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UN Bribery Company CEFC Reportedly Seized by Shanghai, ICP Asks Why Still In ECOSOC

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Q&A, HK here

UNITED NATIONS, March 2 – Three months after the arrest for UN bribery of Patrick Ho, the head of China Energy Fund Committee full funded by CEFC China Energy, his ultimate boss at CEFC Ye Jianming has reportedly been brought in for questioning in China. Now management and day to day operations of CEFC have been taken over by the Shanghai city government's investment arm, Shanghai Guosheng Group Company, according to the SCMP. This comes while the UN, embroiled in a second corruption case involving Ng Lap Seng whose assistant Jeffrey Yim was sentenced to seven months in prison on February 28 (Inner City Press coverage here), has yet to even remove CEFC from its "special consultative status" to the UN Economic and Social Council. Now with the Chinese government taking action, for whatever its reason, will the UN belatedly move? Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on March 1, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: this China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) case, the head of the whole organization in China has been called in for questioning, Mr. Ye Jianming.  And I wanted to know, because it seems like since that indictment in November, China Energy Fund Committee has remained with special consultative status… Spokesman:  We've… I've answered that question already.  That is an issue… the Member States… a Member State committee grants that special consultative status to the NGO.  That Member State committee needs to act if they want to withdraw that status. Inner City Press: António Guterres is the head of the UN system.  Does he have… does he have… has he taken note that there are two separate developing UN corruption cases involving briberies taking place at the UN and what’s his response…? Spokesman:  We're very much aware of the issue and our legal counsel… our legal office is cooperating on these cases with the national authorities." We'll have more on this claim. Tellingly, Reuters which barely covers the UN corruption cases - in fact, it has a board seat on the UN Correspondents Association which accepted $50,000 from Ng Lap Seng's South South News - "reports" on the question of  Ye Jianming and CEFC's business in the Czech Republic, Russia (last year's deal for a 14 percent stake in  Rosneft PJSC for $9 billion) and Kazakhstan without even MENTIONING the indictment of Ho of CEFC, and the clear reference to Ye Jianming in the indictment, in connection with Sam Kutesa and the Uganda scheme. We'll have more on this. Ho was denied bail on February 5, in a lengthy oral order that found the weight of evidence against him substantial. On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against the head of the UN ECOSOC accredited China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) Patrick Ho and former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, accused together of bribing Chad's President Idriss Deby -- as well as, for Ho, of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda, since 2005, allegedly for the benefit of President Yoweri Museveni. On February 5, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman why CEFC is still in "special consultative status" with ECOSOC, transcript here (video here) and below, than ran to the courthouse. There, US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest asked Prosecutor Daniel C. Richenthal to describe the weight of the evidence. "How strong is your case?" she asked, to some laughter. Very strong, he said, adding that Ho has been emailing the "Shanghai-based Energy Company" (that would be CEFC China Energy) from MCC detention, to launch a public relations campaign. It may be backfiring: Judge Forrest in her ruling denying bail noted that if Chinese government press is describing the case as political, it would make fleeing and remaining in China all the easier. Richenthal said that Ho could travel to other places - he listed Chad, Uganda, Iran and Russia. The continued home detention of UN bribery convictee was raised by Richenthal and Judge Forrest, and not favorably. Gadio was alluded to as not yet indicted - he'd said to be talking about a plea - and Judge Forrest emphasized November 5 as the trial date. She said there was leave to re-apply for bail but said such an application should include what Ho's lawyer Mr Kim called the "context" of the payments. Kim said they including country-wide charitable and military aid. From a Chinese energy company? From the UN's February 5 transcript: Inner City Press: Patrick Ho, who is the head of the China Energy Fund Committee, is arguing again for bail today.  