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A $60 million scandal involving loans and grants from a lesser-known UN agency also included a $2.5 million investment to construct affordable houses in India in 2019, none of which have materialized yet.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), responsible for operational projects, had given the entire sum to a single British businessman and now faces $22 million in bad debts, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

According to UN documents, a Singapore-based company owned by businessman David Kendrick was tasked with building at least 50,000 houses in India for $2.5 million.

The company responsible for this project, Sustainable Housing Solutions (SHS) Holdings Pvt Ltd, is helmed by Amit Gupta and Arti Jain, who have little to show in their financial records, with zero revenue and Rs 27,289 in losses in 2020-21.

The project was part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments (S3I) initiative launched in 2018, which is now under UN investigation for allocating all its funding to companies connected to Kendrick. The head of UNOPS, Grete Faremo, resigned earlier this month due to the scandal.

Gupta, the CEO of SHS, stated that the project has been put on hold.

A senior official from the Goa government confirmed that a presentation was made by SHS Holdings for the construction of housing units in Goa. However, concerns were raised about the lack of supporting infrastructure and the absence of a tendering process for the project.

Gupta claimed that the Goa government had approached UNOPS for the project.

State government officials disputed this claim, stating that no proposal had been made to UNOPS. Discussions with SHS Holdings were halted in 2019 after the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

While UNOPS initially planned to build 50,000 affordable houses in India, an internal audit document in 2020-2021 increased that number to 100,000.

Gupta admitted that no houses have been built by SHS in other states due to the pandemic. He mentioned ongoing discussions with some governments for future projects.

He assured that all expenses for UNOPS projects are shared with the agency monthly and denied knowledge of the UN investigation into the loans.

UNOPS provided nearly US$60 million to Kendrick and his daughter for various projects, including wind farms, sustainable housing, and a promotional video. An internal investigation into these transactions was completed on May 10.

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