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UN Wastes $3 Million on 30,000 Oracle Licenses Left Unused, Sources Say, As Budget Committee Meets, No Ban Comment

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 22 -- The UN purchased 30,000 licenses from Oracle to a computer program called Seibel, a so-called Customer Relations Management (CRM) system. The contract is for $7.5 million, of which over $3 million have already been paid to Oracle. But the licenses have never been used, according to UN computer system personnel.

  These whistleblowers, outraged at the waste and of accountability they say is pervasive, have directed Inner City Press to the documentary evidence of the phantom contract. Click here to view the listing of Oracle's $7,581,607 contract PD/C0025/07;  click here to view the UN's intranet's presentation that "implementation is expected to begin in June 2006," which has yet to occur despite the outlay of $3,073,214.

   In the UN's online Procurement database, the information about the Seibel purchase from Oracle is substantially less detailed than from other purchases. For other purchases, the specifications of the procurement are online, often dozens of pages. For this purchase from Oracle, there are no online specifications. Click here.

    Internal whistleblowers tell Inner City Press that worse than the mis-management that led to the purchase of 30,000 licenses well before they would or even could be used is the cover-up that has occurred afterwards. They also identify as problematic the UN's contracting with EMC Corporation to purchase licenses for a program called Documentum, ostensibly to replace the UN's Official Document System for the UN's "Enterprise Content Management" system, ECM.

The flawed contracting began under the tenure of Eduardo Blinder, who has since migrated to the even less overseen International Computing Center, to which the UN Secretariat outsources much of its work and procurement.  More recently, the person responsible for the waste is the Officer in Charge who replaced Blinder, Chandramouli Ramanathan.

  In the UN's basement, Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat's CRM and ECM are being considered for the UN's Fifth (Budgetary) Committee. But the Committee members have never been informed of the waste that has occurred.  Nor has the Office of Internal Oversight Services, embroiled in its own scandal, done anything.

UN's Ban Ki-moon and computer monitors, this oversight not given to Oracle CRM contract

  In a draft of the pending resolution provided to Inner City Press by a budget committee source, the Secretary-General is criticized for proceeding with CRM and ECM before making any proposal to the General Assembly. 

  Inner City Press has asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas about this critique from the General Assembly. Video here. Ms. Montas said she would have no comment at all until after the Assembly vote on the resolution which she said might not take place until Christmas Eve.  Watch this site.

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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