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Darfur "Mansion" of Gambari Decried By Whistleblowers, Qatar Conflict?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 -- What is it with Ibrahim Gambari and photographs?

  In the wake of photos of Gambari's greeting International Criminal Court indictee Omar al Bashir, which the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman in New York first claimed not to have seen, then defended to Inner City Press, then weakly said "avoid in future," new photographs have been sent to Inner City Press.

  These involve the so-called "Hardshell on the Hill" mansion that Gambari had built for himself with UN funds in the El Fasher Supercamp in Darfur.

In Hardshell on the Hill: a reality TV show called Darfur Cribs?

  The set of photographs, only some of which are published here so far, arrived with this cover note from a whistleblowing source, also stating for example that when Gambari travels to Doha, the Qatar government pays for his "seven star" hotel and car. Could that be a conflict of interest?

  The source stated:

I saw that you recently had an interest in pictures of I. Gambari, UNAMID JSR. You may then like the ones attached. These are of the fully-equipped, fully-furnished Hardwall On The Hill residence built for Gambari in El Fasher Supercamp. Nothing to do with the prefab, containers and tents in which some staff live. Pity that this posh abode is not much used by the absentee overlord of El Fasher on account of his constant flying around on 'official' travel. Presently in Addis, busy lobbying some AU head of states / delegations, like Djbouti, Rwanda and a few others, with the assist of Qatar, so they'd ask Ban to extend him, as some Member States want him out. Although some had predicted the dear Professor's departure for last July, he is still hanging in there. Spent so much of his time at HQ, sucking up to whoever could keep him in that almost never used house on the hill that SG floor's staff have nicknamed him "The Supplicant". As to the house, it would be interesting to know how much did it cost and how was it paid for (pictures of business jet and IDP shelters not shown). Watch this space.

The final lines, yes, follow the Inner City Press style book.

Hardshell compound and UNAMID vehicles: the house on the hill

  So Inner City Press asked some questions,to a variety of sources, receiving in return confirmations and for example the following:

Jet is part of mission budget... Heard of monthly payment of $300,000 flying or not +flight hours and fuel. House on the hill staff are regular Nigerian military personnel, doing his cleaning, cooking, serving, etc. Relations with Qatar, very cozy. Seven star hotel treatment when in Doha, hotel tab and car and all expenses paid.

That would sure seem to present the possibility of additional conflicts of interest.

Cama de Gambari? Reality TV show not shown

 Inner City Press has a question pending concerning Qatar and conflicts: watch this site.

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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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