Tags: united | nations | funds

Report: UN Squandering U.S. Funds on Bad Projects

Tuesday, 14 Apr 2009 03:36 PM

By Dan Weil

Many experts have long expressed skepticism about the value of the United Nations.

And here’s news that will certainly strengthen their doubts: two U.N. agencies spent millions of dollars provided by the U.S. on bungled building projects in Afghanistan.

The snafus include a central bank structure with no electricity and a bridge in danger of "life threatening" collapse, according to an investigation by U.S. federal agents cited in USA Today.

The U.S. Agency for International Development forked over $25 million to finance a "quick impact" U.N. infrastructure program from 2003 to 2006.

The idea was to spark rebuilding in Afghanistan with some fast results. But an AID report obtained by USA Today shows that was pretty far from the outcome.

The U.N. produced sub-par work, gave some of the U.S. money to other countries and then tried to hamper U.S. investigations as to what transpired.

Federal prosecutors in New York wanted to go after the U.N. officials responsible for the problems, but had to forego criminal and civil cases, because the officials have diplomatic immunity.

"Due to the refusal of the United Nations to cooperate with this investigation, questions remain unanswered," the report says.

AID has curbed its involvement with the U.N. and engaged a collection agency to try recouping $7.6 million of its blown money.

This certainly isn’t the first black mark for the institution. In December 2007, for example, a U.N. task force found massive corruption and mismanagement in millions of dollars of contracts for multiple goods and services used by U.N. peacekeeping operations.

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