Ban's UN, Ivorians Against UNCTAD Second Term As OIOS
Complaint, E-mails Surface
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, July 6 -- Despite complaints
pending before the UN's Office
of Internal Oversight Services, the nomination by Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon of Supachai Panitchpakdi for a second term atop the UN
Conference on Trade and Development was confirmed July 6 by the UN
Before the vote, the representative of Cote
d'Ivoire, which fielded a candidate who as documented by Inner City
Press was smeared by Supachai's senior advisor Kobsak Chutikul, read
a speech expressing "reservations" at the process, stating
that the "ethical values that should inspire our Organization
were overthrown" by "defamatory practices against our
candidate." Video here,
from Minute 6:23.
while Ban Ki-moon is in UNCTAD's headquarters city of Geneva, Inner
Press publishes an additional July 3 e-mail by Kobsak Chutikul, and
another complaint pending unacted upon before the OIOS.
asked Mr. Supachai on June 24 to respond to his advisor's documented
"game plan" of having UNCTAD staff lobby particular
Ambassadors and spread negative information about the Ivorian
candidate. Supachai said that because the complaint was before "the
Office of Internal Oversight... we may have to defer to OIOS."
from Minute 54:04.
denied that he
had campaigned, characterizing it as a mere "re-nomination,"
essentially an automatic second term. On July 6, the Ivorian
representative in the General Assembly dispute that this should be
automatic, an argument that may be raised again in two years in New
York. As Inner
City Press has reported, this argument was made to
Team Ban, that to allow the African Group to deny Supachai a second
term would be a bad precedent for Ban.
June 24 dodged questions about listening devices hidden in the UN in
Geneva as well as the acts of his special advisor, while claiming
that whistleblower protections are in place at UNCTAD, Kobsak
Chutikul has since sent out the e-mail below.
UN's Ban and UNCTAD's Supachai: when
was the former aware of the OIOS complaints?
Forwarded by xxxxxxxx/UNCTAD/GVA/UNO on 03.07.2009 14:49 -----
Allegations of misconduct
return from mission, I realise that recent press stories relating to
me, as well as copies of emails attributed to me that have been
widely circulated, have caused concern and bewilderment in the house.
my opinion, the context of those emails have clearly been distorted.
Investigations will have to establish the facts.
while awaiting the outcome of the investigation, at this point in
time, I would like on my part to apologise for the damage that this
matter may have caused to the good name and reputation of UNCTAD. I
also deeply regret the embarrassment that has been caused to innocent
third-parties outside the organization. Over the next few days, I
shall be seeking to meet individually with those affected to
apologise to them personally.
whose names have been associated with me all acted in good faith in
what they must have perceived to have been the best interests of the
organization, with no malicious intent.
has been a sobering experience. I shall strive to repair the harm
done to this organization by the public disclosures of a complaint
that was accompanied by incomplete and misleading information. I'm
confident, nonetheless, that the organization will eventually emerge
stronger from this period of relative trial and tribulation, as has
been the case so many times in the past.
disclosure of the "Game Plan" e-mail, no disciplinary
action has been taken continues to amaze many within and outside of
UNCTAD and the UN. Inner City Press now publishes another complaint
earlier filed with the OIOS:
Integrity issues in UNCTAD management
To: investigationsoios [at]
am an UNCTAD staff member with a wholly satisfactory UN service
record, and I feel obliged to report a blatant recent example of poor
management at UNCTAD, which is seriously troubling to many
colleagues. While this issue may not concern me in the strict sense
of my immediate employment or contractual conditions, it could have a
bearing on the general matter of personnel issues at UNCTAD,
something that all of us, programme managers and staff, have a stake
considered the options of either addressing myself to the
Under-Secretary General for Management or the Secretary-General of
UNCTAD himself, but I am concerned that such a formal open approach
could subject me to retaliation, or otherwise be ignored. And as the
Ombudsman's Office seems ill-equipped to understand and address such
a matter, I feel that the safest, correct route to bring this to the
attention of the concerned offices in the Organisation is through
OIOS. Please find below the full explanation of this matter and
attached some relevant documents.
I wish to bring to your attention the deep dissatisfaction
among many UNCTAD staff-members with the decision announced on 19
September 2008 by the Acting Deputy Secretary General of UNCTAD to
appoint Mr. Angelo Galindo as Officer-in-Charge of UNCTAD Human
Resources Management Service (HRMS), effective 6 October. Mr. Galindo
has acted since 2007 as Special Assistant to the Secretary General
(for personnel and related administrative matters).