And the US, in opposing it, put it in writing that they've executed a search warrant at China Energy Fund Committee, the NGO's (non-governmental organization) offices in Virginia.  It seems the China Energy Fund Committee is still in special consultative status with ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) even as its offices are being raided and… and its head is in jail.  What are the procedures for… for…? Spokesman:  As far as I'm aware… you know, the consultative status of ECOSOC, as opposed to the DPI (Department of Public Information) status, is one that is managed by the Member States.  There is a committee of ECOSOC that is made up of Member States.  They give… they grant or deny consultative status to various NGOs.  I think we'll have to look… you can contact ECOSOC to see what the exact rules are, but my assumption would be that, if Member States grant, only Member States can take away." So, Guterres is doing nothing. On February 6, after another non-response by ECOSOC's chair, Inner City Press asked Guterres' and Dujarric's Deputy Farhan Haq, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  yesterday, the… Patrick Ho, the head of the China Energy Fund Committee here, was denied bail.  And in the… in the hearing, basically, the prosecution said and the judge said that she found weight to be given to the evidence that basically the NGO [non-governmental organization] was a front for bribery to Sam Kutesa and others.  So, given that… how this trial is going, I'm wondering, again, Stéphane [Dujarric] had said that the Secretariat plays no role in sort of following through and making sure that China Energy Fund Committee can't continue to say it's a… in special consultative status with ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council].  I've written to the ECOSOC chair now twice, 28 November 2017 and today, but I don't have anything back.  Is there any spokesperson for ECOSOC that can at least say what the process is? Deputy Spokesman:  There is a spokesperson for the President of the Economic and Social [Council], and I can give you that contact afterwards. Inner City Press: Because… because Brenden… oh.  Yeah.  Anyways, I'd written before to that same individual, and there was no response.  I'm just… guess I'm wondering, what is their… what is the… does the Secretary-General… given that trial that's now moving forward and what's coming out in it, does he believe in the same way that he has… asserting himself as to agencies on other issues, that he should maybe get involved to ensure that there's not a… a named briber saying that they're in consultative status with the UN? Deputy Spokesman:  "Well, UN bodies themselves have been dealing with the problems created by the China Energy Fund Committee in their own ways, but what you're talking about is consultative status that's granted by Member States through the Economic and Social Council, and that decision would have to be taken by Member States." Then Inner City Press emailed the alluded to spokesman, one Paul Simon. Hours later, nothing. In advance of the February 5, the prosecution in writing asserted that "since the Complaint was signed and Ho was arrested, the evidence of his guilt has only become stronger, as the Government has interviewed witnesses, executed search warrants (including for the Virginia office of the Energy NGO), and obtained documents from third parties." Tellingly, this Energy NGO, China Energy Fund Committee, is *still* in special consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council - and Guterres met with Uganda's Museveni, who is in the complaint, at the same AU summit where Guterres met Sudan's Omar al Bashir, without issuing any read-out. The prosecution's letter cites the "President of the UN General Assembly (the “Ugandan Foreign Minister”). Ho also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda (who is the Ugandan Foreign Minister’s relative), with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to let both officials share in the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and the officials’ family businesses." On January 27, after belatedly dropping CEFC from the UN Global Compact, Guterres in Addis Ababa met Museveni, with Kutesa himself in Addis as well. Museveni tweeted a photo and read out -- "Met UN Secretary General @antonioguterres on the sidelines of the 30th AU Ordinary Summit in Addis Ababa. We discussed regional peace, UN reforms and support for refugees." Meanwhile, consistent his declining transparency, Guterres did not issue any read out. Did the UN bribery scandal come up? Or get further covered up? As Inner City Press pursues this story and others, Guterres and his "Global Communicator" Alison Smale, seen January 26 in South Carolina praising a Chinese airline while mis-allocating funds meant for Kiswahili radio, keep Inner City Press more restricted in the UN than no-show state media. This is censorship for corruption.

Inner City Press has covered the Ho / Gadio, Kutesa / Museveni case and repeatedly asked the UN Spokesman why Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not even started an audit based on the indictment, including of how CEFC got its UN status and even remains in the UN Global Compact espousing anti-corruption goals. On January 16, Inner City Press put the question directly to Antonio Guterres, video here, UN transcript here, and below. Guterres said "I will look into it... We don't want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles." But a week passed, and nothing. On January 24, Inner City Press asked again. And on January 25, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced, Matthew you've asked once or twice, the Global Compact has suspended China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC China Energy). But, Inner City Press notes, China Energy Fund Committee is *still* in special consultative status with UN ECOSOC. And there has been no audit of the other connections. We'll have more on this. From the UN's January 16 transcript: Q: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for more question and answer in 2018, as you said. In November, there there was an indictment announced in Federal Court downtown of the head of an ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council)-accredited NGO for bribing, allegedly bribing, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, to benefit the China Energy Fund Committee. And I wanted to ask you, that remains still in the Global Compact, and there hasn't been even an audit or anything created. Why haven't you started an audit in that case? Why is the beneficiary of what's described as bribery in the UN still in the Global Compact? And how do your reforms preclude or make impossible this type of bribery that's now happened twice under John Ashe, may he rest in peace, and under Sam Kutesa?  SG Guterres: "In relation to other cases, I would like to say that I'm not aware of presence in the Compact or whatever. I will have to look into it. I will look into it. What is clear for me is that we don't want the Compact to have companies that do not abide by the set of principles that were defined in the constitution of the Compact. There is a code of conduct that is there, and that should be respected. So, I don't know exactly what happened in the compact in that regard. I will look into that." We'll see. Ho's lawyers said in court filing he would be asking to be released on bail in connection with his arraignment on January 8, and his argument included that he is the head of "UN recognized" NGO similar, Ho's brief argued, to the American Bar Association, the Salvation Army and the World Jewish Congress.

But when Ho pleaded not guilty to the eight counts against him on January 8, his lawyers did not in fact pursue bail, and declined to comment after. (Sidewalk stakeout photo here, h/t) So, Ho remains in jail. His lawyers' filing, dated January 5, says Ho is "the leader of a non-governmental organization recognized by the United Nations....After leaving government service, Dr. Ho became the Deputy Chairman and Secretary General of the China Energy Fund Committee (“CEFC”), a Hong Kong based non governmental organization that has Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Other organizations with Special Consultative Status include the American Bar Association, the Salvation Army, and the World Jewish Congress." The proposal was for Ho to be released on $10 million bond secured by $2 million in cash, into home detention in Manhattan with electronic monitoring.

We'll have more on this - and this: continuing a trend of under-reporting the UN elements of the Ho / Gadio case, as they did the prior Ng Lap Seng case, Reuters "reports" that Sam Kutesa, who previously served as president of the U.N. General Assembly, has been Uganda’s foreign minister since 2015." Well, no. Kutesa remained foreign minister of Uganda WHILE he was President of the UN General Assembly; cursory research could have shown he began as foreign minister in 2005, not 2015.

The initial complaint has been turned in a full-fledged indictment, signed by the foreperson, that Ho offered bribed to the presidents of Chad and Uganda, and the foreign minister of the latter, Sam Kutesa, who was President of the General Assembly, to benefit the Energy Company. And yet that benefited Energy Company - CEFC China Energy - remains in Antonio Guterres' UN Global Compact, and Guterres has yet to order even an audit. On December 20, before Guterres went on vacation until at least January 2, Inner City Press asked his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  there's now been, by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York, a formal indictment brought back against Patrick Ho, and I wanted to read you… they say in it the… the… the… now a grand jury has given its imprimatur on the claim that the bribes paid… allegedly paid were to obtain business for the energy company, the energy company being CEFC, China Energy [Fund Committee], which remains a U… a member of the UN Global Compact.  