NOVEMBER 02, 2006
A high-ranking Indian official at the scandal-plagued United Nations has been indicted for accepting bribes to steer millions of dollars in U.N. contracts to a fellow Indian businessman.
As chief of the U.N.’s Commodity Procurement Section, Sanjaya Bahel was responsible for awarding contracts worth millions of dollars to companies around the world. Bahel was a former Indian government official with wealthy associates and he used his position at the U.N. to give an Indian telecommunications company, headed by his friend, millions of dollars in contracts.
In return Bahen received valuable real estate in Manhattan, including a luxurious Midtown condominium that he and his family used rent-free for years and was later given to him as a bribe.
The U.N.’s multi-billion-dollar procurement division has been plagued by fraud and corruption for years. In fact, the world body’s watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services, detailed some of the illegal activity in a confidential 34-page report last year.
Portions of the report were leaked and revealed that nearly one-third of the $1 billion in major U.N. procurement contracts examined involved waste, corruption or other irregularities. In all, nearly $300 million in contracts included some type of wrongdoing.
Unfortunately, the organization founded six decades ago to maintain international peace and security and to protect human rights and freedoms, has failed miserably and is best known for its severe mismanagement and corruption not to mention lack of transparency and accountability.
The Rosett Report lists other recent U.N. scandals, including the infamous oil-for-food fiasco, and points out that for the $5.3 billion the United States annually gives the U.N., Americans deserve much clearer insights and answers than so-called U.N. “transparency” allows.
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