Inner City Press

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


ICP on YouTube

HuffPostLive on UNSC Sept 24, 2015
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Amid Scandal, Link to Kutesa Was Removed from Lykketoft's Page, Restored

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 12, update here -- The scandal unveiled in the corruption charges against former UN General Assembly President John Ashe, Francis Lorenzo of South South News and others continues to expand, including to Ashe's successor Sam Kutesa -- so much so that links to Kutesa's UN webpage and team were removed from current PGA Mogens Lykketoft's site. Then after Inner City Press asked UN spokespeople, the links were restored, without explanation.

  Inner City Press asked Lykkotoft's spokesperson about this

"This is a request for an explanation of the sudden non-function of the link on PGA Lykketoft's website to the page for his predecessor Sam Kutesa. The Sam Kutesa link previously led to a page, with a list of 'Team.' Now it lead only to the current PGA's page. Please explain - and separately, restore the link to Mr. Lykketoft's page (and comment on hold-overs, including from ex-PGA Ashe's team)."

 The PGA's spokesperson replied that "I think there is a very simple explanation about the web link but I need to check it with some colleagues before I give it to you..."

 Inner City Press replied, " For now, can you say how many people (and who) have access to make changes to the UN PGA's website?"

 This was not replied to. On October 12 at noon, with the Kutesa link still going directly to the current PGA's site, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: last week I was asking Stéphane about the sort of overlap between the teams of recent Presidents of the General Assembly, John Ashe, Sam Kutesa and Mogens Lykketoft, and it was based off… the website used to have a link to the teams of each ex-PGA, and I notice the one for Sam Kutesa is now gone.  It now goes directly to Mr. Lykketoft's site.  There's no longer a link on this list of previous presidents to his team.  So, I've asked them.  I know you're going to say, ask them.  I haven't gotten an answer.  I wanted to know, from your side, maybe you can find out, what is the role of the Secretariat and DPI [Department of Public Information] in maintaining the website?  And who is it that could have changed the link for Sam Kutesa, from a link to his actual team to basically just a blind one to the PGA site currently?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'm aware we provide some technical support, but ultimately, the content of those sites is provided by the Office of the President of the General Assembly, so we would get that from the President of the General Assembly.  And consequently, as you had expected, you would need to ask the Spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly about that.

Inner City Press:  Would you be concerned if access to information about this chain of PGAs is suddenly changed after the criminal charges were filed?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we certainly trust and expect all of our delegations, all of our offices, to maintain transparency at all times.  Regarding the content that they put out, of course, how they put it out, that's up to them.

  After that exchange, the link to Kutesa's team was restored -- still without any explanation. We'll have more on this.

  This is in spite of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon trying to limit the UN's inquiry to only two groups, Sun Kian Ip and the Global Sustainability Foundation, to which Kutesa's wife is affiliated, on the board of directors, here.

 Beyond those two groups the compromised positions of the others in the UN's orbit, including the South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development (SS-SCSD), the  International Organization for South-South Cooperation (IOSSC) and the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA) have come to the fore -- along with the Office (or at least website) of current PGA Lykketoft.

  On October 8, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: about the overlap between Mr. John Ashe's staff and Mr. Lykketoft's staff.  There are many people, they work in the UN system, they work on thematic issues, that's understood.  But, the Chief of Staff of Mr. Ashe is working for Mr. Lykketoft, and she's named repeatedly in the indictment as going on trips to Macau, et cetera.  And so, I wonder, it was described here that this is an entirely different office because it's a new PGA, but is it a new office, and what can you say to that?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I think you should ask the President of the General Assembly.

  Inner City Press had been comparing, using the links on current PGA Lykketoft's website, the teams of Ashe, Kutesa and Lykketoft. 

  But then the link to "Sam Kutesa," which until then went to the UN's page about Kutesa including his team on which Inner City Press previously reported, including the bid to post Kutesa's chief of staff atop the UN Department of Political Affairs Africa 1 division, suddenly changed, going directly to the current PGA's page.

