Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 9 -- As the multi-billion dollar renovation of the UN's headquarters moves forward despite the global financial crisis, on Friday in the building's basement a sign announced an event, "Department of Management / Capital Master Plan: Skanska bid [closed]." 

  At Friday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Michele Montas why such an event would be closed to the press and public. "Yes it is not available to journalists," she said, arguing that "it's not uncommon to close bids."

  But most governmental agencies in the UN's host county require that such bid-related events be open.  Even the UN, when Inner City Press previously complained that the opening of bids to privatize the North American equities portion of the UN pension fund was closed, opened the event to allow it to be viewed and reported on.

  Inner City Press explained to Ms. Montas the basis of the inquiry, for example to make sure that the lowest qualified bid is in fact selected. "You can be sure it is going to be the case," Ms. Montas said. But with the UN, can you be 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.

   Having gotten not response, Inner City Press at 2 p.m. went down to the door outside Conference Room 7 in the basement. A group of men walked into the room, and an official came out, looked at Inner City Press and emphatically closed the door.  

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 the Capital Master Plan's already renovated offices under the UN library. "The 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."

            The UN's own Office of Internal Oversight Services and its controversial Procurement Task Force have, by their own account, discovered UN contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars which are tainted by fraud, favoritism and corruption. Why then on its largest project would the UN insist on keeping events like Friday's closed to the press and global public, which ultimately funds the UN and its work?

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

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -