|Who Ordered $7.5 million of
Generators? Where are they now?
United Nations peace forces in former
Yugoslavia, purchased 650 generators at a total cost of $7.2
million that were never used or were later sent to other missions
with similar results.
Thirty-nine generators shipped to Haiti
were incompatible with the electrical equipment in the UN
operation there and had to be transported back to base at an
avoidable cost of $328,000 while there were other costly foul-ups
in Somalia and Rwanda.
A contractor to the UN operation in the
Golan Heights, provided poor quality goods and used UN trucks to
smuggle controlled merchandise into Syria and a senior UN staffer
at the UNDOF PX, used its facilities for personal purchases that
broke diplomatic protocols and customs regulations.
Some 15 guards were engaged for the
International War Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia more than
six months before the first detainee arrived and even before
detention cells were ready.
At Habitat, a staffer was overpaid about
$2,500 a month for several years. In another case a staffer
received a $33,000 rent subsidy for a New York apartment for three
years after the recipient had moved to another continent. And at
the UN office in Nairobi, swimming pools and saunas were included
in some cases in rent subsidies.
These were some of the shortcomings
identified by the Office of Internal Oversight Services in its
report prepared at the time by Under Secretary General Karl
Theodor Paschke in 1996.
Referring to UN peace forces “the most
extensive and complex peacekeeping operation in the history of the
United Nations”, the report said that better management could have
produced significant savings and that a lack of guidance led to
the transfer of inventories worth over $35 million from the forces
in Bosnia to NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR) without proper
accounting. Also there was a lack of internal control over nearly
$60 million in reimbursements to troop providers for spare parts
Those 650 unneeded generators were
purchased, according to the report, because planners did not
anticipate that troop contingents would bring in their own
In Haiti, avoidable delays in establishing
purchasing and service contracts resulted in higher costs
amounting to $12.4 million. There were also delays in providing
communications because a contractor failed to deliver on time and
provided low grade circuits. In the Angola operation,
deficiencies included improper maintenance of records, “excessive
numbers” of vehicles and lack of control over their use.
Subsistence allowance overpayments in
peacekeeping missions in Tajikistan, Georgia, Iraq, Kuwait and
Guatemala amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, much of
which was lost for want of timely recovery action. “An audit of
the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) for
example, determined that many military and civilian staff had been
paid mission subsistence allowance in excess of the authorized
rate” the report said, adding that UNMOT disagreed and delayed
recovery action as a result of which the UN may have lost over
$300,000. The UN had better luck in Kuwait were overpayments were
made for annual leave, compensatory time off, weekends and
holidays for an estimated total of $844,000 that was recovered.
“Due care was not always taken when
shipping equipment to peacekeeping operations” the report said.
“Several audits identified cases were the equipment shipped was
either unusable or in such poor condition that it needed extensive
The main question is which officers
authorised these wasteful expenses and WHERE ARE THEY NOW?