I'm just wondering if there's any update… seems like the… it's not… maybe the distinction was between the NGO and the group, but if the bribes were paid specifically for the groups to get energy contracts… Spokesman:  I'm sure colleagues at Global Compact are following up. Inner City Press:  And is the Secretary-General any closer to… to ordering what would seem to be a pretty easy call to have an audit of how… of… of the UN's involvement in this and what it can learn from this? Spokesman:  As I said, when I have something to announce, I will share it with you." After January 2? Today's UN is corrupt. On December 1, Patrick Ho appeared in the Arraignment Part, Courtroom 5A at 500 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan and applied for bail, which Gadio had gotten on November 27. But this time, following a Pre-Trial Services recommendation that bail be denied and Ho continue in detention, Ho was denied bail. At the UN, there are photos of Ho with the Secretary General, the Under Secretary General of DESA, and many others. There's more. On December 4, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Periscope video here (2d half), UN transcript here: Inner City Press: So on Friday in federal court, he was held over.  Bail was denied based on the seriousness of the charges.  Since then, you've… there's been some back and forth on why there's no audit.  But it appears that he was put onto something called the UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport (see here), was a member of that.  I've seen an interview he did in the building with UN Radio about presenting a report, that report, I believe, in October 2016 to Ban Ki-moon.  So it seems like he had much greater UN penetration even than Ng Lap Seng did, which triggered an audit.  So I'm wondering, has the UN, whether audit or not, can it say how many times, for example, one issue that came up in the bail hearing was how many times he was in the US in 2017.  So have you… has the UN determined the extent of this now-indicted briber's contact inside the UN, and was he, in fact, on an UN High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport? Spokesman:  "I will check on that.  If I have more to share, I will." This is called a cover up. Where does the US decided to cut off the prosecution? Inner City Press has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request, on which the government has at least for now denied expedited processing, stating only "Your request for Expedited Processing for the FOIA request EOUSA-2018-000784 has been denied. Expedited Disposition Reason: Does not meet standard." This is substantially less detailed that the reasoning, even on the disposition sheet, for Ho's denial of bail. We'll have more on this. During the December 1 hearing Prosecutor Daniel Richenthal said, Google the press coverage of this case and from Hong Kong you'll find articles saying it's political. Inner City Press has covered the case daily since November 20, and asked the UN Spokesman on each business day (it did a TV interview after the court decision, and Periscope video here) - but it is the UN connection which the UN tries to hide. Ho's lawyer said he's been to the US seven times this years. The prosecution said, five times. But how many times has Ho come into the UN? The UN keeps track of this. But will they disclose? Ho's defense lawyer, after a long oral decision against him, said he will appeal. Watch this site. Hhours before Patrick Ho's bail hearing, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Gadio's bail being paid, in part, by his spouse the UN's Resident Coordinator in Equatorial Guinea. Dujarric bristled that he hoped his spouse would pay his bail, but then when Inner City Press asked how Gadio got into the UN building for the bribe moves described in the indictment, whether it involved his wife's position as a senior UN official, Dujarric said it would be looked into. Really? Then why has Antonio Guterres not even commissioned an audit, as Ban Ki-moon did after the indictment of Ng Lap Seng? We'll have more on this. Inner City Press has zeroed in on a November 21 event, after the indictment, in which UN DESA used $1 million from CEFC. On November 30, after many rounds of questions from Inner City Press, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric answered that DESA has suspended work with CEFC pending the outcome of the U.S. case(s). Periscope here, video forthcoming. He could not, however, explain why the $1 million went out the door on November 21 nor why there is yet to be a UN audit. On November 21, Inner City Press had already asked about the indictment, and Antonio Guterres in a typical half-way measure canceled his photo op about the event, but the money was still used. Deputy SG Amina Mohammed never changed her schedule, but the UN now insists she did not speak. The UN also on November 29 declined to confirm to Inner City Press Patrick Ho's role on the steering board picking the winner of the UN DESA Energy Grant. But now even as of November 30 Ho is still listed and pictured on the UN DESA Energy Prize Steering Board, along with former UN official Warren Sach and current UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, who refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about any post-John Ashe indictment reforms at UNDP ostensibly out of respect for the dead. Reform at the UN is a dead letter. We'll have more on this. After Inner City Press on November 29 asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly, this: "The Spokesperson was asked if the President had attended an award ceremony entitled “Powering the Future We Want/UN DESA Energy Grant” on 21 November.
