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At UN, Presser With Real Estate Company, ICP Asks Dujarric, Any Ng Lap Seng Lessons?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 -- What has Ban Ki-moon's UN learned since the flurry of indictments in October 2015 for bribery at the UN of former President of the General Assembly John Ashe, former Dominican Republic Deputy Permanent Representative and South South News President Francis Lorenzo and Macau-based real estate developer Ng Lap Seng?

  On May 18, Inner City Press went to cover a UN press conference described this way:

“Press briefing by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (18-19 May) Speakers:

Mr. Frank Drohan, Chairman, Omagine, Inc

Mr. Sam Hamdan, Chairman, The World Summit.”

Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced and promoted the press conference during the day's noon briefing. From the UN transcript: "At 2 p.m. here today in this room, a press briefing here by UNCTAD [UN Conference on Trade and Development] on the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (18-19 May), which starts today."

On May 19, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about his and his offices role in allowing the UN Press Briefing Room to be used by a real estate company, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: the audit found that these… there was virtually no screening, for example, when the Global Sustainability Foundation held a whole event in the GA [General Assembly… in the GA lobby, is it really true this screening is always in place, or have things improved since that audit was released, or how do you square the two?

Spokesman:  I think this… I have no trouble squaring the two.

Question:  Has anything… okay.  This is what I wanted to ask you, and it's actually related.  Yesterday, in this room, there was a press conference at 2 p.m.  It was scheduled at 2 p.m., whatever.  2:30 p.m. it happened.  It said it was by UNCTAD [UN Conference on Trade and Development], but in fact, there were only two individuals, and there was no UNCTAD in the room.  And one of the presenters was from… it emerged from a real estate company from Omagine, which is publicly traded and there's an article in Seeking Alpha that it's a stock that's worth more dead than alive.  Essentially, it's a company in deep financial problems, and yet they sponsored an event in the GA Hall and were using the briefing room to essentially promote their business.  So, my question is, what screening… given that the current… the previous Ng Lap Seng-still-ongoing scandal had to do with promotion of a real estate project in Macau, how can it be that another real estate company sponsors an event in the GA Hall…

Spokesman:  I think it's… it's… it's not an invalid question, and I would ask you to reach out to UNCTAD.

Correspondent:  But, I mean, UNCTAD wasn't even here, so I'm asking… since I've been told that your office is in charge of the room…

Spokesman:  I… right, and we are.  We received the request for UNCTAD to book the room, and we honoured that request.

Correspondent:  Right.  And now that we find out that it's a real estate company…

Spokesman:  We're happy to look into it some more.

 The press conference began 30 minutes late; there were only three correspondents present, including Inner City Press. After the others finished questions, Inner City Press asked a simple question:

Is Omagine a real estate company? Frank Drohan said, it is a tourism company. Video here.

Inner City Press asked, is it the Omagine described this year on the SeekingAlpha financial site as

“Investors have good justification for being pessimistic toward Omagine’s future profitability. The question is not whether investor sentiment should be low, but whether it is too low. Omagine, Inc. (OTCQB:OMAG), a Delaware-based holding company, is a stock the market has apparently left for dead. In fact, investors are currently declaring that the company is worth more dead than alive. At $1.34/share the stock is trading for just less than 12% of the company's net current assets. This means that not only does the market value the firm's Property, Plant & Equipment at zero, but it is also discounting the net liquid assets by nearly 90%.”

   Frank Drohan said yes, that's Omagine - and called the article positive. He emphasized that he wasn't offended by the questions. Inner City Press noted, and notes, that Ban Ki-moon's UN is embroiled in an expanding corruption scandal due to letting a real estate company, Sun Kian Ip and other Ng Lap Seng companies, into the UN on seemingly laudable pretexts. What has the UN of Ban Ki-moon (and Cristina Gallach) learned?


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