E-mails Allege Plot to Deny Ban a Second Term, Trick for Supachai at
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive
NATIONS, June 24 -- Weeks after the filing with the UN investigative
unit of emails showing a dirty tricks campaign by staffers of UN
Conference on Trade and Development chief Supachai Panitchpakdi to
get a second term, on Wednesday UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
nevertheless announced he is supporting Supachai for another four
Inner City Press, which exclusively
reported the filing on
June 22, asked Ban's spokesperson if Ban had considered its
and acknowledged any connection between them and the reappointment.
most explosive part of the emails, being
published for the first time
today by Inner City Press, are the arguments made in a May 8, 2009
email by Supachai's special adviser Kobsak Chutikul, that African and
other countries were supporting Ivory Coast's former trade minister
to deny Supachai from Thailand a second term in order to set a
precedent to deny Ban Ki-moon a second term as Secretary General, due
to "his perceived Western backers."
spokesperson declined to comment on the filing, saying it is before
the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. Video here
10:45. But senior Ban officials including Management chief Angela
Kane and Ethics Officer Robert Benson have had the complaint since
June 4. Meanwhile, the complainant has reportedly been demoted.
City Press asked Supachai if his UNCTAD has any whistleblower
protection provisions. Yes we will follow those, Supachai answered.
He claimed he "never campaigned," despite what the emails
show his special adviser Kobsak Chutikul doing. He claimed he only
"responded to some countries' remarks." Video here,
these statement, Inner City Press is today publishing some of the
emails at issue, here.
UN's Ban and UNCTAD's Supachai: a snub of latter hurts former?
In a May 8, 2009 email marked Attachment E and
headlined, "NAM Note Verbale," Chutikul wrote to three
senior UNCTAD staff, including the subsequent complainant:
please see attached NAM Note Verbale sent out to all NAM Missions
today. In light of this new development, it is the assessment of Thai
and some ASEAN Ambassadors that the picture has become clear --
UNCTAD SG post has become an innocent bystander caught in the middle
of a bigger struggle... The goal seems to be to insist on
geographical rotation of posts, and undermining the practice /
tradition of two continuous terms, with the real target being the UN
SG (and his perceived western backers)."
argument raises the issue, for some interviewed by Inner City Press
so far: did Ban have something of a conflict of interest in
overriding (after working to override and change) African Group
resistance and giving Supachai a second term? In fact, that too is
laid out in Supachai's special adviser's Mach 8 e-mail, referring to
telling Team Ban "things like 'you are the real target' or 'you
emails point to several other improprieties, and it is extraordinary
that Team Ban wants or wanted to ignore them and simply reappoint
Chutikul's"all hands on deck" e-mail, the press was on to
get Ban to announce his referral of Supachai's renomination to the
General Assembly. A Chinese staff member conferred with Beijing, and
that asked for evidence of which way Ban was leaning (Attachment G).
Another UNCTAD staffer questioned why the African Group targeted the
second term of Supachai and not Frenchman Pascal Lamy at the World
Trade Organization -- "because he's white"? The e-mails are
replete with racial references.
Now what will happen? Watch this site.
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UN, Complaint of Hiring of Mistress at WTO, Tricks in UNCTAD
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive
NATIONS, June 22 -- The seamy underbelly of UN system politicking is
laid bare in a filing
to the UN's top investigator Inga-Britt
Ahlenius from the Officer in Charge of the UN Conference on Trade
Development Division on Management Khaililur Rahman.
campaign by UNCTAD's senior advisor against a Ivory Coast diplomat
competing to head UNCTAD or to beat out Patrick Lamy for the next
term at the World Trade Organization, Rahman quotes that Lamy "has
campaign funds from the French" and hired the Ivorian diplomat's
"mistress at the WTO."
Inner City Press has obtained a copy
of the UN document, and places it online here.
