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OCHA's O'Brien Wants New $70,000 Door, Snubbed by Saudis, Answers Banned

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- The Security Council decided on Antonio Guterres to replace Ban Ki-moon as UN Secretary General, the General Assembly approved it by acclamation, and the battle of some of Ban's Under Secretaries General to stay on began in earnest. This will be a series.

USGs like Cristina Gallach, named in the Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the Ng Lap Seng bribery scandal as having done no due diligence - and engaged in censorship, eviction and restriction of the Press after that - must go.

But this is a second update and exclusive about Stephen O'Brien, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, this time with financial waste.

  Inner City Press exclusively covered how O'Brien got the job, as the UK's second choice foisted on Ban Ki-moon who simply accepted that Permanent Five countries own particular positions. But more recently, when O'Brien visiting Saudi Arabia, sources told Inner City Press he was telling snubbed by the royal leadership there -- and stayed silent about it.

On October 12, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric in writing to "Please list the highest Saudi officials USG O'Brien met in his most recent trip to Riyadh, and who he requested to meet with."  Dujarric has not done so - but it is a question about Ban Ki-moon, whose capitulation to the Saudis on the Children and Armed conflict list led to this.

And Ban's own nepotism has led to or enabled this, according to well-placed and disgusted sources: "O'Brien is asking for a new door to connect his office to an adjacent conference room; cost $70,000."

  Again, this is a quesiton for Ban Ki-moon, who is responsible and whose nepotism for his son in law, the resident coordinator in Kenya, and favors to Han Seung-soo, have created this climate.

Here's how UN humanitarian sources put it, of O'Brien:

“He was snubbed big time - he did not get his visa until the very last minute - there was no protocol when he arrived - he complained that he had to queue like everyone else to get in at the airoport when he arrived. He did not meet any significant officials and was almost like a bless yes yes with the few lower level KSA representatives he met with. He did not raise any substantive issues related to humanitarian operations that are hampered by KSA - in particular in Yemen (he was there just before his trip to KSA). Stephen likes to talk big in the media but in front of officials he is very weak.”

   In order to try to keep his post, these sources say, O'Brien is sacrificing others:

“ he is very much threatened by the current discussion over who will take on OCHA. He knows that his own Government doesn't like him and he is trying desperately to have them keep OCHA. He is very worried because he wants to stay at all cost so he is very much 'prostituting himself' to find a way to stay. For that - what he is trying to do is to cut a quite sizable number of posts in OCHA i.e fire a number of people to show that he is efficient and can take tough decisions. But at the same time he is bringing his own people from outside to do his dirty job. For the functional review - we hear that he wants to bring Bruce Aylwarld - with his team. He is WHO ASG and was engaged on the Ebola crisis. So as you can imagine we feel that we are Ebola and Bruce is coming to get rid of us as mandated by Stephen O'Brien. He has not even announced it to the staff but everyone from outside speaks about it. As you can imagine - hiring people while firing others without reason is outrageous. What Stephen O'Brien wants is to control and use OCHA for his media coverage - his own career.

At one point he was even thinking about getting the post of the Chief of Cabinet as - as you know UK is fighting to get DPA or the CdC post. In fact he wants to be the only one in the media. For example - he doesn't like when Jan Eagland is giving press briefing on Syria on humanitarian issue and wanted to find a way to get rid of him. So he doesn't care about the message or the people - he cares just about his image. Matthew - what I am trying to say is that this guy care more about himself than the people who are suffering and the staff in OCHA who are trying to do their work. Everyone hope that he will be asked to leave. We just hope that by the time the new SG comes in it won't be too late. Please be our voice and speak up for us - Stephen should leave OCHA - he has destroyed our credibility.”

    We would certainly like to get O'Brien's side of the story. But like many Ban Ki-moon officials, worst among them Herve Ladsous, O'Brien rarely takes public questions from the Press (Ladsous simply refuses). The Ban Ki-moon team stood by amid open targeting and eviction of the Press. Still any response from O'Brien will publish. For now we publish this leaked email from inside OCHA:

“Dear Colleagues,

In response to requests received and in line with EMC guidance, i am pleased to enclose for you guidance on human resources management where organisational change can mean reductions in posts and by association of existing staff. 

We are aware that decisions concerning posts are being discussed as part of the 2017 budget formulation exercise.  Accordingly, i hope that the enclosed set of guidance can be useful to you.  Focal points and contacts are listed on the brochure enclosed, but if you have any specific needs, please do continue to write to myself in the first instance so that i may respond as appropriate.
best wishes

The attached package is designed to support any business unit facing a transition:

OCHA Transition Support Package Overview - An overview of all the support available at a glance

Managing Organizational Change - Reference Materials for Staff Members

Managing Organizational Change - Reference Materials for Managers

Quick guide on Separation Benefits

  So who's going to be separated? Watch this site.


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