Wednesday, February 15, 2006

“Scandal Watch: Tsunami Funds” -

“Scandal Watch: Tsunami Funds” - "Scandal Watch: Tsunami Funds
March 2006

When the United Nations took control of the relief funds for the Asian tsunami crisis, its under secretary general for humanitarian affairs assured the world that “only the UN has the universal legitimacy, capacity and credibility to lead in a truly global humanitarian emergency” (Financial Times, March 30, 2005).

That statement might have been more convincing five years ago. In the last year alone, the reputation of the UN has been shredded by allegations of kickbacks, billions of dollars in graft in the oil-for-food scandal, the rape of minors in the Congo, and a procurement scandal. Should we really be surprised now to learn that the tsunami fund has been mishandled?

A two-month inquiry by the Financial Times shows that an exorbitant amount of money is going toward administrative costs, and that it is difficult to track how the money is being spent in many cases despite UN promises of transparency (Dec. 23, 2005).