The Spokesperson replied that the President had not attended or participated in any way." But it was still on his schedule as of noon on November 28. What happened? Who decided that backing away, but still taking the money, was OK? If the UN had a Freedom of Information Act, as it should, the answer would be easy. But we will get it nonetheless. Watch this site. UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric on November 27 insisted to Inner City Press that the indictment does not involve enough UN links for oft-traveling Antonio Guterres to order any UN audit, as even Ban Ki-moon did after Ng Lap Seng was indicted; Guterres' DESA even went forward with $1 million from CEFC after the indictment. But beyond other obvious UN links, "CEFC China Energy Company Limited" is a member of the UN Global Compact, click here to view, on which Guterres cannot pass the buck to ECOSOC or to member states generally. CEFC China Energy is the 100% funder of its namesake CEFC of Patrick Ho; signing its UN Global Compact letter was Ye Jianming, who Sam Kutesa made a Special Honorary Adviser to the UN President of the General Assembly, press release and photo here.  When will Guterres' evasions end? Watch this site. Dujarric on November 27 also insisted to Inner City Press that the case does not involve any UN staff member, that no audit (even of the kind done under Ban Ki-moon of Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Foundation) is needed. But beyond CEFC's money used by Guterres' UN on November 21, after the indictment, consider this: Gadio is being bailed out by the UN Resident Coordinator in Equatorial Guinea. What did this UN staff member know about what is alleged in the indictment, and when did she know it? Gadio, after having not gotten bailed out on November 22, appeared on November 27 before Federal Judge William Pauley, represented by Debevoise and Plimpton, and obtained conditions for bail. It was Debevoise and Plimpton's counsel who in seeking to get Gadio released made a point of saying that the other Doctor Gadio is a senior UN official, in Equatorial Guinea. Inner City Press now reports: the Resident Coordinator in Equatorial Guinea, and listed owner of 4210 Sugar Pine Court in Burtonsville, Maryland, 20866: Coumba Mar Gadio. So why did Dujarric say so insistently and rudely, this involves no UN staff member? There is more, but we'll start with this -- watch for the UN to try to hide behind family values, as it uses and pollutes the sustainable development goals to cover up the illegal export of natural resources. This is today's UN. Pre-hearing Periscope video here. In the courtroom on November 27 was Senegal's Consul General, who shook his head when the prosecution said that a "Chinese energy conglomate" -- CEFC -- or paradoxically Uganda might help Gadio flee. It emerged that Mrs. Gadio, also a co-signer on the bond and on a $700,000 bank account with Cheikh Gadio, works for the UN in a high position in Equatorial Guinea. Still the UN claims this case has nothing to do with it, and that there is nothing for it to audit. This, from the UN, is a cover up. Post-hearing Periscope here. Earlier on November 27, Inner City Press asked the spokesman of both UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres - whose DESA used $1 million from CEFC after the indictment - and of President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak what has been done at the UN in the week after the indictment. Nothing, it seems. Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press that he did not read in the indictment anything for the UN to follow up on, contrary to the UN audit conducted under Dujarric's former boss Ban Ki-moon after the indictment of Ng Lap Seng. Lajcak spokesman Brenden Varma told Inner City Press to contact ECOSOC and so it has, with these questions: "Today the PGA spokesman Brenden Varma told me I can only asked ECOSOC. So here are Inner City Press' questions, on deadline: What vetting of CEFC was done before it gained the status is has with ECOSOC? What have been CEFC's activities and appearances with ECOSOC?  Following the indictment of Patrick Ho and the material in the indictment, what steps is the ECOSOC President or other listed on ESOSOC's contact page taking? On deadline." While Inner City Press was afterward told to also email one Paul Simon, this bounced back, slip-sliding away. The first went through, and ECOSOC is on notice, like Guterres and Deputy Amina J. Mohammed. Watch this site. Gadio's role, described in the indictment, was in bribing Chad's long time president Idriss Deby to the tune of $2 million. Now amid calls in Uganda for Kutesa to resign, see below, in Chad they have turned out 2,000 to chant in favor of Deby, channeled by Radio France International. Some ask, $2 million divided by 2,000 is how much, minus the vig? In the U.S. this is called Astro-turf, an artificial surface for a sports stadium, fake grassroots. Similar moves are afoot for Gadio. What is the French connection? We'll have more on this. Contrary to the indictment which says Kutesa stepped down as Foreign Minister during his year as UN PGA, Inner City Press asked him on September 14, 2015 and Kutesa said, "I am still foreign minister." Scoop here, video here. While the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, even after the indictment and Inner City Press' public questions went forward on November 21 with CEFC's money, see below, in Kampala members of Parliament are calling for Kutesa to resign as foreign minister. "President Museveni and Kutesa should resign and give Ugandans a chance to cleanse their country,” Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality MP, said. Joining the call for resignation(s) are
