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At UN, Lockheed Took Millions for Services Not Rendered, Budget Wars Ignored

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

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- While there has been little press coverage of the UN's budget committee this May session, down in the UN's basement on Conference Rooms 3 and 5, things are coming to a head. On May 14, the Secretariat's use of a $250 million no-bid contracts to Lockheed Martin's PAE subsidiary in Darfur was roundly criticized. Upstairs in the briefing room, Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe said she had heard nothing it.

   More generally, sources tell Inner City Press that "the Westerners" are trying to jam budget items through under unrelated agenda items, and that Brazil and others in the Group of 77 and China are preparing their own alternative program of work for the rest of the month. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would focus on running the UN right. But of the budget committee, which funds it all, Ban's Spokesperson's Office has apparently heard nothing.

UN's Ban as he swore in Lute, missing $4.3 million not shown

 From the May 14 transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask, in the Fifth, in the Budget Committee today, Inga-Britt Ahlenius of OIOS (Office of Internal Oversight Services) read out a report about the Lockheed Martin or PA&E contract for Darfur.  She was harshly critical of it.  She said that $4.3 million was for construction services where no construction took place, and she specifically criticized the Secretariat’s response to her audit and said that it was published without it being checked with her.  So I wanted to know, I am sure the Secretariat is aware of this OIOS... Is this money going to be recouped?  Can we get a press conference by Ahlenius and an explanation by the Secretariat of why they’re rejecting her findings?

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:  We can ask her to try and come and speak to you, but, as you know, you have to take that request directly.

Inner City Press: Is the money going to be recouped?  She said that she found $4.3 million paid by the UN for services never rendered.

Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:  This is the first I have heard of this.  So I don’t have anything beyond what you’ve heard about the... OIOS report.

Question:  Maybe Angela Kane as the head of the Department of Management will be the one to respond to this.

Deputy Spokesperson:  She will be coming; there is a date already set, as will Michael Adlerstein.

  The UN official who pushed through the ill-fated Lockheed / PA&E no bid contract, Jane Holl Lute, is now the number two official in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As usual at the UN, there has been no accountability at all, a theme to which we will soon be returning. Watch this site.

  On Sri Lanka

 On Friday May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:

Inner City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.

   What Ban said did not involve calling for a cease-fire, did not respond to the invitation to visit Sri Lanka, or the accelerating rate of civilians death over the weekend, during which no statement issued about Sri Lanka. Watch this site.

 Channel 4 in the UK with allegations of rape and disappearance

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

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

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

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