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To Accommodate Smoking, UN Spends $130,000 on Ducts Faced with Demolition Within Two Years

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 2 -- Practicality, it seems clear, is the better part of diplomacy. How else to explain the UN spending $130,000 to install for two years a ventilation duct system for an indoor cafe in which no one is supposed to be smoking?

            On the Saturday before Christmas, while covering a rare weekend Security Council meeting at which sanctions on Iran were adopted, Inner City Press noticed in the UN basement that the Austria / Vienna Cafe had been walled off.  Informal inquiries found that the plan was to ventilate the space to remove cigarette smoke. This cafe is often smoke-filled, despite a 2003 Secretary-General's Bulletin purporting to ban smoking in the UN, as it is banned in all public indoor areas in New York City.

            Inner City Press sent written questions about the work to UN officials and spokespeople, before and after New Years. On Tuesday in two separate written response, Inner City Press was told that the contract was subject to competitive bidding and that cost of the work was $130,000. To Inner City Press' follow-up question of whether the work would be destroyed when the now-adopted $1.88 billion Capital Master Plan (CMP) results in the gut rehabilitation of the UN, the official in charge, Ms. Joan McDonald, replied that "this work will not be destroyed by the CMP... CMP have confirmed."

            But when Inner City Press subsequently telephoned the CMP's Administration and Communication Chief Ms. Vivian Van de Perre, she stated that all of the work being done in the Vienna Cafe will be ripped out. Then why are they paying $130,000 for the work? "That's a good question," she said, adding that she'd had the same doubt and then asking, "Have you spoken with Joan McDonald?" Well, yes, this very afternoon:

Subject: Re: Follow-up questions on Vienna Cafe work

From: mcdonald [at]

To: Inner City Press

Sent: Tue, 2 Jan 2007 3:56 PM


Apologies for the delay in response as you are aware I was out last week...

Q: what consideration was given, and by whom, to the relation between the cost and the amount of time the ventilation would be in use, before being destroyed in the upcoming gut-rehab of the space under the Capital Master Plan?

[A:] This work will not be destroyed by the CMP.  This CMP have confirmed. During the life of the CMP there will be projects carried out by FMS which are not covered by CMP... We coordinate all FMS projects with CMP. FYI the review process of this project was like all other projects through the Chief of FMS and in this particular case I was consulted and I agreed that the project should go ahead. The work is completed.   The clean up of the area, including furniture and shampooing the carpet will happen today and tomorrow and the cafe will be back first thing Thursday morning.

            A visit to the area on Tuesday morning by Inner City Press found holes in the ceiling now covered with sheet plastic. A workman on the scene with a tape measure, when asked about the work, said that only the asbestos abatement had been completed, and that the duct work, by Alex Wolf & Son, has yet to be done and can only be performed from six p.m. to six a.m., since the cafe will re-open later this week.

             In Ms. McDonald's above-quoted message, FMS stands for "Facilities Management Services." In the most recent UN phone book, the director of FMS is Martin Bender. But Mr. Bender has not been coming in to work, due to an investigation into his alleged collusion with a UN contractor. (Mr. Bender's replacement, Andrew Nye, did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment on this story.) The Procurement Fraud Task Force is interviewing others in Facilities Management Services. Whether related or not, FMS clearly does *not* coordinate with the Capital Master Plan, whose spokesperson told Inner City Press on Tuesday that all of this work will be ripped out.  

Smoking: outdoors in Cambodia, free. Indoors at the UN? $130,000 for two years

            In 2003 Mayor Bloomberg prohibited smoking in public indoor areas in New York City. (More recently, the UN's WHO is a beneficiary of Bloomberg's $125 anti-smoking grant.) Kofi Annan followed suit with a Bulletin, 2003/9, stating that "No smoking shall be permitted in any of the UN premises at Headquarters." Nevertheless smoking continued, defended in a pinch by Ambassadors citing diplomatic immunity. Russia's then-Ambassador Sergey Lavrov was quoted that Annan "doesn't own this building," while heading off to smoke in the Delegate's Lounge.

