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UN: Corruption and Extortion in High Places!


The latest UN developments in Nairobi and allegations that some UN officials and employees were members of an organized crime syndicate must be shocking and disheartening to the UN leadership, donor countries and UN member states.

Unfortunately, the reported corrupt practices and more undisclosed allegations are common in that part of the world and are being turned into an art form by many UN officials and employees in Somalia and in Nairobi, Kenya.

Somali refugees in Nairobi and local Somali authorities in the “Recovery Zones” and “Transitional Zones” have been complaining for a period of time about a range of corrupt practices by UN officials and employees.

The complaints relate to a number of issues, but mainly consist of the following:

* Refugee resettlement issues and how they are selected

* UN aid distribution and allocation methods: what region in Somalia gets what aid, when and how?

* UN officials and how they are assigned: who gets assigned to what region and how?

* Communication and information reporting: IRIN Networks in partnership with ReliefWeb and their reporting methodologies and allegations that they employ and represent certain Somali Political Factions.

UN officials didn't take the Somali allegations seriously. They have neither undertaken an internal inquiry nor have they responded to the allegations. The alleged corrupt practices and extortions continued and evolved into “an organized crime network in Africa” as reported by Reuters News Agency.

The Somali victims, local authority officials and their cries for justice were never heeded. No news reports and no special investigations by UN watchdog agencies covered the situation. But justice works in strange ways. What has been revealed in the last couple of days is precisely what the Somali people and their local authorities have been trying to convince the UN officials to closely monitor.

It is high time that UN special investigations office has undertaken a serious examination about the conduct of UN officials and employees. The world is watching and the Somali people are waiting! And as often said: justice delayed is justice denied.

However, it should be emphasized that the UN offices and their efforts to relieve the suffering of the Somali people are well documented. For a large number of Somali families in certain areas, the UN has sometimes made the difference between life and death. No one knows better than the victims that received much needed help and they appreciate it.

We at SHASNA also appreciate the good intentions of UN offices. We think they have done quite a job throughout Somalia. They have undertaken developmental projects from Somaliland to Puntland to the “Transitional Zones”. UN officials and employees have also suffered in helping the Somali people in the “Crisis Zones”.

We appreciate their efforts and we hope they continue providing services for the needy. However well intentioned, in the process of providing much needed help, the good offices of the UN had been infiltrated. They have either been turned into “an organized crime network” or into fulfilling the political agenda of the connected few, whose political agenda has its roots with the past repressive Marxist dictatorship of Somalia and the ruling elite of a certain highly corrupted neighboring city-state.

Ultimately, this political agenda wants to receive UN donated MONEY that can be stashed in Swiss secret numbered bank accounts. This would create more illicit money to fuel the flames of the continuing Somali civil war and disrupt or destroy developments and stability that has been achieved in peaceful regions of Somalia for the past ten years.

And when they can't obtain UN money, they print their own illegal paper money with the blessings of the UN information agencies (IRIN February 14, 2001 Headline: Somalia: Government to buy up imported money). UN information agencies sole responsibility, of late, appears to be spreading misinformation and groundless stories on peaceful regions of Somalia (IRIN February 21, 2001 Headline: Somalia: Women sentenced to death by stoning). This information network, even when it chooses not to quote unreliable Mogadishu local tabloids, still gets the story wrong, fabricates more baseless stories and makes up non-existing “Local Sources.” As always, it is our hope that the good UN offices will be back in the hands of better custodians.

*SHASNA is an advocacy group based in Boston, Massachusetts. It stands for the unity and peaceful coexistence of the Somali people. It supports the creation of a Federal system of governance to safeguard the emerging free markets of the Recovery Zones. SHASNA encourages corporate and individual investments in the Recovery Zones. It has presences in both Puntland (Boosaaso, Garoowe, Buurtinle, Bacaadweyn and Gaalkacyo) and Somaliland (Hergeysa, Berbera and Burco).


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