Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 1, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

United Nations Operations: Growing Questions, Criticisms About Integrity and Accountability
Rohrabacher Schedules Wednesday Oversight Hearing

BACKGROUND:  Last month, U.S. Reps. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) wrote United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and announced that the International Relations Committee’s investigation of the UN Oil-for-Food Program was expanding to include all UN operations. The two also suggested that UN reform proposals linked to U.S. dues payments would likely surface during legislative consideration later this spring of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which funds operations of the U.S. Department of State and American contributions to international organizations. The letter to Annan was prompted by the disclosure of diplomatic cables detailing corruption in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a UN-affiliated agency. “While bad,” one legal advisor for the scandal-plagued WMO said about the theft of $3 million and the disappearance of its deputy director, the auditing controls in place to prevent such theft were “not the worst seen in the UN family of organizations.” In Kosovo, an estimated $4 million has been stolen from the UN mission; a kickback scheme was orchestrated at the UN-administered airport in Pristina by an official who rigged a contract for a national airline, and another official received a free apartment apparently as part of the same scheme. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, numerous UN peacekeepers have been accused of rape and theft while on site, and a French UN official took lewd pictures of 12-year-old girls and e-mailed them back to friends in the UN, apparently using the UN e-mail system. Procurement and mismanagement failures at the UN’s Oil-for-Food program are quickly becoming legendary, as investigations into the scandal gain momentum.

WHAT: Subcommittee oversight hearing: United Nations Operations: Integrity and Accountability

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman
 
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 2, 2005
 
WHERE: Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building
 
WITNESSES: Patrick F. Kennedy, Ambassador to the United Nations for Management and Reform, United States Mission to the United Nations; Thomas A. Repasch, Jr., Delegate, United States Mission to the United Nations; and Joseph A. Christoff, Director, International Affairs and Trade Team, U.S. General Accounting Office

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