Geneva: For a UN appeal it`s a sharp
departure from the norm: A call for Pakistan flood relief
money to be sent to a Pakistani or Swiss bank account with
none of the usual monitoring safeguards that come with such
The press release by the UN`s International
Telecommunication Union asks donors to wire money to the
National Bank of Pakistan or Switzerland`s UBS AG to "assist
the flood-affected victims" and rebuild telephone networks,
but offers no specifics on concrete projects.
"It`s like the Nigerian or Ivory Coast messages asking
for help, when they give you the bank account," said Riccardo
Bocco, a professor of development studies at Geneva`s Graduate
Institute, who initially doubted the authenticity of ITU`s
"I`ve never seen such a practice of giving explicit bank
accounts. It looks quite funny. I don`t know if it`s a new
practice in the UN world, but I doubt it."
The request is sensitive coming at a time when the global
body is desperately trying to rally cash assistance for one of
the worst humanitarian crises in recent times, while
guaranteeing that each dollar will be accounted for in a
country famous for rampant corruption.
ITU spokesman Sanjay Acharya told The Associated Press
that the appeal was made upon request from Pakistan`s
government. For the Pakistani account, he said, "it`s their
responsibility. We can`t monitor that, to be sure."