In a further demonstration of the folly of a UN sanctions regime that key nations undermined and UN management corrupted, the London Telegraph reports on allegations from a former Cotecna inspector that his fellow front-line co-workers often drank on the job and rarely did any work to stop the smuggling:
UN inspectors in Iraq spent their working hours drinking vodka while ignoring a shadowy nocturnal fleet believed to be smuggling goods for Saddam Hussein, a former senior inspector told the US Senate yesterday.
In a move that provoked fury from officials of the Swiss firm Cotecna, an Australian former inspector detailed a picture of incompetence, indifference and drunkeness among the men acting as the frontline for UN sanctions.
Yeah, that box containing Saddam certainly kept him honest, didn’t it? Speaking of honesty, Arthur Ventham gave it out in spades to the Senate panel investigating the OFF corruption. He talked about smuggling operations taking place right in front of the inspectors, who shrugged and did nothing about it. In a twist that sounds more like the Mafia than the United Nations (insert joke here), Ventham also testified that Cotecna hired a lot of people to stand around doing nothing as a matter of course:
He said that at Iskendurun in eastern Turkey, some officials had refused to work.
When he asked one of his bosses why, he was told: “They were friends or relatives of potential clients, and are only in the mission so the company could secure future contracts in Nigeria, Comoros and another African country.
“When I said that this was unfair on everyone else, I was told that it was general practice in Cotecna.”
CQ readers will recall, surely, that Cotecna’s most famous ex-employee is Kojo Annan, another employee paid for services that Cotecna now cannot identify. It would appear that his presence was only required to open doors — and one wonders exactly how Kojo did that.
Cotecna angrily responded afterwards that Ventham was a disgruntled former employee who had been fired earlier. That begs the question of exactly how one goes about getting fired from such a company … actually doing inspections?