The Daily Mail reports on some funding issues for the Commonwealth Secretariat because of ‘significant weaknesses in its approach to managing procurement’. New Zealand has suspended funding because of poor audit reports:
Embattled Commonwealth chief Baroness Scotland’s hopes of keeping her job suffered a blow yesterday after a snub by a member country.
New Zealand has pulled the plug on its annual £2.5million funding for the Commonwealth Secretariat because of ‘significant weaknesses in its approach to managing procurement’, a spokesman for its foreign ministry said last night.
Which rather raises the question about why it is that New Zealand is still funding the corrupt and terror-funding UNRWA organisation to the tune of $1million per annum?
MFaT was quick to cancel the funding to the Commonwealth Secretariat for dodgy decision processes, but have dragged the chain over UNWRA despite serious allegations and reports documenting UNRWA’s incitement to violence, ties with terrorists, and how its unique definition of a ‘refugee’ perpetuated the Arab-Israeli conflict. They continue to fund them despite pretending they were reviewing the situation. The Israel Institute documented an apparent suspension of funding on 25 August 2019.
A recent report by the Israel Institute shows that there has in fact been no suspension of funding, despite Jacinda Ardern’s post-Christchurch calls to combat online incitement. New Zealand, despite previously stating that funding was suspended, in fact, voted to extend funding until 2023:
While MFAT said they were waiting for the investigations to complete before giving advice to the Minister about continued funding (which is approximately $1m each year), New Zealand representatives voted to extend UNRWA’s mandate until 2023 without any comment on the corruptions allegations or other issues that have plagued the organisation nor any comment on the incitement by staff that Kiwi taxpayers fund.
It seems that MFaT is stonewalling too:
In early November, UN Secretary-General António Guterres released a statement saying that preliminary findings of the OIOS found no “fraud or misappropriation of operational funds.” but there were “managerial issues that need to be addressed”. Shortly after, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, resigned.
This seemed to be enough for Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Belgium to reinstate their funding of the agency. Time will tell if New Zealand will continue to uncritically give to UNRWA or if it will at least live up to the principles of the Christchurch Call and condemn incitement by UNRWA staff.
Documents obtained by the Israel Institute of New Zealand under the Official Information Act have shown that officials within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade did not record meetings where concerns about UNRWA were raised and failed to brief Ministers about egregious issues.
Now, as Prime Minister Ardern is travelling the globe to garner support for the Christchurch Call, MFAT staff are refusing to condemn antisemitism and incitement to violence from an organisation that Kiwi taxpayers fund.
At the very least the issues at UNRWA are strikingly similar to those at the Commonwealth Secretariat. You have to wonder why it is that UNRWA can continue to receive funds, especially when much of those funds are diverted to fund terrorism and perpetuate hate.
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The rebuff emerged after £160,000-a-year Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland was strongly criticised by internal auditors for granting a lucrative consultancy contract to a firm run by a Labour Party friend.
The organisation’s audit committee accused her of ‘circumventing’ usual competitive tendering rules by awarding a £250,000 commission to KYA Global.
The firm is owned by fellow Labour peer Lord Patel of Bradford, who served alongside Baroness Scotland as a minister in Gordon Brown’s government.
Lord Patel’s company was contracted to carry out a review of the secretariat. But the audit committee said the firm was ‘apparently insolvent’ at the time with debts of nearly £50,000.
New Zealand, one of the secretariat’s biggest contributors, made the decision to block funding last month.
This is good news. It seems that MFaT is doing the right thing making sure that taxpayers cash isn’t being spent on dodgy deals or corrupt officials.