Lwemiyaga MP Theodore Ssekikubo, John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya County), Nabilah Nagayi (Kampala Woman Representative), Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda North), Monicah Amoding (Kumi Municality), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) and James Kaberuka (Kinkizi West). Meanwhile the UN, implicated, canceled Guterres' photo op involving the CEFC money but went forward and used it, while the event remained on the schedule of Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, embroiled in a scandal involving the signing of 4,000 certificates for rosewood illegal logged in Cameroon and Nigeria and already in China. Ironically, she will be delivering the "Nelson Mandela" address. We'll have more on this.   On Thanksgiving eve November 22 at 4 pm in an otherwise empty courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, bail was sought for Gadio, so he could spend Thanksgiving in Maryland. Federal Defender - assigned counsel - Sabrina Shroff lambasted the prosecutors for delaying. She said that unlike Ng Lap Seng, the billionaire Macau-based businessman now still under house arrest despite six guilty verdicts in connection with UN bribery, her client is not a billionaire. Notably, he has said he is financially unable to retain counsel. Judge Marrero did not set him free on bail, setting the matter over for Monday after Thanksgiving. On the elevator down the prosecution was accused of "white man-splaining;" reference was made to Daniel Richenthal, as prosecutor in the Ng Lap Seng trial as well, and to the UN International School. We'll have more on this - and another of Gadio's roles that brought him to the UN Press Briefing Room in October 2015, as "Special Envoy of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the Central African Republic." The UN, increasingly, is corrupt. It is alleged that Chadian president Deby took bribes for oil concessions in Chad, and that 2014-15 UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa took bribes for oil concessions in Uganda. Kutesa's predecessor John Ashe died under indictment; the depths of the UN's corruption extend into 2017 with the signing of dubious rosewood export certificates in Nigeria by Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and set-aside UN employment for the German Ambassador's wife, via Guterres' chief of staff. At noon on November 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq about the indictment and CEFC and its $5 million grant program with UN DESA, transcript here and below. Guterres had a 5:45 pm photo op with the "Winners of the Annual Award of the UN Grant on Sustainable Energy" - which seems to have been funded by China Energy Fund Committee, under the heading "Powering the Future We Want."  He "canceled," photos here, but his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed was still listed giving remarks for / at the event at 1 pm, though at 5:30 pm those remarks were not on her website unlike later 2:30 pm remarks. On November 22 Inner City Press asked their spokesman Farhan Haq, who argued that the indictment is only of "Doctor Patrick Ho" personally, so it was fine to keep and go forward with CEFC's money. (He said Amina J. Mohammed did not speak.) But Ho founded and chairs CEFC, here is a photograph of Ho with UN DESA's former chief. Apparently things are more and more lax under Guterres: even Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Foundation's money was returned. (Kutesa was also in the Ng Lap Seng case). Is the UN more hard up? The corruption is not past but current. From the UN's November 21 noon briefing transcript: Inner City Press: there was an indictment yesterday by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York that's very… I would say… call it UN related.  A company called China Energy Fund Committee was… as alleged, funnelled $500,000 bribes to Sam Kutesa, former President of the General Assembly.  The indictment describes the meetings taking place not… on this very floor, on the second floor, setting up these bribes.  And so I have a couple of questions.  One is… and these were… these… mentioned in the indictment is the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, who is… as you know, is a mediator on the Burundi file.  So, I wanted to know, number one, after this indictment, what is the UN's office of OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] doing to look at the… the… the UN persons that may… that… implicated in it?  Two, is China Energy Fund Committee still affil… accredited by ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council]?  And they seem to have a project with DESA [Department of Economic and Social Affairs], a $5 million project with DESA.  