UN bribes-for-prescription drugs scandal sees two Dutch citizens jailed

Two former United Nations consultants were sentenced to imprisonment by a UK court for receiving brides and rigging pharmaceutical contracts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported newspaper The Guardian from London’s Southwark crown court. Guido Baker, 41 and Sijbrandus Scheffer, 63, both Dutch nationals, took payments totalling 650,000 pounds from Danish pharmaceutical company, Missionpharma, to help win them lucrative contracts with the UN, investigators allege.

Scheffer was found guilty of accepting or obtaining corrupt papers, fraudulent trading and transferring the proceeds of crime. He was given a 15-month jail sentence. Baker pleaded guilty to accepting or obtaining corrupt papers and was sentenced to 12 months behind bars.

The two ran World Response Consulting which obtained contracts from the UN Development Programme to help fight HIV and malaria in war-torn African countries. The men are accused of using this inside knowledge to leak crucial details to Missionpharma in order for them to "stack the deck" in the company's favour when it came time to bid for UN contracts.

An investigation into the two men and how they awarded contracts was launched by the UN in 2007. Both men were arrested the following year.