Stonewalls on Nepotism, Moonlighting, Even Climate Change, Briefings
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 2 -- The UN Spokesperson's office hit a new low last
week, misleading and then refusing to answer a question on nepotism
by the Secretary General's Special Representative to the Congo Alan
Doss, procuring in New York for his daughter a job whose previous
occupant was fired and pepper sprayed in the face, leading to a rare
man bites guard incident.
July 27, Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq
told Inner City Press that "it had to do with a frustrated
jobseeker... the hiring process regarding that particular vacancy at
UNDP was filled in accordance with their rules."
Friday July 31, when
this story which some call a cover-up had been frayed and disproved,
Haq would do it keep referring the questions, about Ban Ki-moon's
Congo envoy, back to UNDP, which had already told Inner City Press
would not answer any questions --
City Press: I had asked you on Monday about a violent incident
between a UN employee and security in [Building] DC-1. You’d said,
among other things, that he was a frustrated jobseeker and that the
hiring process was in accordance with rules. Since then Inner City
Press has obtained a copy of an e-mail from Alan Doss to United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) asking them the job in question
be given to his daughter and that leeway be given to him to convert
from UNDP contract to DPKO to get around rules, essentially. I am
wondering what, since Alan Doss is Secretary-General Ban’s envoy to
the Congo, what the response is going to be; if the Secretary-General
thinks it’s appropriate to have USG’s lobbying for jobs for their
family members, and also why the jobseeker was tackled by three staff
members and pepper-sprayed before he allegedly bit one of them. What
training has DSS [Department of Safety and Security] been given to
eject, in this case essentially, a whistleblower from the building?
Spokesperson: First of all, I challenge the use of the word
“whistleblower”. This was someone who was engaged in violence;
in a violent altercation, and so DSS was responding to that. This is
what DSS themselves informed me about. Second, on the question of
Alan Doss and this job search, UNDP have said they will handle any
questions, so I’d refer you on to UNDP.
City Press: My question is, one, since Alan Doss has appeared here
numerous times as Ban Ki-moon’s envoy in the Congo, can you confirm
that he in fact was a UNDP contractor until 1 July when, in part to
have his daughter to work at UNDP…? It’s a Secretariat question;
I don’t think it’s legitimate to say UNDP will answer for Alan
Doss or for Security.
Spokesperson: I disagree, and UNDP has said that they will answer
questions on this; so I’d refer you over to Christina over in UNDP.
They’ve e-mailed me and said they won’t answer and that, because
it’s subject to legal proceedings, there are no answers at all. So
I am asking, I guess, for the response as to Alan Doss. Where is the
Spokesperson: Like I said, try with Christina. She said that she’d
handle all questions on this.
immediately e-mailed simply questions to UNDP's Administrator's
spokespeson Christina LoNigro, who five hours later confirmed receipt
and said something would late be sent. Forty eight hours later, still
day there was
a UN noon briefing last week, basic factual questions were left
unanswered. On Tuesday,
July 28, Inner City Press asked not only for
a UN comment on an upcoming flogging in Sudan, and about the
"employee of the UN Mission and also wrote for a non-UN
newspaper in Sudan. And not to confuse the story, it confused me. Is
that permissible? What’s up with that?"
question about reported simultaneous employment was not answered.
Inner City Press separate asked the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations, which said an answer would be forthcoming. By August 2,
no response had been provided.
30 -- on the 29th, the Spokesperson's Office canceled the noon
briefing because Ban
did a 15 question press conference -- Inner City
Press asked Spokesperson Michele Montas about a "United
climate change center in San Francisco, without receiving any
UN's Ban and Spokesperson: few briefings in
August, few answers regardless
I don’t know if you have an answer to this, but in San Francisco
they’re opening something called the United
Nations Global Compact
Centre, which they say is going to be a climate change laboratory.
