WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Corruption threatens the success of United Nations international peacekeeping missions and causes wastage of donor money, an anti-graft group said on Wednesday in calling for new policies to address bribery and fraud.
The United Nations currently provides no clear guidance on corruption in its missions and its operations, which can allow graft to take hold and undermine the effectiveness of the UN’s work over the long term, Transparency International UK’s Defense and Security programme said in its report.
“Ignoring the threats of corruption to peacekeeping missions embeds it more deeply and damages the legitimacy of key institutions,” said Mark Pyman, the lead author of the report “Corruption and Peacekeeping”.
The report identifies 28 types of corruption that threaten peacekeeping operations, ranging from contract fraud to sexual abuse, and proposes a framework that the UN could use in addressing the issue and strengthening the effectiveness of its operations.
By tackling corruption early, an international peacekeeping mission is far more likely to help in building institutions that are trusted, which in turn contributes to safe and stable states, it said.
The report cited a number of instances of bribery and fraud to illustrate problems. In Dafur, three former Nepalese police chiefs and one British businessman were convicted in 2012 over procurement of obsolete and sub-standard equipment for Nepali UN peacekeepers for the Darfur mission in 2009.
TI’s mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo between February and June 2007 investigated complaints about procurement contracts worth at least $25 million, and it discovered bribes were routine to secure contracts. UN staff said there was a collapse of ethics, problems that could have been prevented with proper oversight and training.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN chief of travel submitted fraudulent invoices for excess baggage aided by airline staff, and a local staffer created a company that was awarded UN business and colluded with another company to rig bids for contracts, costing the UN about $800,000.
“We should be entitled to have effective peacekeeping without waste, without corruption and without mismanagement,” said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN in endorsing the proposals.
Transparency International UK said it will be presenting its findings to the United Nations this week. A UN spokeswoman said the agency had no immediate comment.