Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Home -

Follow us on TWITTER

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


ICP on YouTube

Video on NY Times

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, Ban Cites Secrecy To Shroud Any Punishment of USG Shaaban, Opaque

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 20 -- In a UN system that is nearly devoid of accountability for its high officials, the case of Under Secretary General Shaaban Shaaban stands out.

  The UN Dispute Tribunal found he had engaged in misconducted, then referred the matter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

"3. The case is referred to the Secretary-General under article 10.8 of the Statute of the Tribunal for the purpose of considering-- (a) what action should be taken in respect of the conduct of the USG/DGACM in dealing with the complaints made by the applicant; and (b) what action should be taken in respect of the conduct of the USG/DGACM in giving evidence to the Tribunal."

  The day after Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar confirmed that Shaaban would be staying on until at least June 2012 (Nambiar refused Inner City Press' question about whether and when he himself would be leaving), Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: there was this finding by the UN Dispute Tribunal about Mr. Shaaban Shaaban, it was a pretty adverse finding, it seemed to ask the Secretary-General to take some remedial action, it didn’t spell out what should be done, but it said that the Secretary-General should look at this finding and take some action, and I wanted to know what action was ultimately taken in that case of the head of DGACM.

Spokesperson: If I get anything I’ll let you know, Matthew, yeah.

With the amount that the words "accountability" and "transparency" get thrown around in Ban's UN, one expected a simple answer to this simple question: what was ultimately done as punishment? But when Nesirky's office responded, there was no answer -- as "a matter of policy"

Subject: Response to your question on USG Shaaban.
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
Date: Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

The Dispute Tribunal referred certain aspects of Mr. Shaaban's conduct to the Secretary-General pursuant to Article 10(8) of its Statute. The matter remains under review. As a matter of policy, the Secretary-General provides no information about the specifics of a case involving an individual staff member.

So when a high level UN official like Shaaban is found to have abuse a lower level staffer and Ban is asked to impose accountability, the entire thing is shrouded in secrecy.

 In fact, when conducting an internal investigation, the only statutory duty to keep confidentiality is intended to protect those who have made the allegations against colleagues or superiors [“whistleblowers”], not the alleged perpetrator. The OIOS Investigations Division must operate “a confidential reporting system to protect the identity of those who make reports to the Division” (ST/SGB/2002/7, Section 7.2)

  So why is Ban citing, or some say misusing, this "policy"? Ban's long period of inaction appears calculated to run until June 2012 -- to escape any accountability.

(c) UN Photo
Ban and Shaaban, accountability & transparency not shown

  How does it line up with the claim “that UN personnel adhere to the highest standards of accountability. When necessary, strong disciplinary action will be taken”? (

UNDT referred USG Shaaban’s case to the Secretary-General on 22 February 2010 (, almost two years ago. That decision was confirmed by UNAT on 11 March 2011 (, nine months ago.

 In today's UN, there is no established time limit to conduct a misconduct investigation.

However “the Investigations Section [of OIOS] will work to clear the name of staff members who are wrongly or incorrectly accused (A/55/469, Summary, p. 2). “Because the findings of such an inquiry must be based on evidence, it also can lead to the clearing of those who have been maliciously or simply incorrectly accused.

USG Shaaban’s case was referred to Ban by an independent judge, who already had extensive and professional knowledge of the alleged misconduct, and even witnessed it himself.

 Again, Ban's long period of inaction appears calculated to run until June 2012 -- to escape any accountability.  Watch this site.

Share |

Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-253, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2011 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]