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Who Investigates UN Investigator Ahlenius is Raised by Unsigned Letter Which Ban Dismisses

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- As the UN's investigative chief has been accused of corruption, the UN has nothing so say except that e-mails have been forwarded. Last week Inner City Press printed in full a whistleblower's letter to the head of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, Inga-Britta Ahlenius,  copied to Ban Ki-moon. Click here for that. On December 2, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas:

Inner City Press: I got a copy of a letter that was sent, I believe “cc’d” to the Secretary-General, but also to Ms. Angela Kane and [Catherine Pollard[ about what they claim are irregularities in the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), in terms of hiring and promotions.  It’s a pretty, it’s a long letter.  Are you aware of it?  Has the Secretary-General received it and what’s going to be done to look into the claims made in it?

Spokesperson Montas:  We’re certainly aware of it. The Secretary-General, as you know, came back this morning, at 1 o’clock in the morning, so I cannot answer on his behalf on whether he has been briefed on that.  But of course, Ms. Angela Kane received the letter and Ms. Inga-Britt Ahlenius has already received it also.

Inner City Press: But who is it, I guess this is sort of a structural question, if the OIOS is the investigative unit of the UN, who investigates OIOS in the face of this type of allegations?

UN's Ban and Sun, sunshine and who watches the watcher not shown

Spokesperson:  We’ll get some answers for you on that.  I know we have already asked for some answers.

[The Spokesperson later added that the letter in question was an anonymous one that had been sent to staff members in OIOS and one media outlet.  As soon as Under-Secretary-General Inga-Britt Ahlenius received the letter, she forwarded it to all staff in the Audit Division and to all Directors, and she encouraged them to discuss and comment on it.  Ms. Ahlenius said that “the only way to deal with such issues is to bring transparency to it”.  The Spokesperson also noted that her Office does not comment on unsigned complaints.]

  The "one media outlet" is Inner City Press; the UN's dismissal of "unsigned" complaints is of a piece with the lack of protection for whistleblowers in this UN. But still the question has not been answered, who investigates OIOS?  Inner City Press is told that the Board of Auditors was asked to do it, at one point. But this case is too timely. The UN's Tuesday dodge will not suffice.

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.

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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

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