Inner City Press


In Other Media-e.g. Somalia, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia   For further information, click here to contact us          .

Home -

Search is just below this first article 6/14/7 6/1/7

How to Contact Us


Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"

Inner City Press Podcast --

UN Pensions On Verge of Privatization, Cocheme's Power Play and Memo

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

UNITED NATIONS, June 27 -- The outsourcing of $9 billion from the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, informally put on hold earlier this year, is now back on the fast track. The winners of the two contracts put out to bid earlier this year, according to UN Controller Warren Sach, are ready to be announced.

            Asked Thursday by Inner City Press if the announcement will take place before or during the Pension Board's meeting from July 9 through 13, Mr. Sach said no, that such timing might be offensive to some, or divisive legal opinion was needed for the use of derivatives, and was obtained. And now the process is ready to move forward, Sach said.

            While the North American equities portfolio is on the verge of being outsourced, the remainder of the investment portfolio is coveted by Pension Fund chief Bernard Cocheme. Currently, the head of pension investments reports to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, through Mr. Sach.

   Cocheme wants to change that, and to put himself in charge of all aspects of the Pension Fund. To round up votes, Cocheme has traveled to Geneva to speak to staff representatives. (Mr. Sach, sources say, is also planning to travel to Geneva for such meetings. While Sach very civilly answers the privatization questions in a coffee break from a meeting of the General Assembly's Fifth Committee, Inner City Press did not then ask about his travel plans.)

            Bernard Cocheme has indicated that if the Pension Board does not give him these new powers, he will leave the Pension Fund within two years. Some say that would be good -- they point to Mr. Cocheme's failure to take disciplinary action on the findings of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, that Fund officials Dulcie Bull and Paul Dooley, along with the now-convicted Sanjaya Bahel, played roles in the awarding of Pension Fund computer contracts to Mr. Dooley's previous boss. No disciplinary action was ever taken, and now sources say that Ms. Bull is among those in line for a post upgrading under Cocheme's power play plan.

Warren Sach, speaking of UN Pension Fund, earlier this year

             Inner City Press asked OIOS chief Inga Britt Ahlenius about the Dooley - Bahel - Bull investigative report earlier this month (Video here, at Minute 31:24) and was told to ask OIOS staffer Florin Postica (who never returned the call). Another OIOS staffer told Inner City Press that OIOS was angry at Mr. Cocheme's statements that OIOS has agreed that no action needed to be taken. One would think a matter of this import, documented by the UN's own OIOS, would be clarified in the public record, especially now when Pension Fund chief Cocheme is grabbing for more power. One would think...

            Cocheme's memo, formally JSPB/54/R.27, "Restricted," ironically cites OIOS as in support of his proposal to seize more power, and includes a previous MOU cc-ed to OHRM's "Mr. Biessel," (actually, Denis Beissel) of Rwanda black box fame. The power play is shroud in cliches, for example paragraph 11, that "challenges are increasingly horizontal in nature. Information and consultation, which were the basic guidelines for the previous arrangements, did not facilitate development of coordinated, joint and pro-active initiatives, which should henceforth be considered a priority." The Pension Board will meet on this morass, starting July 9, and the meetings should be open. Watch this space.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

Search WWW Search

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service.

            Copyright 2006-07 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540