But they also say that they needed a brand name, so the UN Global
Compact has partnered with them. But it’s unclear -- like, if the
Secretariat or if UNEP -- what the UN’s actual involvement in the
centre, other than the naming of, it is going to be. Have you heard
about this centre?
No, I haven’t, but I can get the information for you and you can
probably address your question to the UN Global Compact.
I was just thinking, because climate change is so important to the
Secretary-General, I wanted to see whether there are some, you know…
But you know there are so many climate change issues and climate
change events taking place throughout the world. The
Secretary-General is not personally involved in every single one of
them. But I’ll try to get more information for you, and I think
you can get some on your own.
issue is climate change, but his spokesperson when asked about a new
"UN" climate change center tells the reporter to go get
information "on your own"? Nothing has been provided by the
Global Compact, either.
UN system now
has Ms. Montas in the position of defending the actions of MINUSTAH
troops in Haiti, for example being asked about but denying a story
young man who appears to have been gunned down by UN occupation
troops after a funeral last month received an all but secret funeral
himself on July 14 in Port-au-Prince because the priest and family
were fearful of UN and Haitian government reprisals. The victim has
also been finally identified as Kenel Pascal, 22, of Delmas...
Michele Montas, spokeswoman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
"categorically" denied that UN troops were involved in the
killing. However, Haiti Liberté has obtained a copy of the
carried out by Dr. Rodrigue Darang on June 22. The report clearly
states that Pascal was killed by a bullet which entered his right
cheek and passed through his head, shattering his fifth and sixth
cervical vertebrae and some teeth.
Furthermore, television footage
from Tele-Ginen showed UN soldiers shooting with leveled weapons in
Pascal's direction. Faced with the autopsy, UN officials are now
claiming that the size of the entry hole noted in the report - 0.5
centimeters - indicates a bullet caliber smaller than that used by UN
troops. Hundreds demonstrated in Port-au-Prince on July 28, the 94th
anniversary of the 1915 U.S. Marine occupation, to demand justice for
Kenel Pascal. UN troops have killed dozens of poor unarmed Haitians
civilians since they arrived to take over from U.S., French and
Canadian occupation forces in June 2004."
slated to retire from the UN later this year. Some wonder: might she
thereafter have a different view of the UN's performance in Haiti?
Office's credit, it did offer a correction of a months-old misstatement
about the Cambodia tribunals, and then a a further explanation, off
camera. It's rare and so we note it.
Friday July 31,
before the above quoted dodge about the nepotism of Ban's envoy to
Congo Alan Doss, a simply question about the UN Office
Affairs practices in treaty signing -- always retaining the pen --
also went unanswered. Tellingly, it was announced that henceforth
there will be no noon briefing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What is
that Office doing?
* * *
UN, Biting Incident Reveals Nepotism of UNDP and Congo Envoy,
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 30 -- The biting incident at the UN, on which Inner
City Press exclusively
reported one week ago, has its roots in a
glaring case of nepotism in which the UN's top envoy to the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr. Alan Doss,
lobbied to get his
daughter the UN Development Program job effectively held and applied
for by alleged biter, Mr. Nicola Baroncini.
When Mr. Baroncini was
suspected of knowing of the nepotism, documented by an e-mail to UNDP
from Mr. Doss, he was fired, forcibly removed, with pepper spray,
from the UN compound and arrested by NYPD on the basis of false
accusations. Doss' daughter Rebecca is now ensconced in the disputed
UNDP job, while Mr. Baroncini is due in Criminal Court on August 10
on charges of third degree assault.
case is an
early test of UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, in the job for 100 days
now, and new UN Security chief Gregory Starr, with whom Mr. Baroncini
is asking to meet in order to withdraw the criminal charges against
him. Also in question is how Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will react
to documented allegations of improper requests and nepotism by his
personal envoy to one of the UN's largest and most controversial
with the US Department of State, obtained by Inner City Press, show
the lead-up to the June 22 pepper spray.
On March 16, 2009, after several other UNDP posts ranging from
Cambodia to New York, Mr. Baroncini began functioning as assistant to
Ms. Ligia Elizondo, Deputy Director of UNDP Regional Bureau
for Asia and the Pacific (RBAP).
the complaint Mr.
Baroncini was "managing her personal agenda; screening inbound
and outbound communications; organizing meetings; reviewing documents
and other material; distributing tasks within the bureau. I had
unlimited access to her UNDP email account. My tasks also included
email filing (in my hard drive)."
month later in
April according to the complaint, Mr. Baroncini "witnessed that
Ms. Elizondo received several phone calls from Rebecca Doss. Her CV
was permanently in Ms. Elizondo’s in-tray. Also while filing Ms.
Elizondo’s UNDP email inbox I came across several emails from
Rebecca Doss to Ms. Elizondo. In one, Rebecca made reference to the
position of 'Special Assistant to RBAP Deputy Director' and said that
she would contact Ms. Elizondo at home."
Baroncini applied for and was one of four short-listed candidates for
this post, whose functions he was already performing. Other
candidates included Violeta Maximova and Rebecca Doss, whose father
Alan Doss, in charge of the UN's billion dollar peacekeeping mission
in the Congo, wrote on April 20 to Ms. Elizondo
This is just to inform that I have advised UNDP in writing
that I will transfer to DPKO effective 1 July 2009. I have also
spoken to Martin and advised him that I cannot transfer before that
date because the new DPKO contractual arrangements only come into
effect on the 1 July. He informed me that the ‘deadline’ for the
ALD contracts is 15 May so the period of overlap would only be 6
weeks (assuming Rebecca’s ALD would come into force on the 14th May
at the latest). I have asked for some flexibility, which would allow
a very long serving and faithful UNDP staff member a little lee-way
before he rides off into the sunset.
Becky is very excited about the
prospect of going to work for you so I hope that it will work out.
With my warm regards and thanks,
Special Representative of the Secretary-General United Nations Mission
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"
in docx text
format - download
City Press asked the UN spokesperson's office on July 27 about the and
biting incident and the underlying recruitment, Associate Spokesman
Farhan Haq said "it
had to do with a frustrated jobseeker. The only thing I
can say is the information I got from UNDP on this is that the hiring
that particular vacancy at UNDP was filled in accordance with their
rules." Transcript here,
But as Doss'
the complaint shows, since it is illegal for the child of a UNDP
staff member, as Doss then was, to be hired by UNDP, Doss asked for
"a little lee-way" -- to ignore what he called a six week overlap. The
propriety of a UN Under Secretary General making personal contact and
applying pressure to waive rules and award a job to his daughter has
not yet been addressed.
UN's Doss, at right, with Kouchner and Clooney: Doss is connected
and Ms. Doss were declared the top two candidates. Ms. Maximova
suddenly was offered and accepted a job at the Clinton
Initiative, and Ms. Doss was given the job.
with the Director of RBAP, Mr. Ajay Chhibber, on July 19. Initially,
took an interest in hearing out Mr. Baroncini, offering him advice.
But once Ms. Elizondo realized that Mr. Baroncini might, in the
course of his duties, have become aware of the improper influence in
the hiring decision, Mr. Baroncini had his email access terminated
and was told to no longer come in to UNDP.
according to the complaint filed by Mr. Baroncini:
voiced my complete disapproval and said that I will challenge this
decision with the appropriate personnel.
handed to Mr. Chhibber a print-out of Alan Doss’ email to Ms.
Elizondo of April 20, 2009 and told him, “In case you do not know,
this is the way human resources selection works in UNDP.” I
repeated that I will challenge this course of events.
a couple of minutes a man arrived. He asked for my UN badge and
requested that I leave the building. I began collecting my personal
belonging. The whole process took several minutes.
UN Department of Safety and Security Guards approached me.
Immediately, Peter Kolonias, one of the guards, ordered me to enter
office 2312 of DC-1. I complied immediately.
entered the office and sat down escorted by two UN DSS Security
Guards. The door was shut. Shortly, my wife joined me (she works
elsewhere in UNDP).
waiting for some time, I asked the guards about the procedures in
place and why we had been waiting for so long. In several instances I
was told that Ms. Elizondo was giving a written statement and that
once she had completed it would be my turn.
began asking for access to a lawyer and my consulate. I repeated this
request frequently (I would say every 15 minutes) both to the guard
inside office 2312 and to other officials that entered the office.
asked my wife to leave office 2312 and look for Mr. Chhibber and ask
him to speak with me. I wanted to understand if he had any control
concerning what was happening, and I wanted to share my concerns
about this absurd escalation of events.
wife left the office, but the guards outside invited her to join Ms.
Elizondo and Ms. Jovita Domingo, a UNDP human resources advisor,
inside Ms. Elizondo’s office. There, they questioned my wife about
our private life until a UN official wearing a white uniform came in
and my wife was invited to leave by Ms. Elizondo.
my wife left Ms. Elizondo’s office, they shut the door and had a
meeting. My wife returned to office 2312.
UN official wearing a white uniform along with the third UN DSS
guard, Peter Kolonias, joined the two other UN DSS guards inside
office 2312. They asked my wife to leave and shut the door.
UN official wearing a white uniform swiftly informed me that I had
two options: leave the building with them or be handcuffed.
felt that something very wrong was happening and again I requested
access to a lawyer, the Italian consulate and to give a statement.
second or third time I repeated my requested I was assaulted.
Peter Kolonias put me to the floor. The two other guards followed
immediately. They tried to immobilize me using every sort of
technique. I was kicked repeatedly on the leg, stomach and neck. I
was punched repeatedly on the neck, head and face. Twice, at close
range, I was sprayed a pepper spray on the face. Immediately, and
for about two hours thereafter, I was blinded and suffered tremendous
pain on the face and eyes. Other than limited access to water, I was
denied proper medical treatment despite my repeated requests.
I was handcuffed. UN DSS guards brought me outside office 2312 and I
waited there for about 1½ hours, handcuffed, sitting in a chair
RBAP Directorate area.
2:35 pm, NYPD officers arrived and I was officially arrested
I was escorted outside DC1 building where an ambulance was waiting
waited handcuffed until approximately 7:40 pm in a waiting room of
Bellevue Hospital. After meeting with a Dr. Falck, I was immediately
was brought to a police facility where NYPD took my fingerprints, and
I awaited transportation to 100 Centre Street.
routine procedures, I was jailed until 9:30 am of the following day.
The jail was no more than 17-18 square meters. The number of
detainees kept changing between 18 and 20 men. No restroom. Primitive
sanitation. No hygiene facilities.
case was reviewed, and I was immediately released without any bail
payment. I am set to appear in Court on August 10, 2009."
-- the pepper spraying of those who ask questions, pressing of
criminal charges as retaliation -- are the type of tactics that the
UN and officials like Alan Doss criticize in places like the Congo.
But the UN engages in them right on First Avenue in New York. What will
Ban Ki-moon, Gregory Starr and Helen Clark each do? In the case Ms.
Clark, she was officially informed of all of the above on July 27, and
her closest advisor Heather Simpson a full week before that. Now what?
Watch this site.
has told Inner City Press first that
was an unfortunate and isolated incident involving an employee of
UNDP on 23rd June 2009. UN Security and the New York Police
Department responded, and it is now being handled by the authorities
of the host government."
after a follow up request by Inner City Press to UNDP spokesperson
Stephane Dujarric that UNDP "provide the requested description
of the recruitment process, the name of the post and the person
awarded, and whether they have any family or personal relationship
with the supervisor or selector," UNDP Administrator Helen
Clark's spokesperson Christina LoNigro responded that "we
cannot comment further on this case at this time as the legal process