With the UN everything is possible and this Fox News report by George Russell certainly raises some questions.
While controversy continues to swirl around the huge Hamas tunnel network in Gaza, an internal United Nations audit report reveals that a U.N. Development Program office that funds and monitors spending on construction in the territory allowed at least five non-staff contract employees to handle “core” procurement processes that only staffers are supposed to handle, including those for ordering up “significant” civil construction activities.
At the same time, the office’s internal financial tracking system — a UNDP-wide system known as Atlas — was improperly recording at least $8 million worth of civil construction spending at far less than its full value, a practice that UNDP auditors noted could keep the activity under the radar of higher-level U.N. officials who must approve purchase orders above defined cost threshold levels.
Moreover, the Palestinian program office was not properly keeping track of expenditures or receipts in the financial system. The auditors noted that in a sampling of 41 payment vouchers, 12 purchase orders did not have receipts recorded in the system. “This practice,” the report noted, “increases the risk of paying for goods that are not delivered.”
The report adds a new level of potential credibility to Israeli accusations that internationally-managed relief supplies to Gaza were diverted into construction of the elaborate and highly-engineered tunnels under the territory that were used by Hamas terrorists to launch and coordinate rocket attacks and incursions into Israel that dramatically escalated in March.
The question though is how much of an accident is this really. International aid agencies routinely find ways to make payoffs to terrorists in exchange for being allowed to operate. The UN’s finances are more open than some, but that just makes the process trickier.
According to the audit report, the UNDP Palestinian program’s “direct implementation” authorization expired on June 30, 2012, and “the office did not seek its renewal until March 2014” — roughly around the time that Hamas commenced its latest large-scale rocket assault on Israel.
Moreover, that authorization still did not exist at the time the report was written; based on internal evidence, apparently in June. (The document was finalized in early July, and posted on UNDP’s website over the past weekend.) It says only that “management is following with Headquarters” to get direct implementation renewed “as soon as possible.”