paid. But there
are also profiles of, among others, Dr. Rinku Thapa of Nepal, serving in Ituri,
and Captain Paul Ung, a Cambodian in Liberia. That, is what it (and the Day) are
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