At UN, Ahlenius Is
In Denial on Congo, Goes Slow on Lockheed Martin in Darfur Inquiry
Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
8 -- The UN's embattled chief investigator Inga-Britt Ahlenius, who
release two audits of her Office and declined to respond to questions
them, on Thursday denied each charge against her by rote, while saying
more detailed information would be provided in informal, that is
sessions. Before the UN's budget committee, Ms. Ahlenius contested
"accusations that OIOS ignored, minimized or shelved allegations
serious misconduct pertaining to weapons trading in MONUC," the
Mission in the Congo.
"I would like to underscore to you, as I have to the
Secretary-General, that these accusations against OIOS and the
completely unfounded," she said. But many on the Committee were
about this denial and about Ahlenius' various plans to pull
of peacekeeping missions -- even more so, after the
audits Ahlenius withheld were put online by Inner
City Press here and here,
"lack of trust in investigative outputs," politicization, nepotism
and a need for a "break from the past" at OIOS.
Inga-Britt Ahlenius: leading down the garden
A task that the Committee assigned
to Ahlenius in December 2007, to conduct an inquiry into
the no-bid $250 million
contract handed to U.S.-based military contractor Lockheed Martin of infrastructure in Darfur, she had yet to
complete. She said, "in response to General Assembly resolution,
requesting the Secretary-General to entrust to OIOS to undertake a
comprehensive review of the use of extraordinary measures in [UNAMID],
review... will be presented to the General Assembly in the second
session." The Secretariat added, in its "note on the report on the
activities of OIOS," that "the Secretary-General wishes to state that
in approving certain administrative measures in the setting up of
acted fully within his authority and did not approve any exceptions to
application of the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United
exceptions are everywhere. Not only did Ms. Ahlenius
refer to Management chief
Alicia Barcena someone she met in Kosovo, Ms. Danielle Coolen, to be
interviewed for the
UN's top procurement job -- now Ms. Barcena is pushing another
Baudes, reporting telling the Comptroller that she had raised
"case" directly to the Secretary-General. Procurement
is full of exceptions, and the
Oversight Office is no longer credible. What will it take to clean it
up? To be
On May 5, after again having requests for question-and-answer with
Inner City Press submitted written follow up questions to her:
--can you explain how
questions of facts outlined on Feb.
7, 2008 were, except for one, dismissed 13 days
later by Mr. Guerassev. Please describe the
steps taken in those 13 days.
Please comment on
and response to the the two reports on OIOS made public on May
1. You (Ms. Ahlenius) say that
you may reopen the Congo case, if presented with evidence by BBC. But you say that BBC has made no attempt to
contact you to provide you with this
evidence. Here are followups.
A. Did you read the letter to
BAN from Human Rights Watch, that was critical of OIOS' behavior? Do you have any comment or response?
B. Did you actually watch the
C. In addition to the HRW letter
and the BBC documentary, what more evidence do you think you need to
reopening this investigation?
D. Are you saying that if no one
from BBC calls you, then you will not reopen the case?
2. Was Mark Gough, and the
office of OIOS/ID, responsible for conducting the Congo investigation? Here are some followups.
A. Did Mark Gough resign, or was
his contract not renewed?
B. Did Mark Gough's departure
have anything to do with the handling of the Congo report?
C. If Mark Gough was responsible
for the Congo cover-up, was his removal from office your way of
D. Have you ever been
of any other cases where Mark Gough been accused by whistleblowers of
to follow-up on leads, with the objective of reaching pre-determined
conclusions? If you were made aware of a pattern of such cases, would you seek to
investigate Mr. Gough?
Neither Ms. Ahlenius nor Mr.
Guerassev have responded, more than three days later. If and when they
do, their responses will be
published on this site.
* * *
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