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Afghan Scandal Wider Than UNDP Admits, Grynspan on Lear Jet, Hid Armored Cars

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 -- As the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan scandal has developed, the UN Development Program has downplayed for how long it knew of the "irregularities."

  Now internal audit documents obtained and exclusively published today by Inner City Press show the wider nature and longer term guilty knowledge of the problems.

  LOTFA purports to be about training and "building capacity" of Afghan police. But it is essentially a money transfer and payroll service, with a sideline as a travel agency.

  While for example UNDP claimed to donors it was training Afghan police at a program in Turkey, Inner City Press is informed that no UNDP staff with policing experience ever checked the Turkish program.

  Sample "Observation # 8" which is the first of the LOTFA documents Inner City Press is exclusively putting online says auditors "were not provided copies of bank transfer letters" for "MoI Chartered Flight Kabul - Turkey," costing $459,100.

Inner City Press has sought comment from UNDP:

This is a press question on deadline about the attached LOTFA audit, one of several Inner City Press has obtained. In the second to last Description on the first page, MoI Chartered Flight Kabul Turkey, please confirm or deny that UNDP did not send anyone with policing experience to go check out the training in Turkey and please respond to the view that in this case UNDP operated like a glorified travel agency.

Please describe criticisms brought to the attention of UNDP by donors about LOTFA, even prior to the public exposure of the scandal.

Please describe expenses for Ms. Grynspan's trip to Afghanistan, including leasing (from UNAMA) of plane for flight from Dubai, and the redeployment / hiding of armored vehicles during her visit.

  There has, as yet, been no response from UNDP's media office. The previous spokesperson who answered Inner City Press' question is still listed on the UNDP web site, even while functioning as a spokesperson from the UN envoy mission in Syria.

  The third of the questions above refers to a high profile (for UNDP) visit in 2011. Inner City Press is informed that prior to Deputy Administration Grynspan's arrival, UNDP's armored vehicles, which cost between $200,000 and $300,000, were driven into storage in the driveways of guest houses so Grynspan wouldn't see them as waste.

  But UNDP leased the UNAMA Mission's Lear Jet to fly in Grynspan from Dubai, at a cost insiders tell Inner City Press approached $40,000.

  Recently in the UN budget committee the US has raised the issue of interns flying business class. But what about UNDP deploying a Lear Jet, when even the Special Representative of the Secretary General, while living in "Palace Seven," flies commercial for $400 to $500?

  The person most responsible for the LOTFA scandal, Inner City Press is told, is the past (and present?) Indian diplomat in charge of Pillar I, and overall project manager: Sandeep Kumar.

  Inner City Press has learned that he still flies on an Indian diplomatic passport, which would be a violation of UN Charter Article 100. We will have more on this.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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