In UN's Capital
Master Plan, Skanska Bid
Event Is Closed to Press
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 9 -- As the multi-billion
dollar renovation of the UN's headquarters moves forward despite the
financial crisis, on Friday in the building's basement a sign announced
event, "Department of Management / Capital Master Plan: Skanska bid
UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban
spokesperson Michele Montas why such an event would be closed to the
public. "Yes it is not available to journalists," she said, arguing
that "it's not uncommon to close bids."
governmental agencies in the UN's host county require that such
events be open. Even the UN, when Inner
City Press previously complained that the opening of bids to privatize
North American equities portion of the UN pension fund was closed,
opened the event
to allow it to be viewed and reported on.
Press explained to Ms. Montas the basis of the inquiry, for example to
sure that the lowest qualified bid is in fact selected. "You can be
it is going to be the case," Ms. Montas said. But with the UN, can you
sure? She said she would find out why
the event, slated to begin an hour and forty minutes later at 2 p.m.,
"should or should not be open." Video here,
from Minute 14:37.
gotten not response, Inner City Press at 2 p.m. went down to the door
Conference Room 7 in the basement. A group of men walked into the room,
official came out, looked at Inner City Press and emphatically closed
UN logo, closed meeting on January 9
Some time later, three men in dark suits
emerged. They spoke loudly as they walked through the basement toward
Capital Master Plan's already renovated offices under the UN library.
other guys involved are Aon," one of the men said, also mentioning
"McWay and Premium," mentioned that the problem with the latter was
"they want several contracts."
UN's own Office of Internal Oversight Services and its controversial
Procurement Task Force have, by their own account, discovered UN
worth hundreds of millions of dollars which are tainted by fraud,
and corruption. Why then on its largest project would the UN insist on
events like Friday's closed to the press and global public, which
funds the UN and its work?
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
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]