As Ban Speaks of US $100M “Contribution,” How Spent & Reported?
February 17 -- As the UN belatedly provided the Press
Thursday with a written answer to questions
about the $100 million in
US Tax Equalization Funds being “re-purposed” for security
renovations by Inner City Press and others, the lack of paperwork
transparency remained striking.
17 statement says it's for “perimeter security.” But on February
16, a well placed source in the UN's Fifth Committee budgeting
process told Inner City Press that the $100 million would not be part
of the UN Capital Master Plan or even its “Associated Costs.” The
source claimed that the $100 million would be spent outside
the UN's perimeter.
17, head UN security official Gregory Starr disagreed, telling Inner
City Press cryptically that even if money is spent inside the UN, it
is to protect against attacks from outside.
UN has still
not answered Inner City Press' questions including to whom and when
will the $100 million be paid? Will a procurement exercise by held,
and a low bidder selected? If the pre-selected CMP contractor Skanska
-- recently charged with violating minority contracting rules in New
York -- is given the money, how can it not be part of the CMP?
UN has today
merely said that “contributions may be accepted by the
Secretary-General... updated information has been provided to the
Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, and any
further update will be provided as may be required during the
Committee will get paperwork about the CMP in March -- will this $100
million, and who is getting it and for what, be included?
With Spokesman, with so few questions answered, Ban Ki-moon doggle?
questions posed the past weeks, all unanswered, on which we will be
writing in the future, on February 10 Inner City Press posed a series
of questions to Ban Ki-moon's spokesman in his noon briefing:
Press: you’d said regarding this $100 million, you’d said,
repeatedly yesterday and the day before, to ask the State Department.
So I want to say this is what the State Department has said. Patrick
Kennedy, Under-Secretary-General [sic] for Management, he
says, “in this case, the United Nations notified the State
Department that it intended to use the TEF [Tax Equalization Fund]
funds for security enhancements”. So I want to know, who he is
saying the UN said that they were going to use it that way. Who in
the UN made that communication? Is there any paperwork? Is there
any, for the use of $100 million, is there any paperwork both
requesting it, noting the approval, and has the money begun to be
spent? What’s the… can we find out more about the use of $100
million, other than an oral statement to ask the State Department,
how the UN is spending this money?
Well, as you well know, this is something that is in the
works. That project is in the works. I think you will have seen
plenty of comments on this from the US Administration that make it
very clear the purpose, and the reason, and the full consultation
that is taking place, and the full agreement on what needs to be done
and how it is to be done.
Press: But isn’t the UN, I guess, if we are talking about $100
million, isn’t there some process either through the GA [General
Assembly], some budget document? Why wasn’t, for example — I
guess that’s really my question — is the Secretary-General, is he
aware in any way of this? Does this take place at the level of
[Michael] Adlerstein? Who is… it says that the UN notified the
State Department it was going to use the money this way. So my
question to you is you said, ask the State Department; this is what
they say. Who in the UN made that notification?
Well, I can certainly find out for you. The broader point is quite
straightforward: it is US money. It belongs to the US and it is for
the US to decide how that money will be spent. And it is done in
consultation with the United Nations. And that is very
straightforward. It is…
Press: Who gets the money? Skanska? Is the UN
procure… you see what I am saying? I am saying the UN is spending
the money. You can say it came from the US. But if the UN spends
$100 million, does it go through the Department of Procurement?
Is it being paid to Skanska? Do you see what I mean? It is a UN
spending question. It is not a State Department question.
I think it is, again, quite straightforward that there is the
Capital Master Plan, which is the refurbishment and renovation, or
more importantly, of the entire Headquarters building. And that
includes a security component already. But since that project and
the funding for it was approved by the General Assembly in 2006,
there have been obviously concerns about heightened security risks
since that time; since the project, the plan, was approved. And it
is in that light that there needed to be the security upgrade that
costs $100 million, and as I mentioned to you yesterday and to your
colleagues sitting here, this is a host country obligation and that’s
why the US is funding it.
Press: My only question is, if there is a security component in
the overall Capital Master Plan of which the US is paying only 22 per
cent, it can’t be said that that all security of the Capital Master
Plan is the US responsibility. I am just, I guess, I am noting that
why some people, but the main question I have is, if there is $100
million… My main question is just this: for the spending of $100
million is there any UN paperwork? Has there been any amendment to
the Capital Master Plan budget?
Well, what do you think, Matthew? What do you think, Matthew?
Press: Then can we see it?
Do you think it’s just done on the back of an envelope? Of course
there is, Matthew.
Press: I don’t know; that’s why I have been asking for
three days to say: when was it decided? It’s just that simple. Maybe
you have somebody coming in this briefing; I don’t mean to
keep asking, but…
Matthew, let’s go back to it offline. As I say, it is an
important topic and it does deserve attention. And we addressed it
very clearly yesterday and answered many questions here, and stated
it quite clearly and I think we’ll leave it here.
Press: : Just put out a single readout, it would be fine; it
would be fine. Just a written piece of paper.
a full week
later, the UN responded with this:
Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 2:56 PM
Response to questions about the extra security costs
Matthew Russell Lee [at] innercitypress.com
to recent questions on the $100 million in extra security
costs, we have the following information to provide:
regulations, contributions may be accepted by the
Secretary-General, provided that the purposes for which the
contributions are made are consistent with the policies, aims and
activities of the Organization. The last Capital Master Plan
progress report (A/65/511, issued in October 2010) informed the
General Assembly that discussions were ongoing with the Host Country
and the Department of Safety and Security in reference to the Capital
Master Plan construction scope regarding perimeter security. The
report is still under consideration, but updated information has been
provided to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary
Questions, and any further update will be provided as may be required
during the Assembly's consideration.
17 February 2011
As may be
required? Watch this site.
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