UNITED NATIONS. CLAIMING HELP FOR DARFUR! CYNICAL GUEHENNO'S $250 MILLION NO-BID CONTRACT NOTE.

 

CLAIMING HELP FOR DARFUR! CYNICAL GUEHENNO'S $250 MILLION NO-BID CONTRACT NOTE.

15 January 2008

The amount of money was not even mentioned in the note dated 4 December 2006. Instead, there are general bureaucratic references to a Light Support Package and Heavy Support Package plus "recent discussions" between the Secretary General (presumably, the one outgoing within three weeks), AU (African Union), and "Sudanese Government Officials." Obviously, these Packages were "very challenging." It involves "a major engineering effort that is not achievable within U.N. resources and also is not available locally." There was no "in-house solution." The reference to the proposed contractor was equally ambiguous, briefly mentioned in abbreviated form, PAE (for Pacific Architects and Engineers, a Lockheed subsidiary).

Even operative paragraphs like 4 and 5 are couched in vague terms. "The specific area requiring immediate action is the need for a sole source bidding procedure to be put in place..." The "current estimate" was that PAE may be required "to assist the U.N. for up to 12 months." Such availability "to assist" has, of course, a determined, yet unmentioned price. Such a "sole bid" contract will of course need another contract for supervision. That second contract will require "certified quality assurance and quality control staffing along with a full contract management accountancy package." (That disastrous amateur "peacekeeper" seems fond of "packages"!)

The story of a no-bid contract was ably raised by The Washington Post and pursued efficiently by the alert Matthew Russell Lee at Inner City Press (www.innercitypress.com).

The purpose of reproducing Guehenno's note is to highlight the cynical use under a bland linguistic cover of Darfur misery to accommodate a political expediency. More clearly, it is to show one reason why that rubber stamping functionnaire remained in charge for such a vital post for so long. Good riddance in June.

A full text of the note follows: