UNDP Fudges Herfkens' Part-Time Work, Dodges on
Lockheed Connection, Other Staff Files Withheld
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, February 25 -- In the wake
of the UN Development Program's poverty czar Eveline Herfkens having been found
to have accepted $7000 a month in rent from the Dutch government for years, in
violation of UN rules, UNDP has continued to defend her. As Inner City Press
reported, UNDP's Associate Administrator Ad Melkert has lobbied for Herfkens to
not have to pay back the housing subsidy, on the theory that she did not know
the rules. On Monday, UNDP placed online her contract, to claim that despite the
housing subsidy windfall, her annual salary from 2002 to 2006 was $134,331 --
or, the contract says, 80% of that. Click
the contract. There are two problem. In a
January 9 online posting,
UNDP said Herfkens was working 75% at the time. And while Herfkens claims
ignorance of the rules as a defense, the contract says that the rules have been
provided, and even talks about offset for UNDP housing allowance.
UNDP's online posting of
Herfkens contract contradicts its crackdowns on whistle-blowing staff members
and contractors. Apparently it is not the type of document made public that
constitutes a problem, but rather who makes it public and why. If to expose
corruption, it is a firing offense. But if to defend a politically-connected
get-over, disclosure of contracts is fine. Melkert was to be found on Monday
singing the praise of corporation, specifying UNDP's partnership with Cisco and
Partnership with Google, indeed.
UNDP's Melkert, lobbying for
Herfkens not shown
While UNDP issues defenses of Herfkens
and Melkert, it leaves other questions unanswered. On Monday Inner City Press
asked UNDP fewer than ten questions, none of which were answered by day's end.
One of the questions was a matter Inner City Press has already written about,
questioning the basis for the Africa business development for military
contractor Lockheed Martin being on the board of directors of the US Committee
for UNDP, and what safeguards are in place to make sure that no apparent
conflicts of interest arise from Lockheed Martin's status as a major contractor
to the UN, including a recent $250 million no-bid contract in Sudan. There is no
answer, no answer at all.
Footnote: while UNDP self-servingly posts online
Herfkens' contract, questions to the UN about the contract status of
profile computer technician have been met with a stonewall, a response from the
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General that "the United Nations
does not disclose information of a personal nature relating to individual
employees." UNDP's Hefkens upload puts a lie to that. Now what? Watch this
* * *
These reports are
usually also available through
Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.
here for a
AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army.
for an earlier
piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's
$200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.
Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go
out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should
be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a
necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and
many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone
calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep
the information flowing.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
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] innercitypress.com -