Won't Disclose Ban's, Le Roy's or Pascoe's Frequent
Flyer Miles, Ignores JIU
December 1 -- Two days after denying that UN officials keep for
themselves the frequent flyer miles associated with official travel
paid by the UN, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq both denied
having said it and refused to provide even an estimate of the
frequent flying miles racked up and kept in 2010 by Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon and his Under Secretaries Alain Le Roy and Lynn Pascoe.
from Minute 8:12.
29, Haq had told Inner City Press that frequent flyer miles are the
"possession of the United Nations... held by the United Nations."
On November 30 he said that the
UN Ethics Office says it is fine that they are not.
disclose Ban's frequent flyer miles is in contrast to Haq's office's
previous boasting about how many miles Ban has flown in his term as
Secetary General. How many of these miles were on commercial carriers
and how many of the frequent flyer miles has Ban so far kept?
will continue to pursue this basic financial information, from and
about a Secretary General who has bragged by transparency.
Ban and airplane, frequent flyer miles disclosure not yet shown
asked Haq for the Secretary General's Office's response to a UN Joint
Inspection Unit recommendation that the Secretariat (and other UN
agencies) ask officials to apply “their” frequently flyer miles
to future official travel, as done at the UN Office of Project
explain why the Secretariat has never acted on this recommendation by
the UN system's Joint Inspection Unit -- a recommendation apparently
not mentioned by the UN Ethics Office which at the eleventh hour was
called in to rubber stamp the personal taking of frequent flyer miles
associated with UN paid travel (and also the taking of UN staff
member time to work on Under Secretary General Francis Deng's book)
-- Haq twice insisted that Inner City Press should contact UNOPS'
spokesperson Nicolas George.
question is not about UNOPS,
it's about the Secretariat's (and Secretary General's) allocation of
frequent flyer miles associated with UN paid travel. Watch this site.
November 29 noon briefing transcript:
The document says US diplomats should seek to get the
computer passwords, frequent flyer miles, credit card numbers,
etcetera, not only of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but SRSGs
[Special Representatives] and Force Commanders. Would each of those
things, according to you, violate the agreement with the host
Haq: Well, on that, again, bearing in mind that
we don’t have any judgement at this stage on the authenticity of
the document, bearing in mind that, I do want to read to you a little
passage from the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of
the United Nations, and this is a direct quote: “The premises of
the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of
the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be
immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any
other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative,
judicial, or legislative action.”
I had some other ones on Sudan, but one thing that the
memo made me wonder is there is this reference to frequent flyer
miles that seemed strange. What does happen with the frequent flyer
miles of Ban Ki-moon or other SRSGs when they fly around? Are they
donated to the UN, do they keep them personally, what happens?
The frequent flyer miles of UN officials are
essentially possessions of the United
Nations. I don’t have
anything, I don’t have any details about what we do with them, but
this is all part of the Organization…
But can you state, for example, for SRSGs that travel, it
goes to the UN or do they keep it personally?
No, I believe on work that you do for the
Organization, this is part and parcel of the Organization. I need to
get further detail about what happens to them, but this is held by
Misspoke on Frequent Flyer Miles But Doesn't Explain, Ethics
Russell Lee, Exclusive
November 30 -- The UN has reversed course and admitted that
its officials and staff keep for personal use the frequent flyer
miles connected to their official travel paid by the UN.
into the documents released by Wikileaks including US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's request that US diplomats seek
the frequent flyer miles account numbers of UN officials, Inner
Press asked UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, “What does
happen with the frequent flyer miles of Ban Ki-moon or other [UN
staff] when they fly around?”
“the frequent flyer miles of UN officials are essentially
possessions of the United Nations...this is all part of the
Press had been told that UN staff keep the frequently flyer miles,
and even that top UN envoy in Liberia Ellen Loj was heard yelling at
UNMIL's Travel Office about “mismanaging” her frequently flyer
miles account, Inner City Press asked Haq again, “can you state,
for example, for SRSGs that travel, it goes to the UN or do they keep
work that you do for the Organization, this is part and parcel of the
Organization... this is held by the Organization.” UN transcript
the evening on
November 29, multiple UN staff members contacted Inner City Press to
say that what they had heard Haq said, including as reported in Inner
City Press' November
29 article, was false. They stated that they
kept their miles, that they had never been asked to return them.
with no correction having been offered at the noon briefing, Inner
City Press pointed back at the November 29 answer and said that many
UN staff said different, did Haq wish to correct what he had said?
instead saying that he was awaiting guidance from the UN Ethics
pointed out that what should happen -- the stated purview of the
Ethics Office -- and what actually DOES happen are too separate
questions. Still, Haq would not answer.
30, at precisely the time that November's Security Council president
Mark Lyall Grant began speaking at the Council stakeout position, Haq
went onto the UN's internal “squawk” system and read out a
statement about frequent flyer miles. Since it was impossible to
hear, Inner City Press asked him to email what he had read. It
followed some minutes later:
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:13
Subject: Re: Please email me what you read- am at stakeout
Inner City Press
has no policy on frequent flyer miles program because only
individuals can accrue them and since they are not transferable, they
cannot be recovered or converted by the Organization for official
travel. Therefore, using mileage accrued as a result of official
travel is not a violation of the Organization’s rules.
course, this was
not the question asked (and even then, the answer is dubious). What
was asked on November 29 was whether UN officials' and staff's
frequently flyer miles went back to the UN, and the UN acting Deputy
Spokesman twice said yes.
statement makes clear that the answer given on November 29 was false.
Why not then acknowledge it? On the Wikileaks scandal, Ban Ki-moon
was in Kazakhstan saying how transparent the UN is. But is it?
26, when Ban's Spokesperson's Office canceled its noon briefing despite
the UN ostensibly being open, Inner City Press asked some questions in
writing. Left unanswered four days later are questions about UN
payments in Haiti and Sudan, humanitarian access in Sri Lanka, even who
sponsored a particular press conference in the UN's briefing room. The
Spokesperson's office wouldn't never confirm that Ban's chief of staff
was going to Myanmar when he was already there. And: how did he fly?
UN's Ban in airplane aisle, policy and OSSG
candor on frequent flyer miles not shown
appears that the current UN Ethics Office under Joan Elise Dubinsky tries to find reasons that
seeming misappropriations of UN resources and staff time are
acceptable. We will have more on this.
Haq instead of sending Inner City Press the response to the
question it asked on November 29 choose to read it out over a
broadcast system that only reporters who were NOT at the Security
Council stakeout covering the Council President's statements on
Somalia and Haiti could hear, his Office put out a written response
by UN official Francis Deng purporting to refute “assertions of...
the Inner city Press” by name.
Deng's statement, which was only put
out once the noon briefing had begun -- such that it could not be
read and responded to as Haq summarized it -- ends with the statement
that Deng “met with the Director of the Ethics Office on 23
November to seek her advice on these matters. She assured me that she
found no basis for concern.” We will have more on all this --
watch this site.