Pension Fund, Cocheme Coup Includes 43 New Posts and Double the Travel
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, July
5 -- As $9 billion dollars is about to be
from the UN Pension Fund, its CEO Bernard Cocheme is asking for 43 new hires,
and a doubling of his travel budget. He has said that if the Pension Board next
week does not give him these increases, and vote to remove what little
Secretariat oversight there is of the Pension Fund, he will leave in the next
two years. Increasingly, staff and beneficiary say out loud, Maybe that would be
for the best.
the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services found that under Cocheme, the
Pension Fund's information technology contracts were doled out to the ex-boss of
Paul Dooley, with the assistance of Sanjaya Bahel and Dulcie Bull. Mr. Bahel has
since been indicted and convicted. Meanwhile Cocheme imposed no discipline on
either Mr. Dooley or Ms. Bull, and now seeks to update Ms. Bull's status from
D-1 to D-2.
the proposed staffing of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations was cut.
Meanwhile in Cocheme's "Budget estimate for the biennium 2008-2009," he proposes
five post upgrades (Ms. Bull's is only one) and fully 43 new posts. While some
insiders call this just an opening bid -- "he asks for 43, the Board says 25 and
ACABQ whittles it down to 15," one predicts -- it is still noteworthy, or at one
observer put it, nauseating. He predicts that if Cocheme gets these post
upgrades, the next step would be to shift two underlings to Assistant Secretary
General, and claim Under Secretary General status for himself. Power corrupts,
and near-absolute power corrupts near absolutely.
Sach, Controller - but not of Pension Fund / Cocheme?
travel budgets are proposed to be doubled, in his new budget. Under
"Administrative costs," $429,000 in 2006-07 becomes $799,000 in 2008-09. Under
investment costs, the leap is from $563,000 in 2004-05 to $2,187,000 in 2008-09.
of travel, Cocheme's allies have written to Ban Ki-moon complaining about his
Controller Warren Sach's July 2-6 trip to Europe. Vladimir Yossifov of the WIPO
Staff Pension Committee expressed in a June 29 letter to Mr. Ban "disappointment
and concern at the timing of this initiative," saying it should have taken
place, if at all, at least four weeks before the Pension Board meeting, which
starts on July 9. It should be noted that the budget for Cocheme's coup, 116
pages in all, is only dated June 22. Who on the Pension Board dares question
Cocheme's coup? We'll see.
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