Cricket-Gate Echoes at UN, Nepotism and Dubai Business, Faux Kofi
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 21 -- With former UN official Shashi Tharoor forced to
resign as a minister in India, the Indian media has been seeking
comment from all and sundry in UN headquarters. Shashi, charged with
steering payoffs to a close associate in connection with a cricket
team, has proclaimed that his time at the UN was without blemish. Is
a word, no.
Shashi bent the rules to get people jobs including people, shall we
say, very close to him. As Inner City Press first reported,
the people he got a job for is related to an Indian auditor who did
the first, whitewashing investigation / cover up of what would become
known as the Oil for Food scandal.
Indian media wanted to know about Shashi's role in Oil for Food.
Shashi's former colleague in the UN Department of Public Information,
Ahmad Fawzi, took an Indian television reporter to task for even
asking the question. He said he'd never heard of the favoritism
hiring allegations on the UN's 10th floor. Fawzi is retired now, but
he trumpeted the UN's line.
trumpeting, but probably falsely, was an online contributor call him
- or her - self Kofi Annan. IANS in India reported at face value a
posting by "Kofi Annan" defending Shashi and other Indian
politicians. Inner City Press will venture this is a faux
Kofi, a Faufi, to coin a word.
Ban & Tharoor, with India's
Ambassador, Gate(s) not shown, Octo 2009, (c) M.Lee
Indian media in New York tried to track down
the real Kofi, seen at UN Headquarters just the other day along with
top Peacekeeping Alain Leroy.
out to Ban Ki-moon in his quest to become Secretary General, he went
to work for a Dubai based firm that was seeking investments in India.
Shashi made it sound like a social venture, even a nonprofit, which
it decidedly was not.
But this is
not a crime. Nor is referring to
coach class on an airline as "cattle class," even if you
fly in the government's money and post the statement on Twitter.
Arrogant, perhaps. But not a crime. As to Cricket-Gate, we'll see.
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UN, As Ban Shakes Shashi's Hand, Shake Up Rumors Swirl
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 14 -- Three years ago, Ban Ki-moon and Shashi
Tharoor were competing for who would follow Kofi Annan as UN
Secretary General. After Ban prevailed -- one voter has written,
because he didn't wake up saying he is"God's gift to humanity"--
Tharoor went into private business, then ran for office in India. He
won, and was named Minister of State for External Affairs. Wednesday he
the UN and shook hands with Ban Ki-moon.
and a handful of other correspondents were shepherded up to the 38th
floor to wait for the photo opportunity. You are not to ask
questions, Inner City Press was told. This is only for photo
agencies. Inner City Press pointed out that in the world of new
digital media, the line between print and photo has blurred. There
were no space constraints: upstairs were only UN Photo, UN TV and a
single Indian photographer.
Ban staffer from
India came in first, jovial, and asked that his photo with Shashi be
taken as they were classmates at Tufts University. He was immersed
today, he said, in Somalia, in restoring order. Other Ban advisers
milled about in the hall, but Inner City Press was told it could not
start video filming yet.
the Chief of Office of the UN Department of Public Information, which
Shashi used to head. In fact, Shashi reportedly brought into the UN
the individual now the special assistant to the DPI chief that
followed, Kiyo Akasaka: Jaya Diyal. Her father, in turn, is described
by one insider as the "Indian Volcker," who help tamp out
an early inquiry into the Oil for Food scandal. And so it goes.
Ki-moon entered from a side door. "It's the Secretary General
himself," Shashi said. They shook hands, the Ban staffer and
Shashi classmate confined to the sidelines. The two men stood in
front of the UN logo and the flashbulbs flashed. They made small
you," said Ban.
of you to send me those congratulations," Shashi replied.
elected then appointed," Mr. Ban recited. Inner City Press was
tapped on the shoulder: it was time to go.
At least permission was granted to go up. Recently when Sri
Lanka's Prime Minister visited Ban, Inner City Press which arrived
early was told it was too late. Too much coverage, apparently. Before
its series about the Island of Blood, Inner City Press was let up to
cover Ban's meeting with presidential brother Basil Rajapaksa.
one wondered at
the topics of the meeting. India is said to be interested in taking
over UN Peacekeeping. Other say that as party to a UN recognized
conflict -- Kashmir -- such a post would not be possible. But that it
only an unwritten rule.
in the run
up to the photo op was current USG and chief of staff Vijay Nambiar.
It remains rumored he may be sent out to the field, and another
Indian USG sought for headquarters. Why not Peacekeeping? France only
has the post, insiders say, because it traded its vote for Kofi Annan
to the USG position. This is not even an unwritten precedent. Let the
shake up begin, some say.
in a dinner with South Korean legislators, Ban reportedly said he has
no interest in the politics of Seoul, and does not want to be
included in the polls. This was reported in the Korean press; Inner
City Press asked Ban's spokesperson to confirm it, for a read out of
the meeting. None has yet been given. Likewise, no answer as been given
about what Ban will do on the nepotism
case of his Congo envoy Alan Doss, who comes to town this week. In
the absence of simple
answers, rumors swirl through the now near empty building.
speechwriting and communications director jobs may be split in two.
Candidates for be the next Spokesperson are being interviewed, "very
hush hush," a denizen of the 38th floor tells Inner City Press.
Requests have been made for a briefing, never given, by the USG for
the Department of General Assembly and Conference Services. USG for
the Department of Political Affairs Lynn
Pascoe, subject to much
recent scrutiny, was more than polite by the stakeout. So was Mr.
Nambiar's deputy, up on the 38th floor. But some say the knives are
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