The New York Times is reporting on another UN Scandal, this time food bypassing the needy in War torn Somali.
As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security Council report.
The report, which has not yet been made public but was shown to The New York Times by diplomats, outlines a host of problems so grave that it recommends that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon open an independent investigation into the World Food Program’s Somalia operations. It suggests that the program rebuild the food distribution system — which serves at least 2.5 million people and whose aid was worth about $485 million in 2009 — from scratch to break what it describes as a corrupt cartel of Somali distributors.
In addition to the diversion of food aid, regional Somali authorities are collaborating with pirates who hijack ships along the lawless coast, the report says, and Somali government ministers have auctioned off diplomatic visas for trips to Europe to the highest bidders, some of whom may have been pirates or insurgents.
The report goes on to do say that
Somalia’s security forces “remain ineffective, disorganized and corrupt — a composite of independent militias loyal to senior government officials and military officers who profit from the business of war.”
It seems that every UN aid program gets tangled with corruption, stealing, and giving aid and comfort to those who created the crisis in the first place. Somalia has been receiving aid and monies for years, but the misery continues. From my vantage point, I would say that a different approach should be looked at, because the present one is clearly not working.
Update: UN won’t renew food contracts with the Somalian government.
The United Nations World Food Program announced Thursday that it would not give any new contracts to three Somali businessmen who have been accused of diverting food aid to Islamist militants and that the agency would welcome an independent investigation into its Somalia operations.
For months, World Food Program officials had denied mounting allegations that the contractors they use to haul hundreds of millions of dollars of food into Somalia were stealing some of the food and funneling it to Islamist militants trying to topple Somalia’s weak transitional government.
The decision follows a harsh new United Nations report, whose pointed findings were first disclosed in The New York Times this week.