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Seven Deadly Sins

For all the flack the United Nations invites for being so thoroughly incompetent, so needlessly mercurial, and so lost in the wilderness that its original collective security mission is writhing in frostbitten agony in the Nunavut Territory, there’s one thing the UN is great at: giving lots and lots of cash to really bad people, and then not keeping track of how it is spent. And consistently good! Each of us knows the long story of the Iraqi Oil for Food program. Each of us knows about Kojo Annan’s Mercedes, and the paid-off French diplomad men, and Saddam’s juicy grapes and feather fans and his citizens’ slightly grimmer rigs. But did you know that the latest recipient of these ultraconsistent yet accidental UN cash payouts is Kim Jong-il, the fellow who runs North Korea and who owns the North Koreans?

Here is a letter you ought to read. It was written this past Tuesday by Mark D. Wallace, United States Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform. It was sent to Ad Melkert, an administrator at the United Nations Development Program. Mr. Wallace was permitted—evidently at the crystal-clear UN, permission is needed for these sorts of things—to attend a sort of executive review of audits made of the United Nation’s assistance programs for North Korea. (Which unfortunately insists that we refer to it as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK.) One can only suppose that the content of these audits was not supposd to be known. On the very first page of his four page memorandum, Mr. Wallace points out that copies were not allowed to be made of the audit. But our good ambassador makes public the conclusions anyway.

The meat of his letter: a list of seven deadly sins on the part of the United Nations, each respecting its substantial (when a nation’s entire GDP is only $40 billion) $30 million aid program in North Korea. In the list reprinted below, take UNDP to mean ‘United Nations’ and DPRK to mean ‘North Korea’.

1. UNDP local staff is dominated by DPRK government employees;

2. UNDP DPRK government employees have performed financial and program managerial core functions in violation of UNDP rules;

3. The DPRK government insists upon and UNDP pays cash to local DPRK government suppliers in violation of UNDO rules;

4. UNDP funds DPRK controlled projects without the oversight required by UNDP rules;

5. There is no audit review of DPRK controlled programs in violation of UNDP rules;

6. The DPRK refuses to allow outside audits of any DPRK projects and instead either limits UNDP audits or utilizes “sham” DPRK audits in violation of UNDP rules;

7. UNDP officials are not permitted to perform site visits to many UNDP DPRK projects in violation of UNDP rules.

Fox News reports on the entire imbroglio here. But it doesn’t take a journalist to call to mind what happened the last time officials weren’t allowed to come see what a rogue nation was doing with the UN’s charity cash.

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