This appointment comes in the wake of a series of staffing
re-assignments and appointments at UNCTAD that were arbitrary and
undertaken without proper consultation with programme managers and
concerned staff members or consideration of the impact on their
morale and career prospects. This most recent appointment confirms
that a pattern of faulty administrative decision-making at UNCTAD is
tolerated, if not institutionalized.
This has created an environment perceived by many staff
members to feature the same managerial impunity to which the
Under-Secretary General for Management, Ms. Angela Kane, took
exception in her recent UNOG Town Hall meeting. Regrettably, the
various administrative, oversight and inspection mechanisms intended
to uphold good management and safeguard staff-member's rights that
Ms. Kane stressed at that meeting are not working as they should or
else I would not have felt obliged to report this confidentially to
This appointment is problematic because of the official public
record of the staff member's service with the United Nations. Mr.
Galindo brought a case to the UN Administrative Tribunal (UNAT)
appealing against disciplinary action taken against him by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, following a 2002 ruling by
the UN Joint Disciplinary Committee (JDC) (UNAT Judgment 1151,
Galindo- copy available on the UNAT website).
In 2003, the Tribunal accepted that part of Mr. Galindo's
appeal that contended that the penalty to which he was subject was
disproportionate to the offenses that the JDC concluded he committed.
The Tribunal did not pronounce itself on the offenses ascertained by
the JDC nor did it accept other parts of Mr. Galindo's pleas. But it
did conclude that Mr. Galindo "should be granted priority
consideration for any position at the level for which he applies and
for which he is qualified".
The JDC had found in 14 January 2002 that Mr. Galindo should
be subject to disciplinary action because he had demonstrated
staff member has failed to comply with his obligations under the
Charter of the United Nations, the Staff Regulations and Staff
that the staff member committed unlawful acts…";
that the staff member abused the United Nations privileges and
that the committed acts discredited the United Nations…";
blatant lack of integrity and that the staff member's position as
Chief of Personnel of UNCTAD constitutes an aggravating factor".
When he informed the staff-member of the disciplinary action
that he decided in March 2002, the Secretary-General of the United
Nations stated that he had "given careful consideration to the
findings of the Committee and has concluded that the charges that
(he) committed theft and discredited the United Nations are well
founded and that (his) conduct constituted a serious violation of the
standards of conduct and integrity expected of each staff member of
the Organization, aggravated by (his) official position as Chief of
Personnel of UNCTAD".
The Secretary-General decided that "due to the nature and
seriousness of (his) misconduct, (his) demotion will be with no
possibility of promotion and would entail a reassignment to an
environment where (he) shall no longer exercise decision-making and
UNAT subsequently determined this disciplinary action to have
been disproportionate to the offense, despite acknowledging his
"bizarre behavior" under stress. While, UNAT ruled that Mr.
Galindo should be considered for any post "for which he is
qualified", the other facts of his record are not disputed, in
particular his proven lack of integrity and other attributes
especially important for the incumbent of such a position.
Notwithstanding Mr. Galindo's special skills in the area of
human resources "management", the official observations
about his competencies which are part of the public record do not
reflect the qualifications and standards of integrity and leadership
expected from somebody placed in charge of personnel matters in any
United Nations Department.
While everybody should be given a second chance even when they
fail, this staff member has been compensated fairly for any unfair
decision to which he might have been subject, first by being returned
to his former (P-4) grade, not to mention having been promoted to his
current post at the P-5 level.
However, awarding this staff-member line functions in areas
where he can exercise decision-making and managerial responsibilities
flies in the face of the standards that we are all expected to
observe as United Nations staff members and to which the
Secretary-General of UNCTAD personally committed at the outset of his
term in the form of an "Integrity Statement". Indeed,
UNCTAD staff find it difficult to believe that the Secretary-General
of UNCTAD is aware of the specifics of Mr. Galindo's record, or else
he would not have approved his assignments since 2007 in the area of
human resources management at the recommendation of his senior
another UNCTAD whistleblower states that "the Dr. Supachai/
Chutikul-administration did its best to revert a tacit understanding
that he must not be allowed to handle (again) personnel matters. He
paid back by helping Mr. Chutikul to recruit Mr. Bautista, former
First Secretary at the Mission of the Philippines in Geneva, now one
of the gentlemen of the game plan e-mail exchange, to a senior post
at UNCTAD and thus saved him from a pending reassignment to Vietnam."
Is this any way
to run an Organization? Some now question, when, even before
Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson and wrote about them, was
Team Ban aware of these pending
complaints and what has been done about them? Watch this site.
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.
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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