  Last week, after Inner City Press asked Lykketoft about the use of his Office for the campaign of fellow Dane Helle Thorning Schmidt for the top post at the UN's refugee agency UNHCR, Lykketoft called it an "unfounded allegation." Actually, he acknowledged that Thorning Schmidt used a room in his Office for her campaign.

 Now, who is it that took down the link to his predecessor Sam Kutesa's PGA page and team? We'll have more on this.

  Both SS-SCSD and IOSSC have posted notices on their websites expressing shock at the charges against Ashe and Lorenzo. 

 IOSSC says: "In light of recent events, Mr. Francis Lorenzo is suspended from his position as Executive President of IOSSC." (IOSSC is ostensibly an international organization with members like Sri Lanka, beyond Ashe's Antigua and Barbuda and Lorenzo's Dominican Republic; it echoes to IIMSAM, a group now in Dubai whose impermissible use of Diplomat passes Inner City Press uncovered, even while as here there were attempts in the UN to cover up, here: IIMSAM with another former UN PGA.)

 On SS-SCSD's site, the link to John Ashe now says "The Page You Are Looking For Could Not Be Found."

 From other involved websites, compromising material is simply absent.  On UNCA's site, for example, there is nothing before 2013. But evidence remains on other groups' sites.

  Inner City Press yesterday published photographs from an UNCA award ceremony at which UNCA took Ban into a side room for photo-ops with the involved businessmen, after taking money from Lorenzo's South South News and giving SSN an award.

   While UNCA does not represent all journalists accredited to cover the UN -- Inner City Press for example quit the group in 2012 with another Executive Committee member and co-founded the new Free UN Coalition for Access -- the UN gives it a privileged position, a large clubhouse on the third floor of the UN and, automatically, the first question at press conferences.

  But is that appropriate, given that UNCA received money from South South News, “NGO 1” in the filing against Ashe? Not only did UNCA receive money from South South News: it gave the group an “UNCA award” at a ceremony at the high-ceilinged Cipriani's restaurant on December 15, 2011.

  Inner City Press, which did not quit UNCA in fully ripened disgust in 2012, was present on December 15, 2011 and witnessed, when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came into Cipriani's, him being shepherded into a side room for photographs with Asian men in business suits who Inner City Press did not then recognize.

  Shepherding Ban for this (compensated) photo op with dubious businessmen was Giampaolo Pioli, then as now the president of UNCA. South South News interviewed Pioli that night, bragging of the UNCA award it got / paid for, screenshot from video here.

    (For context it must be noted too that Pioli rented one of his Manhattan apartments to Palitha Kohona then granted Kohona's request as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to screen his government's war crimes denial film “Lies Agreed To” in the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium: this precipitated Inner City Press quitting UNCA, in full disclosure.)

   How can UNCA be given first questions to ask about a scandal involving South South News, from which UNCA took more then to which it gave an award? And what are the other implications?

  (In terms of Mr. Ng's desire for photo ops, Inner City Press is informed that he separately wanted a photo with US President Obama, and paid six figures to a middleman - who disappeared with the money. UNCA on the other hand, one wag noted, delivered Ban Ki-moon for photos at Cipriani's.)

  UNCA, it should be noted, has been and is open to business interested beyond Mr. Ng and South South News. Another UNCA awards ceremony was sponsored by a company called “Acoona;” the Italian oil company ENI pays the group money.

But UNCA's South South News connection, given what has been disclosed and charged this week, should at a minimum and as a first step disqualify UNCA from first questions from the UN, and from the continuation of its role.

Wider, and going forward in this series, limiting UN investigation to OIOS - whose director of investigations Stefanovic has resigned, Inner City Press hereby exclusively reported on October 9 - looking at only two NGOs is laughable. The scandal is expanding: there is a pattern here, pattern and practice. Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

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

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]