MAY 23, 2007
A key witness in the federal corruption trial of a United Nations chief testified that he openly bribed U.N. officials with cash, property wild parties and hookers.
Among the recipients of the crooked businessman’s bribes was the world body’s chief of Commodity Procurement Section, an Indian diplomat responsible for awarding billions of dollars in contracts to companies around the world.
The procurement chief, Sanjaya Bahel, was indicted in New York last November for accepting lavish bribes – including valuable Manhattan real estate–in exchange for steering about $100 million in U.N. contracts to a friend, who offered the juicy testimony this week.
Bahel’s trial in a Manhattan federal courtroom has revealed the ugly underbelly of the United Nations, according to one newspaper. In his testimony, the businessman said that he often treated U.N. procurement officers to strip clubs and once picked up a $6,000 tab for two officials to spend the night with prostitutes. In exchange, they helped him land lucrative U.N. contracts.
Fraud and corruption is nothing new at the U.N.’s multi-billion-dollar procurement division. The world body’s own watchdog, the Office of Internal Oversight Services, has documented some of the illegal activity in reports that reveal how nearly one-third of procurement contracts involve waste, corruption or other irregularities.
Americans should be concerned because the United States annually gives the U.N. $5.3 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars. The funding continues even though the organization, founded six decades ago to maintain international peace and security, has failed miserably and is best known for its severe mismanagement and corruption.
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