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Exposing UN Congo Corruption 'On-the-Record' Print E-mail
by Tom McGregor    Sun, Oct 2, 2011, 06:54 PM

A United Nations' official terminated from his job for trying to wipe out corruption from the UN mission in Congo sent an 'on-the-record' email to the Dallas Blog. He provides some interesting tidbits of information about Kosovo as well. Here's a copy-and-paste of his email in its entirety:

However, it should be clarified the letter is addressed to a person named "Matthew," who apparently is working for the U.S. Attorney's Office Southern District of New York. However, it could not be determined what position "Matthew" holds since his last name is not mentioned, so a "Google" search could not be conducted on the mysterious "Matthew."

Dear Tom,

   Congratulations for your article "UN Whistle-blowers Get Salaries for Silence".
   During my time in UN, I was not a simple whistle-blower, I spoke about corruption, very openly.
   I officially request (many times) for enquires, investigations, etc..  but nothing happened ...
   I tried everything, to have things clarified, but ...
   Maybe the history below is interesting to you.
   Best Regards,

Oscar.

   I am a former UN DPKO Staff Member. I worked, first in Kosovo (UNMIK) from 2000 to 2001, and then in Congo (MONUC) from 2001 to 2002.  I was the Chief, EDP Section (today, Information Technologies).  Because of my position, I was very well involved with IT equipment requisitions, biddings analysis, procurement, deliveries, … etc.. and mainly to the ones dealing with the Indian companies (Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd - TCIL, Thunderbird Industries LLC, …  etc..). Most of these “activities” very well connected to "irregular" provisions of contractual staff, as well as to US$ millions in “missing” equipment (computers, radio-communication, tele-communication, … etc..) in both UN Missions.

   In 2000, after a duty mission to UN DPKO Logistics Base in Brindisi , I realized many “wrong-doing” activities.  Investigating them further, I found many, many of them. I wrote related reports, and I tried – for all ways – to call the attention of my supervisors, about the so many, so many bizarre cases, in two of the UN DPKO Sections: “EDP” and “Communications” (today, both are merged in one: “CIT”, Communications and Information Technology Section), without success.  

   Thanks to personal contacts, I succeeded to meet Mr. Dileep NAIR in Prishtina, Kosovo and Ms. Esther STERN in Kinshasa , Congo .  I fully brief them, about many different cases, providing substantial and extensive documentation, but … nothing happened … Oh, sorry !  Yes, something happened: I lost my job ! …

   In the Congo Mission, only for one-year budget (2001-2002), I discover that US$ 8 Million in IT equipment was considered “missing”, in related budget listings (Here, I should say that most of the “in house developed” computerized applications, done by DPKO CIT, were completely useless, … maybe related to some “interests”.  The “funny” issue was that all this equipment appeared in different UN DPKO budget documents as … already "delivered" (?!?)  Following many complains and discussions, I succeeded to “recover” US$ 3 Million, but for the other US$ 5 Million … the common answer always was: “… nobody knows where they are”.

   It was investigating about this "missing" equipment, that I discovered many “funny”, related and  completely uncontrolled systems. Systems that fully profited different “holes” in the UN Control Procedures, like the one called “inter-mission equipment movement”. A very important part of the most expensive CIT equipment was declared “missing”, following these “transfers”. Another “funny” related method consisted in keeping, new and very expensive equipment, in the CIT Warehouses.  Following some “funny” rules, all equipment, after two years in the warehouse, "must" be declared “obsolete”.  Afterwards, most of this equipment also “disappeared” and again: … “nobody knows where they are”. When you realize that, only a satellite dish (of a total of near 100, bought only using the MONUC 2001-2002 budget) costs ~US$ 150,000 Dollars !  The market streets in Kinshasa , and other main Congolese cities, were full of all this equipment !! … complete and/or in pieces …

   Galaxy, the current UNHQ automated recruitment system, was developed using the funds of the … Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).  The project leader (... we are talking about a "recruitment" system) was invited to leave (not fired) UN because it was discovered that his diplomas and certifactes were ... fakes !

   Galileo, the current UNHQ automated recovery system, was developed using the funds of the Mission in Congo MONUC).

   If somebody, quickly analyses the real costs of these “in-house” developed systems (there are so many, so many others, similar ones …): staff, premises, hardware, software, logistics, administrative, … will found out that they cost in reality: 50 to 100 times, the price of any similar system, currently in the market. Now if somebody takes the time, and analyses them deeply, the found-outs will shake the foundations of UN and DPKO.

   The same will happened with contracts, as the one made with the Indian company TCIL, for the supply of “contractors”.

   I will never forget the IT “needs” and “requirements” of PAE Daher, the aviation company, to operate the airports in Congo .  They were requesting equipment, “sufficient” to operate … all airports in … Africa !

   It looks like, UN DPKO “did not learn the lesson” of … IMIS (an other white elephant in UN costing hundreds of US$ millions)

   The fact is that, soon after my arrival to the UN DPKO Mission in Congo (MONUC) a real “hunting process” was prepared and performed against me; using a series of incredible methods and unacceptable behaviours, found only in illegal or mafiosi organizations. It was really disgusting !

