UN Belatedly Admits It Still Gets
Satyam Services Through ICC, Cover-Up Alleged
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 5 -- The UN
on Thursday acknowledged that it still receives services from Satyam,
so-called Indian Enron, through the UN-affiliated International
Tuesday, UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq responded to Inner City
Press' question on this point with a statement that "we
were informed by our Procurement Division that Satyam was suspended in
January... A communication has been sent to the UN procurement system
(including peacekeeping missions) and the procurement extranet site is
Inner City Press asked Haq if the UN Procurement
Division covered the
UN-affiliated ICC, and Haq indicated that it did. He then called Inner
Press' questions "obnoxious." Later on Tuesday, a more senior UN
official told Inner City Press that the UN does, in fact, continue to
services from Satyam through the ICC, which is not covered by the UN
Procurement Division. After more inquiries, on Thursday Haq's Office
City Press the following:
your question on computing/Satyam
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Inner City Press
3/5/2009 11:12:15 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
have received further information concerning links with Satyam,
International Computing Centre (ICC), whose procurement activities are
independently of the UN Secretariat.
UN Secretariat has several projects underway with the International
Centre (ICC) that involve Satyam. Satyam is engaged as a sub-contractor
The Secretariat does not have any direct contract with Satyam for these
projects. In light of recent developments concerning Satyam, we asked
find a replacement for Satyam as soon as possible.
While we will continue to cover if and when this
happens, the series of events, including the inaccurate answer that was
corrected after questioning deemed "obnoxious," has led two
well-placed sources with intimate knowledge of the UN system's
activities to call this either a Spokesperson's Office cover-up, or
intentionally incorrect answers by the UN Procurement Division.
arises, and is being pursued, who in the UN Procurement Division gave
incorrect information about the ICC and Satyam, and on whose orders.
Watch this site.
Back in January, the UN told
Inner City Press that "Satyam has been suspended from the UN
vendor database. The information has been communicated to the UN
system and the UN Global Marketplace. Ongoing contracts with Satyam are
currently under assessment."
briefing on March 3, Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe, does the UN
computer services through the International Computing Center from
so-called Indian Enron? Ms. Okabe said that while she didn't "have the
guidance" with her, an answer had been sent to Inner City Press earlier
the day. Video here,
from Minute 12:59.
UN's Ban and computers: Satyam through the
UN's ICC not shown
Haq's March 3 response to Inner City Press'
questions about the
UN-affiliated ICC and Satyam also stated
most recent contract with Satyam was signed in December 2007 for
work on its information systems. The contract went through the normal
competitive process. This contract was set to expire after one year
30 2008). In October of 2008, media
articles appeared on irregularities in Satyam's work with the World
Bank. UNDP approached the World Bank
proactively to find out the details of the alleged irregularities. As a result of these conversations, UNDP took
a decision not to renew Satyam's contract and began to evaluate the
while minimizing the risks to our information systems.
UNDP currently has 11 Satyam technical
consultants working on its information systems.
does not manage the UN Global Marketplace (UNGM), it is managed by
UNOPS. We are in the process of having the
misleading or erroneous information contained on IAPWG's site removed
unfortunately creates this perception. UNDP
can flag vendors in the UNGM should it experience problems and is
the process of doing so. It is worth
noting that UNDP's review of the published World Bank list of barred
did not turn up Satyam's name, in spite of such references in the media
Satyam having been debarred.
light of the most recent information regarding Satyam, UNDP, like many
companies and organizations, will not be continuing its business with
is currently looking for a replacement.
So while UNDP like the ICC has been asked to is
for a replacement," sources raise the following additional questions:
is the visa status of the Satyam employees currently working for UNDP
UN and ICC)? Does UNDP (and the ICC) pay individuals for their
services, or pay
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