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UN Investigator's Work Criticized in Draft Resolution, Cronyism and Delay, Replacement Search to Begin

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 23 -- The UN's embattled investigator Inga-Britt Ahlenius found herself days before Christmas dodging a resolution against how she runs her office, amid other budget squabbles.  The fifth revised draft, obtained by Inner City Press and placed online here, pointedly notes that "investigations of fraud, corruption and misconduct in procurement are often time sensitive."

    A year ago, Ahlenius was directed to investigate the UN's no-bid contract with Lockheed Martin for camps in Darfur. Twelve months later, no one was been held accountable. While the Department of Field Support's Susana Malcorra says that Lockheed is out of Sudan, the work it was paid for but left uncompleted fell to Chinese engineers. No money has been recouped.

  Also at issue is Ms. Ahlenius' leaving eight posts open, and otherwise manipulating hiring to steer jobs to particular individuals. While her supporters say these irregularities serve a higher purpose, they ignore for example that she pushed to get an interview with then-Under Secretary General of Management Alicia Barcena for a friend of hers, Danielle Coolen.  Ahlenius refused to comment at that time, though Inner City Press gave her the opportunity before publishing the e-mails and story. More recently, Ahlenius has refused to answer simple questions including about the Lockheed Martin matter.

UN's Ms. Ahlenius with only one of the people pushed for posts left vacant, Lockheed not shown

  A whistleblowing letter from staff, which Inner City Press on December 2 asked the Secretariat's spokesperson about, was described as "anonymous" and "given to only one media source." Nothing has been done about the letter, nor the detailed complaint in it. The Staff Union has written to Ahlenius about what they see as violations of due process by her office. Her response, online here, states that while targets are denied the right to counsel, "the interview is conducted by one investigation" [sic]. The resolution asks the Secretariat to begin looking for Ahlenius' replacement. Given the lack of accountability, including fleeing from media asking questions, it could not begin too soon.

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

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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