Friday, May 06, 2005

Oil For Food: More Bread for Bread

The OIP internal audit documents on file at the UN tell a tale of endless frustration on the part of the UN Treasury Department auditors. Since we in Canada are very interested in the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool angle to the UN OFF scandal, this part of one of the UN internal auditor's reports leapt off the page at me:

The way I read it, it was determined that $149m could be saved by buying local wheat instead of importing it (from the breadbaskets of the world like Cyprus), and that there was no reason not to do so. The Executive Director of the program ignored this suggestion. You also read in these documents that the Executive Director stopped holding his weekly meetings for several months at one point. There are also auditor's reports making strident recommendations to diversify both the investment and LC processes among more banks, for all the right reasons: avoid political interference, mitigate risk, and so on. Of course, more staff would be required in the Treasury department at the UN. Recommendations were ignored. These risks and recommendations were identified as early as 2001.

You can peruse the frustrated auditor's reports here.