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As 3 More Afghan Audits Leak, UNAMA Deputy Says UN Should Disclose Risk

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- Exposing a series of audits of the Law & Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan over the past 11 weeks, Inner City Press has received a few responses from the UN Development Program but no direct comment on the exclusively published leaked audits.

  On Friday, Inner City Press asked the UN's Afghanistan deputy Michael Keating about them. Video here, from Minute 11:07.

   Keating said "we need to be more explicit in acknowledging... the risks that are inevitably there with a program of this size and complexity and not try to hide those risks."

   But as donors threaten to stop funding LOTFA, a question is whether disclosing the risks would be enough, or whether some of the corruption like double payments and "missing assets" would have to curtailed.

   Today Inner City Press exclusively publishes three more audits. In "Observation 19," the auditors drily note:

"During the course of our physical verification of assets, we noted that some of the assets, which were appearing in Statement of Assets, were not physically present."

  This diplomatic "not physically present" phrase, if accepted, would have a good future on all manner of criminal defense.

In Observation 18, the auditors state that "during the course of our audit we noted certain instances where purchase orders were not raised in respect of procurement of goods," including over $300,000 for the purchase of Toyota vehicles.

   Observation 17 "note[s] instances where evidences of required approvals by Special Procurement Commission were not available with the contracts" and "recommends that the provisions of the Afghanistan Procurement Law should be complied" with. Ya don't say.

  Beyond this UN system corruption, there is a more serious debate about the proposed spending on constructing a new electoral roll -- would it be done fairly for all groups and how much would it cost.

  But with this clear example of UN corruption not yet addressed, and with UNDP declining to directly address the audits, the questioning of the UN's role(s) in Afghanistan inevitably takes place in the aura of these, shall we say, irregularities.

  Inner City Press had been informed by sources in Afghanistan that Keating, after working for the Africa Progress Panel with Robert Rubin, among others, on its board, got the post with the support of Tony Blair (Blair also works for JP Morgan Chase and ostensibly for the UN on Palestine) --  and that he is now leaving the Afghanistan Deputy post. So Inner City Press asked. Video here, from minute 17:22.

  Keating confirmed that he is leaving, saying it is after two years in the post, calling leaving "absolutely normal." Watch this site.

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