   In April 2003, I wrote a complete report, fully documented, requesting for an investigation (please, see attached document), but, as usual, nothing happened.

   By now, 4 years after !!! I found amazing that most of the cases I mentioned in my report are fully related to some of the current judicial cases and processes for corruption, money-laundering conspiracy, fraud and ill-gotten bribes cases,  scheduled in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, against Sanjaya BAHEL (UN Staff), Nishan KOHLI (Indian businessman -- TCIL, Thunderbird, ... etc..), Alexander YAKOVLEV (UN Staff) and Vladimir KUZNETSOV (UN Staff).

   If you have contacts in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and if they considered it necessary, I could help them, been a witness, in the corruption cases.

   Matthew, I would like to help -- as much as possible – all related actions and activities, to avoid – as much as possible – more corruption in UN DPKO. I would like also help in the current re-organization process; mainly in what I know very well: Information and Communication Technologies. This is the main purpose of this message to you.

   Thanks indeed of your kind attention.

   Kind Regards,

Oscar.

PS. In case, you need more related information or documentation please, let me know.

Mr. Oscar FIESTAS-TEJADA
Strasbourg , France


PS.  These are some extracts of a related book, written by a former UN Auditor, ... never published:

Where are the Auditors ?

            "Edwin, can we meet?"
            "Sure," I said, "What's up?"
            "I have something to show you."

            This was Oscar, the chief of EDP in MONUC, the Congo .

            My auditors and I were auditing EDP and telecommunications assets.  Oscar impressed me early on when after drafting a questionnaire to assess the level of user satisfaction with telecommunications support in the mission I sent the draft to a few high-tech types for comment before finalizing it.

Oscar was one of them. He took time to redo the questionnaire in a manner that improved its usefulness for the purpose intended.   It was clear to me that I was dealing with someone very knowledgeable about the subject.  He was clearly a professional and stood head and shoulders above the other people I had come to value in that position.

            That meeting took place that same day in my office.

            "What do you have?"  I asked.
            "Just this," Oscar said handing me a spreadsheet analysis of assets under his control.  It showed that he was missing nearly $4.8 million in assets procured by Headquarters under his budget.

            "Oscar," I said, "can you walk me through the methodology you used?"
            Oscar explained that he took all the requisitions against his budget that became purchase orders.  He then used those purchase orders to track down all the assets he should have received, and the result was that missing $4.8 million.

            That many assets missing from a budget somewhere between $20 and $30 million was a loss rate of almost 20 percent.

            I forwarded the results to Headquarters for follow-up; I never heard back.

            What made Oscar's case unique was that soon afterwards I started to hear ramblings about his management style.  Soon thereafter, his character was being made an issue and there were obvious distortions about his overall conduct.  They would say things like "Oscar is difficult to deal with."

            As is usually the case in the UN, Oscar received a bad evaluation and when he tried to rebut it, the rebuttal panel took it upon
itself to literally investigate the man.  Nothing was spared.  It was mainly about the man's character and very little about his performance.

            Soon after I left MONUC, rumours started to circulate his contract would not be renewed.   Oscar's fate was sealed.

            The connection between his discovery of missing assets and his demise was not lost on me.  The problem in the UN is once a person is targeted the bureaucracy has little difficulty making their character an issue.

            This was not the only case where the auditors were conspicuous by their absence.

The Fear Factor among Auditors

           If staffing posts with the right people is a major issue, the failure to act by those with a duty to act is another.  I personally believe this derives directly from having the wrong people in place.

            Staff members report apparent wrongdoing to auditors who quickly find out their supervisors are reluctant to pursue these leads.  At the end of the day, both auditors and staff are discouraged, and wrongdoing continues on unchecked.

            A case in point was Oscar, the Chief of Electronic Data Processing in the Congo when I was there.  Oscar was professional, efficient, and knowledgeable.  When he showed me data he had amassed demonstrating that he was missing nearly $4.8 million in assets procured by Headquarters under his budget, he had everything carefully documented.

            That many assets missing from a budget that was in total somewhere between $20 and $30 million was a loss rate of almost 20 percent.
            I forwarded the results to Headquarters for follow-up.  I never heard back.

            Soon afterwards, I started to hear ramblings about Oscar's management style and obvious distortions about his management style.

            Next, Oscar received a bad evaluation, and when he tried to rebut it, the rebuttal panel took it upon itself to investigate the man.

            The end result was a report that went beyond the terms of reference of a rebuttal panel, which is supposed to confine itself to the disputed issues in the performance evaluation.

            Rumours soon started to circulate that Oscar's contract would not be renewed.  Oscar's fate was sealed.

            The connection between his discovery of missing assets and his demise was not lost on me.  The problem in the UN is once a person is targeted, the bureaucracy has little difficulty unfairly making that person's character an issue through rumour and innuendo.  Oscar had every right to look to the auditors to investigate his discovery.

            In the end, Oscar left the UN, asking the same question member states have been  asking:  ²"Where are the auditors" ?

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