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At UN, To Buy Support for Canadian Auditor, S. Africa Promised Other Top OIOS Post(s)

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last Friday dumped a South African candidate in favor of a Canadan to head the Office of Internal Oversight Services in the discordant wake of Inga Britt Ahlenius leaving, several developing world countries cried foul.

But, this being the UN, the Ban Administration quickly moved to try to cut a deal. Ban spokesman Martin Nesirky, Monday at noon, predicted “overwhelming” support to confirm Ms. Lapoint.

A senior Ban administration official told Inner City Press that the vote would be Wednesday, that the regional groups were right that “geographic rotation” had been envisioned for OIOS, but that it just wasn't possible this time.

Tuesday, as Ms. Lapoint's nomination was put in the General Assembly agenda for the next morning, Inner City Press was told by diplomatic sources that the deal reached involves giving the other top OIOS post(s) “to a South African.”

The developing world was supposed to get the top spot, as one source put it, but settled for the second fiddle. It has happened before.

  But the irony here is that Ban rejected Ahlenius favorite Robert Appleton in the name of a competitive, transparent selection process. Now diplomatic sources say the deputy job has been promised to a particular country and group, non transparent, non competitive, quid pro quo. Not an auspicious beginning.

  South Africa and the African Group might want to remember: when Ban selected developed world Helen Clark to head UNDP, the deputy post was promised to the African Group. Then it was given to a Costa Rican. Bait and switch?

UN's Ban and two senior advisers, OIOS deal making not shown

From the July 26 UN noon briefing transcript:

Inner City Press: Friday evening, I was told by several people that participated that there was a meeting between the Secretary-General and regional groupings. This name that she’s referring to, Carman Lapointe-Young, was raised. But the thing I really want to ask you, because there seems some controversy about it, is that, one, did the Secretary-General say he couldn’t find a qualified developing world candidate and, two, does he disagree with some Member States, including Venezuela and Cuba, that the understanding in forming OIOS is that the directorship would alternate between developed and developing world, and does he… this seems to be being raised. Does he disagree with that? And if so, is it true that he couldn’t find a qualified developing-world candidate?

Spokesperson: Well, I will be able to come back to you once we get a little further down the road, I’ll be able to come back to you with more on this. But what I can say is that, from the conversations so far, there appears to be very strong, overwhelming support for the candidate put forward by the Secretary-General. But, as I say, we’ll come back to it in more detail at a later stage, I think.

* * *

At UN, Ban Doubles Down on Developed World for OIOS, Nambiar Spins to Staff

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 26, updated -- The UN Secretariat may be playing fast and loose with applicable resolutions and Administrative Instructions as it races to try to put behind it the controversy opened by the End of Assignment Report by outgoing chief of the Office of Internal Oversight Services Inga Britt Ahlenius, diplomats and UN staff say.

As Inner City Press exclusively reported on the night of July 23, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with regional groups and told them he couldn't find a qualified replacement for Ahlenius from the developing world, and so he was going with a Canadian. The name of Carman Lapointe-Young is being submitted to the General Assembly.

But several developing world countries are now saying that when OIOS was founded, the top post was supposed to rotate between the developed and developing world. So far it has been Germany, Singapore, Sweden -- and Canada? Even if Ban manages to ram his nomination of Carman Lapointe-Young through the General Assembly, it will increase bad feelings, and bad karma.

Carman Lapointe-Young, click here for a speech of hers on audits

Next, we have the letter from Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar to OIOS staff, trying to assuage them with assurances that Ban respects the “operational” independence of OIOS. But in fact, applicable Administrative Instructions show that Ban was supposed to appoint a OIOS review panel which, once appointed, could confirm D-2 level staff like Robert Appleton without Ban having a veto. This was never done, and Catherine Pollard's lengthy answers last week did little to buttress Ban's position.

Click here for Nambiar's letter to all UN staff, forwarded to Inner City Press and published here exclusively as a public service.

Ban held a reception with the Press on Friday, but Inner City Press was repeatedly told not to ask anything about the Ahlenius memo, and didn't. Ban will appear more formally with the press on Monday at 5:30 p.m. -- it's hard to imagine these issues not arising them. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, As Ban Ki-moon Switches from S. African to Canadian As New OIOS Chief, Post-Ahlenius Rebellion Spreads, Sources Say

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, reeling from the damning exit memo of the outgoing head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, may now get himself in more troubling in naming a replacement.

Earlier this year, Inner City Press reported that the new head of OIOS was slated to be an auditor from South Africa. This would conform to many member states' understanding that developed and developing countries would alternate atop the OIOS: Karl Paschke of Germany, then Dileep Nair of Singapore, then Inga Britt Ahlenius of Sweden. The next was slated to be from South Africa.

But diplomatic sources tell Inner City Press that on July 23, after facing questions for a week about his interactions with OIOS, Ban told regional groupings that instead of the South Africa, he would be appointing a Canadian.

This has triggered outrage among developing countries. It comes against the backdrop of ad hoc meetings to “revitalize the General Assembly” which are discussing requiring Ban Ki-moon to come before the GA to seek his second term, and not only the Security Council.

UN's Ban and auditors 2008, Canadian and Dag under Fire not shown

  Specifically, under the heading “Selection of the Secretary General,” the draft “takes note of the views expressed at the Ad Hoc Working Group at the 64th session and bearing in mind the provisions of Article 97 of the Charter, emphasizes the need for the process of selection of the Secretary General to be inclusive of all Member States and to be made more transparent.. including through presentation of candidates for the position of the Secretary General in an informal plenary of the General Assembly.”

   Interestingly, the marked up draft of this pending paragraph reads as follows:

10. Affirms its commitment to continuing its consideration of the revitalization of the General Assembly's role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary General, including through (encouraging (Algeria / NAM: delete and add 'the') Russian Federation: retain) presentation of candidates for the position of Secretary General in an informal plenary of the General Assembly before the Security Council considers the matter (Russian Federation); Russian Federation: bracket entire para.”

10 Alt. Also encourages formal presentation of candidatures for the position of the Secretary General in a manner than allows sufficient time for interaction with member states, and requests candidates to present their views to all Member States of the General Assembly (Belgium / EU, US & Russia) (Algeria / NAM supports Islamic Republic of Iran proposal of retaining as OP 10 bis).”

In the Security Council, placating or giving patronage to the five Permanent Members would be enough to gain the second term. But if the GA and regional grouping get involved, Ban's snubs like that of Africa for the deputy post in the UN Development Program, and the devaluation of the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, could come back to haunt Ban. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

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