June 4, Rahman asked Ahlenius' Office of Internal Oversight Services
to take action. But UN Spokesperson Michele Montas on June 19 told
Inner City Press she and the UN are unaware of the complaint.
memo, Rahman recounts how pressure was brought to bear on UN
staff to lobby for the incumbent at UNCTAD Supachai Panitchpakdi to
get a second term. Mr. Supachai's special advisor Kobsak Chutikul
wrote a "Game Plan e-mail" which identified the Permanent
Representatives to the UN of Sudan, Cuba, Libya and Nicaragua as
"undermining the practice / tradition of two consecutive terms"
for the top job at UNCTAD.
Rahman recounts to the Office of Internal
Oversight Services that "Mr. Chutikul also mentioned he would
'continue to press the Executive Office of Secretary General' [Ban
Ki-moon] while noting that 'we can't just wait for them to act.'"
Group was pushing as a candidate Ambassador Gauze of Cote d'Ivoire to
replace Mr. Supachai. That campaign appears to have ended. On June
19, Inner City Press was shown by one of the above-mentioned
Permanent Representatives a message from Ban Ki-moon's senior
advisor, leading to the dropping of the competing African candidacy.
Ban and his advisor previously moved to cut the Office of the Special
Advisor on Africa, a decision the General Assembly has ordered Ban to
seamy side is contained in Paragraph 6 of
Rahman's memo to OIOS, in
which he writes -- in a UN document about which Inner City Press
asked the UN spokesperson on June 19 -- that
email from Mr. Chutikul dated 29 May 2009... made a number of
allegations against Mr. Gauze, a former Minister of Trade of Cote
d'Ivoire and currently Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire in
Geneva as a contender for the post of SG of UNCTAD along with Mr.
Supachai, as well as against Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the
World Trade Organization. Mr. Chutikul alleged in this email that Mr.
Gauze 'in fact last year offered to be on Lamy's campaign team.' Mr
Chutukul also alleged that Mr. Lamy 'had campaign funds from the
French' and got Mr. Gauze's 'mistress in the mission hired by WTO.'
alleged further that Mr. Gauze 'is now facing a paternity suit for
child born to another Ivorian mistress. The woman is married to a
white man but the baby was born completely black.' He adds: 'Seems
Gauze in desperate need of source of income to settle the suit and
Rahman's memo refers all of the above -- beyond the UN's total denial,
let us take item by item denials for granted and at face value -- "to
OIOS for appropriate
action." But is OIOS the right venue?
Copies of the complaint
were alsosent to Department of Management chief Angela Kane and her
Human Resources Assistant Catherine Pollard, as well as UN Ethics
Officer Robert Benson, Jan Beagle in Geneva, Ms. A. Djermakoye and
Mr. I Koulov.
all this, the UN in New York, through its spokesperson Michele
Montas, purports to know nothing about this formal complaint. Inner
City Press asked at the June 19 noon briefing:
City Press: there’s this controversy about UNCTAD, about
reappointing or not reappointing Mr. Supachai. And it said that the
G-77 there has written in support of him, but the African Group
within that has said they didn’t support the recommendation, that
they have other candidates from the Ivory Coast and Kenya, and
finally, it’s been written to miscellaneous of OIOS that there’s
been pressure put on staff to support the current head to be
reappointed. One -- has the Secretary-General gotten this letter
from G-77, and does he acknowledge it as the position of the full
group, or does he know of this African Group counter-position?
Montas: He has received the different letters and the different
positions and, as you know, he still supports his reappointment.
City Press: And what about this claim that staff are being pressured as
condition of keeping their jobs?
Pressured by whom?
City Press: Pressured by senior members within UNCTAD.
I’m not aware of that. I’m
not aware of that at all.
that the "miscellaneous" in the transcript is Ms. Ahlenius. And that no
update has been provided by the Office of the
Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, including his view on
Supachai's future and special advisor's campaigning as reflected in the
must-credit exclusive above. Watch
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