And, three, what does this mean for… for the… Mr. [Michel] Kafando's and the Secretary-General's view of the Museveni role in the Burundi mediation? Spokesman:  Well, regarding the question of Burundi mediation, obviously, he has a role separate and apart from the work of our envoy, Michel Kafando.  You just heard a briefing from Mr. Kafando yesterday about what his work is on that.  Regarding Mr. Kutesa, we don't have anything particular to say about his dealings as the Foreign Minister of Uganda.  Obviously, he has served as a General Assembly President, and we want to make sure that all officials of the UN, including the General Assembly President, abide strictly by norms avoiding corruption and bribery.  Obviously, how that is enforced is an issue for the specific Member States, so we would refer you, in this case, to the Member State of Uganda, which is responsible for Mr. Kutesa.  And regarding the CEFC that you just mentioned, yes, they have accreditation at ECOSOC.  We're checking with our colleagues in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs about the nature of their projects and what the status of that is. Inner City Press: There's a $5 million project that's online, which I guess… what I'm saying is, coming after the Ng Lap Seng/John Ashe case, it seems some sort of consonant with it.  Basically, you have a big NGO [non-governmental organization] using UN access to purchase a… if the allegations are true, a PGA [President of the General Assembly].  And so, I guess I'm wondering, from the UN side, beyond referring to the Ugandan mission or whatever else, are there any reflections, number one, on how this process… what due diligence did DESA do before… before linking up with this NGO that's clearly a subsidiary of a Chinese oil company that was paying bribes in Chad, as well? Spokesman:  "Well, the information about them paying bribes is something that's come out today.  The ECOSOC accreditation came out sometime prior to all of this.  So, that's a separate issue.  Regarding the sort of probity we expect from officials, including General Assembly presidents, of course, we know that they belong to Member States, but we want them to uphold the high standards.  This is something we made clear during John Ashe's time.  This is something we're making clear now.  And, of course, I believe my colleague Brenden will have more to say about the presidency of the General Assembly regarding this.  But, again, these are issues that the Member States themselves will need to take responsibility for.  These are officials of Member States.  These are not staff of the United Nations. " The Kutesa scam began in long meetings in the UN PGA's office on the UN's second floor - where the UN now requires investigative Inner City Press to have a minder, unlike other correspondents - between Kutesa and China-based NGO China Energy Fund Committee led by Patrick C.P. Ho. The scheme involved Kutesa naming Ho a "Special Adviser to the PGA," and hosting an NGO meeting in the UN in April 2015. Kutesa traveled as PGA to China as part of the scheme. Ho's approach was through Kutesa's chief of staff Arthur Kafeero, whom as Inner City Press exclusively reported in August 2015 Kutesa tried to plant in the UN's Department of Political Affairs. See Inner City Press scoop here; note that the UN evicted Inner City Press for its corruption coverage in early 2016 and has kept it restricted since, even as UN corruption continues, even grows. And what do the member states do? On November 20 Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Matthew Rycroft about the scandal and he said, "I'll look into that and get back to you." Video here. Update (no comment, cite to SDGs, here). From the US Attorney: "HO caused a $500,000 bribe to be paid, via wires transmitted through New York, New York, to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly (the “Ugandan Foreign Minister”).  HO also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda, with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to share the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and businesses owned by the families of the Ugandan Foreign Minister and the President of Uganda.  These payments and promises were made in exchange for assistance from the Ugandan Foreign Minister in obtaining business advantages for the Energy Company, including the potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank." We'll have more on this. Sam Kutesa had offshore accounts in the Seychelles, to receive funds from Enhas, a company of which despite the UN denying it to Inner City Press is listed as doing business with the UN's mission in the Congo, MONUSCO. The accounts, but not the UN / MONUSCO connection, have been revealed the leaked Appleby / Paradise Papers. Inner City Press on November 7 asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly about it, yielding only an answer that the current PGA is striving to make public his disclosure form but will not speak to former (or clearly, past) PGAs. Video here. But how then can the UN be said to have cleaned up after PGA John Ashe, RIP, was indicted for bribery? We'll have more on this.


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