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Corruption Chronicles

Discipline United Nations Style

Not long ago we reported the scandalous findings of the independent investigation into the corrupt United Nations oil-for-food program. It was so badly managed that more than half of the 4,500 companies doing business with Iraq paid Saddam Hussein illegal surcharges and kickbacks and the U.N. did nothing to stop the dictator’s exploitation of the $64-billion program.

It gets better. Only one U.N. official, Joseph Stephanides, was disciplined or fired for his involvement in the fiasco. But the best part of the fiasco is that he was recently reinstated (AP story) because the U.N.’s Joint Disciplinary Committee concluded that the punishment was too harsh.

The committee, an internal U.N. appeals board, said the U.N. needs to issue a written apology and pay Stephanides about $200,000 for emotional suffering and damage to his reputation.

At least the committee acknowledged that Stephanides violated staff rules by showing preferences to one bidder for an oil-for-food contract. His reinstatement means that no U.N. employee has been punished by the organization over the scandal, though several companies and individuals are being investigated by federal authorities.


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