Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .

Home -

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


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

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

At UN, Re-Sale of AIDS Drugs and Zimbabwe Diversions Downplayed, As Ban Met Mugabe

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 1 -- On World AIDS Day, the UN downplayed both the resale for profit of AIDS and malaria drugs supposed to be free in Africa and reductions in the budget of its Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declined to disclose the substance of his private meeting with Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, recently exposed as taking Global AIDS Fund money and UN finances in currency exchange through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Ban's spokesperson's office has been asked by Inner City Press about these topics but has declined comment.

   On December 1, Inner City Press asked Jimmy Kolker, Chief of the HIV and AIDS section at UNICEF, about the videotaped evidence of UNICEF malaria and AIDS drugs, including cotrimoxazole, being re-sold for profit in Sierra Leone.  Kolker replied that given the low cost of cotrimoxazole, even when resold, there might be more serious problem. Yes, how about the re-sale of bed net and other medicine such that families go hungry to pay for medicine that is supposed to be free? Click here for video from Sierra Leone, contrast to UNICEF's written and on-camera answers.

  Kolker to his credit admitted that the resale of cotrimoxazole is just "the tip of the iceberg," and that falsification and diversion of anti-retroviral drugs is prevalent. But what is being done about it? Last week, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson for a response to the Sierra Leone expose from either Ban or his envoy on malaria, Ray Chambers. But none has been provided.

  Inner City Press asked the December 1 AIDS panel about budget cuts of ten to twenty five percent reported at the UN's Global Fund. UNICEF's Kolker began by denying any cuts in pledges, then ackowledging that the Fund is cutting 10%, hopefully through lowered commodities and other prices. On the horizon is the possibility of a 25% cut, which Kolker called unlikely. Video here, from Minute 23:04. Perhaps the UN system has a different economic outlook than most countries' central banks.

  On November 26, Inner City Press asked the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs deputy Catherine Braggs, how the UN converts currency in Zimbabwe. Braggs bragged that "two weeks ago," Zimbabwe began allowing use of the U.S. dollar. Inner City Press asked about losses the UN had accepted up until two weeks ago. Braggs, and Ban's spokesperson and deputy spokesperson, have refused to estimate or comment on these, in an echo of the UN's cover-up of 25% losses to the Than Shwe military government in Myanmar, click here for that.

  On December 1, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe a follow-up question to the OCHA press conference by Catherine Bragg, which Ms. Okabe had moderated.  Had the decision two weeks ago to forego currency exchange profits by the Mugabe regime been triggered, in fact, from the exposure of $7 million of theft by Mugabe's government from the UN Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria? "I have not heard anything about that," Okabe said, adding that if OCHA wouldn't answer, either would her office.

UN's Ban and Mugabe on Nov. 30, 2008, stolen millions and lives not shown
content of meeting undisclosed, photo op for the record and for use

  An hour after that answer, Ban's spokesperson office provide a Global Fund press release, and urged that any further questions be directed to the Fund. But the question here is one of coordination -- did the belated change bragged about by Ms. Bragg spring from the discovery of Mugabe's rip-off of the UN's Global Fund?

Footnote: While Okabe read-out a list of African leaders whom Ban met in Doha, including the presidents of Chad and Central African Republic, she did not mention until Inner City Press asked Ban's meeting with Mugabe. Video here, from Minute 16:38. Were the diversions of funds, AIDS, cholera and restrictions on NGOs discussed? Ban promised Mugabe not to say.

  Inner City Press asked if the meeting between Ban and Mugabe had been planned in advance of his arrival in Doha. "I can find out," Okabe said.Video here, from Minute 19:32. She said she didn't know if Sudan's Omar Al-Bashir had asked to meet with Ban, or why Ban didn't meet with them. He had previously been quoted that he would distance himself from Bashir. But not Mugabe? At what cost this face-time? We'll see.

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

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

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -