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At UN, Of 23 Officials Not Listed on Financial Disclosure, Orr Says He Filed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- More than a week after Inner City Press asked the UN why several UN officials were not listed on the UN's web site as having made any public financial disclosure filing for 2010, the UN responded about one of the officials.

  The UN said that "global goods" adviser Robert Orr had in fact filed, that it was the UN's web site that was to blame. The UN asked for what it called a correction -- the report that Orr was not listed was, of course, accurate -- and refused to answer about the other officials whose names do not appear.

One concludes that in Ban Ki-moon's UN, it's viewed as legitimate to answer questions a week or more after they are asked (and then to demand "corrections").

   It also appears that it's every official for him or herself. Inner City Press asked about the lack of a listing for UN Development Program Administrator Helen Clark, who has refused to hold press Q&A sessions at least at headquarters in New York. There has still be no answer; the same is true for apparently outgoing Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe.

(c) UN Photo
Ban, Kim Won-soo and Orr previously at Davos, upcoming Occupy igloo not shown

Inner City Press asked this question on Tuesday, November 8:

Inner City Press: On public financial disclosure, what I wanted to ask you, I think earlier this year the Secretary-General said that 99 per cent of his officials had filed public financial disclosures in the system that he himself has filed in. And a more recent review shows that that’s not the case…

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: A report by Fox News.

Inner City Press: I know, I knew you were going to say that, absolutely sure. But it is actually the UN’s own website, and you can look at and among the officials…

Spokesperson: I do, Matthew.

Inner City Press: I am sure you do.

Spokesperson: I do.

Inner City Press: Okay, I mean, I am talking about the UN’s website. Why hasn’t… why is Mr. [Robert] Orr’s name not listed? Just as one example. Why is Helen Clark’s name not listed and why… and what does Ban Ki-moon say about the 20 officials who said they will disclose by not disclosing?

Spokesperson: Well, I think there are a couple of points, and I believe that we will return to this in a little bit more detail a little later; not right now. But the key point is that you have to ask the question: financial disclosure to whom? The system of financial disclosure is intended to ensure that senior officials disclose their financial assets and so on to their employer — to the United Nations — to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. That is a normal procedure in any organization, indeed in any private company, too. And there is a distinction between that disclosure to the employer and to the general public. I expect that I will have more to say on this a little later, but I don’t have anything further at this point.

Inner City Press: But I guess I just wanted to… because I was… I mean, particularly the…

Spokesperson: I don’t think you listened to what I said at the end there, I don’t have anything further at this point.

Inner City Press: I know, but this story came out as you said you’ve seen some time ago. But Mr. Orr, he was at the stakeout today, obviously I didn’t ask him about this, but it’s a pretty simple question, when you look at the list of… he didn’t even file and say, “I am choosing not to disclose”. He is just not listed. So is there something, is this website not what it purports to be, i.e. a list of senior UN officials…?

Spokesperson: As I said, Matthew, I would anticipate having something further to say on this, but not right at the moment.

Inner City Press: Later today, you think?

Spokesperson: I said a little later, I don’t know exactly when. Okay. Yes, one last question, yeah?

  Not only were the answers not provided later that day -- as to Bob Orr it took nine days, and there was still been not answer for example about Helen Clark, much less Lynn Pascoe.

Inner City Press asked about it again on November 10, and then got a generic answer, disclosing that 23 officials never answered the public financial disclosure call and that of those who did respond, more than a third did not make any public financial disclosure. (This despite Ban's claim to Inner City Press earlier in the year that 99% of his officials had complied, a figure which Nesirky later called metaphoric).

  Finally as to one of the 23 officials not listed on the UN website, the UN nine days after the question was asked sent this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 2:44 PM
Subject: Financial disclosures

To: Matthew.Lee [at]

With regard to the Fox News 10 November article, please be informed that Robert Orr filed his 2010 voluntary disclosure and authorized its publication on time, as he had done in every previous year. The delay in posting was due to an administrative oversight beyond his purview. His 2010 disclosure is now online. Here's the link:

   Even this disclosure lists a mutual fund with a "thrift" -- a generic term for a financial form eliminated by the Dodd - Frank act, and a disclosure that does not name the institution. But duly noted, although not response was provided about Helen Clark, Lynn Pascoe or the 20 other officials not listed.

  Less than 24 hours after the above response was sent, the UN asked Inner City Press when it was going to "correct" its report that Orr had not been listed. Inner City Press said it would be publishing a new article, but what about Pascoe and Helen Clark? No answer was given.

    For the record, it is not a correction when the report was true was written. The "administrative oversight" has not been explained. But we are going back and adding a link to this to the earlier stories. Only in Ban's UN. What ABOUT Helen Clark, Pascoe and the others? Watch this site.

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

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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

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