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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How Hamas diverted internationally-supplied concrete to build terror tunnels

Fox News has obtained a copy of an internal report by a United Nations audit committee that reveals how Hamas diverted internationally supplied moneys and concrete for the construction of terror tunnels and the purchase of weapons. And guess who is right in the thick of things.... UNRWA.
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.

Moreover, the report says, of the UNDP office: “the Office was not monitoring and recording actual work” performed by these individuals and other contract employees handling “core” functions, and the terms of reference for their employment “did not include specifications for services provided to particular projects” — in other words, were relatively undefined.
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 same office of the anti-poverty United Nations Development Program (UNDP) failed to use an electronic funds transfer system with local banks that would have allowed the UNDP program to “be notified electronically when any bank transactions take place,”  including, as the report delicately puts it, “transactions not made by UNDP.”
Taken together, the findings in the carefully manicured audit report — which was vetted by UNDP management at the affected office — point to a possible black hole in the supervision of civil construction, and perhaps other programs in Gaza and the other Palestinian territories for at least a year before the current explosion of terrorism.
The main purpose of the UNDP program, based in Jerusalem and like all U.N. activities operating under diplomatic immunity from any national authorities, was to provide funding and support for what the document chastely calls “another U.N. entity” that coordinates the world organization’s activity in Gaza.
That “entity” is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, which has been accused for years — and especially during the last major Israeli military response to Palestinian terrorist attacks from Gaza in 2009 — of allowing Hamas to divert humanitarian supplies to its own military purposes. UNWRA has some 13,000 employees in Gaza, the overwhelming majority of them local Palestinians.
The watchdog report on the UNDP office, formally known as the UNDP Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People, covered all of 2013 — the period immediately leading up to the current explosion of  Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli’s now-suspended counter-incursion.
The document, produced by UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigations, does not offer anything like full insight into the irregular pattern of activities surrounding the Palestinian program, although it clearly indicates that there are more areas of concern.
Among other things, it notes that 43 people beyond the five specifically mentioned as “examples’ are also “incorrectly” providing “core functions” while operating on service contracts, without specifying their activities.
The entire tally of non-staffers performing “core” functions represents about one-quarter of the 187 service contract holders listed as part of the program, which spent $90 million in 2013.
Read the whole thing. Maybe this could be leveraged to dismantle UNRWA? We can only hope.

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