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At UN, Complaint of Eliasson Nepotism Filed by Whistleblower, Now Ban Ki-moon Response

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 10, updated June 11 -- Even before Jan Eliasson starts as Ban Ki-moon's second Deputy Secretary General on July 1, complaints of nepotism and corrupt hiring have been made.

  Whistleblowing sources tell Inner City Press that Eliasson's "former Special Assistant Ms. Shirin Pakfar has been brought from Libya on a Temporary Duty Assignment for 90 days to help start his office," at an estimated cost of $70,000.

  Inner City Press has also learned that outgoing DSG Asha Rose Migiro's chief of staff, before taking up the Burundi post he has won, is slated to stay on in New York for the entire month of July to help Eliasson settle in. So what is the total cost of this Deputy's transition?

  Worse, the complaint continues, "Ms. Pakfar has also made it known to many of her colleagues that she will ultimately be employed at a key P5 position within the Deputy Secretary-General's office after she completes a year in Libya and satisfies the mobility requirement for a promotion."

  This apparent "gaming" of Ban Ki-moon's supposed mobility policy, which for favored officials like Robert Orr and Kim Won-soo means only moving laterally without leaving New York, shouldn't accompany Eliasson's tenure even before he begins.

  While the complainant had attempted to send all this information directly to Ban Ki-moon, they suspected that it would be cut off and not reach Ban. Therefore Inner City Press is putting it online, here. Inner City Press also sent it and sought comment from Ban's top and Associate spokesmen, and from Pakfar at the UN.

Update: more than 24 hours later, the following was received as is, as "expected," being published here in full:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] UN
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM
Subject: Response to your question on Sunday about anonymous accusations
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Cc: Martin Nesirky [at]

In answer to your question from Sunday 10 June, the Spokesperson has this to say and expects the full text to be printed:
First, let me make it clear that we do not in the normal course of events respond to anonymous accusations.  The more so where they impugn specific staff members without attribution.
However, in response to your query, the Secretary-General’s office does, from time to time, call on the service of staff members from various offices of the Organization, for limited periods of time, to help support his immediate office.  This has allowed the Office to benefit from the rich experience of staff thorough out the Organization while ensuring that the maximum number of staff have the experience of working with the Secretary-General’s immediate office.
With regard to the transition between the serving DSG and the incoming DSG, it is recognized that the current level of activities of the Office must continue and staff of the office are fully engaged in supporting DSG Migiro.  Therefore, as is the norm, short term assistance is brought to bear to help coordinate the transition of incoming DSG Eliasson. This is a time bound and focused activity.
Finally, the Executive Office of the Secretary-General has been consistent in its approach to staffing the office.  Following the Secretary-General's open letter of 19 January 2007 on positions in his office, in which he invited staff members who meet the qualifications to express interest in being considered for placement in his office, posts have been and continue to be circulated to staff at headquarters and the field.  For your information, there are currently three positions posted in iSeek, 2 D-2 level and 1 P-5 level.  Others will continue to be circulated as well.
This is the open letter from 2007:

19 January 2007
Dear Colleagues,
My first three weeks in office have been busy ones, as I have staked out a number of priorities in the work of the United Nations. In addition to the many challenges in peace, development and human rights, I believe there is also a need to change the working culture of the Organization itself.  
I am convinced that for the United Nations to meet the global challenges of the 21st century, we need to build a staff that is truly mobile and multi-functional -- a staff better equipped to serve our Member States, and uphold the purposes of our Organization.
To give life to those principles in an open and transparent manner, I intend as far as possible to lead by example. That is why I am taking steps to promote mobility in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. As a first step, I have decided to initiate a new practice of circulating a number of EOSG positions on iSeek for a period of 10 working days, with a view to opening these positions to expressions of interest from UN staff members, both at headquarters and in the field. I hope you will study closely the job descriptions below, and I invite you to express interest if you consider that you are fully qualified and meet all the competencies required for one of the positions. We look forward to receiving a broad range of expressions of interest from throughout the UN.
As I undertake these efforts to lead by example, I look to all senior managers to follow suit and promote mobility among their staff in the same manner, beyond the requirements of managed mobility.
I thank all of you for your diligent service and dedication to the work and ideals of the United Nations.
Yours sincerely,
Ban Ki-moon

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