            More recently, the front line of the smoking battle has been in the area outside the Security Council chamber. Diplomats and staffers often smoke there. Petitions have gone up on the wall, with dozens of signatures, alongside lists of the impacts of smoking. A copy of Kofi Annan's Bulletin that "No smoking shall be permitted in any of the UN premises at Headquarters" was even posted.

            In the basement, someone gave up the fight. The extent of smoking at what's also call the Viennese Cafe has been noted online by NGOs and bloggers of the right and left, and even from the youth. It has been pointed out that many more staffers than diplomats frequent the Vienna Cafe, presumably making the three-year old no smoking policy easier to enforce. But enforcement, one wag noted, has never been the UN's strength. And so the contact for the ducts, to suck smoke from the cafe. But when the whole area is going to be gut-rehabilitated in two years or less, why pay $130,000 to accommodate smoking, which is already prohibited?

          A half-dozen workmen were onsite at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Several acknowledged the absurdity of the work. A man in with an "FMS" badge sewn on his shirt, unnamed to avoid retaliation, pointed at the holes in the ceiling and said, "For this, they should have taken the whole ceiling down. Because when they fix this area, all of the ceiling that's been left will have to do -- it's asbestos. And they aren't even ventilating the seating area by the back conference rooms, where people smoke all the time. Why not send them all up to the Ex-Press Bar and open a window? Or just tell them they can't smoke, like the rest of us?"

            To recap, a UN official who signed off on this work has told us that the work will not be ripped up by the Capital Master Plan  gut-rehabilitation, while a spokeswoman for the Capital Master Plan has told us unequivocally that the work *will* be ripped out, "all of it." Even putting aside the issues raised by accommodating an already prohibited activity, and beyond the she said - she said, one wonders how a $1.88 billion rehabilitation would not involve the full rebuilding of this space.

            New Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday told reporters that the UN is "sometimes unfairly criticized" so he is encouraging staff "to have continuous dialogue with the press." So maybe these questions will be answered. Watch this site.

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Waste at UNDP Includes Environmental Unit's Junket of 145 Staffers to Goa, Hometown of Unit's Director

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 27 --  The UN Development Program flew 145 staffers, at agency expense, to the Indian resort of Goa, for a length "retreat" of a unit whose director is a native of Goa. The UNDP's Global Environmental Facility, run by Frank Pinto, spent money meant for the poor in what UNDP staffers characterize as a junket. Of the UNDP-determined $300 of Daily Sustenance Allowance (DSA), each attendee directly received only $20 in cash. The rest went straight to contractors, it is reported, chosen by hometown guy Frank Pinto. After the conference was finally over, Frank Pinto stayed some extra days to see his mother.

            After stonewalling for twelve days, UNDP's Communications Office confirmed the Goa location, the DSA arrangement and that Mr. Pinto stayed behind, while intially avoiding the asked questions about how much it cost, and, while claiming Goa was the cheapest of five locations they considered, declining to name the other location nor how they, or the venues in Goa, were selected. Even in response to Inner City Press' follow-up questions, UNDP declined to provide the simple information: how much did it cost?

  Beyond the waste of money and the lack of transparency, virtually nothing was decided on at the retreat, attendees say. It was not even restful, according to more than one participant. Arriving on time required missing a first weekend at home, where many had children to attended to. Attending the full retreat required three weekends away from home. After thirty hours of flying, jet lag made concentration more than a little difficult. By the time jet lag wore off, some had already left. But the money kept being spent. What's the accounting to donor countries, or to the poor for whom these wasted funds were meant?

A group shot of UNDP's Global Environmental Facility

            Twelve days ago, Inner City Press asked UNDP in writing for information about the Goa retreat, including the DSA arrangements.  No information, not even a confirmation of receipt of the questions, was received until, on December 26, Inner City Press sent Mr. Pinto, his deputy Yannick Glemarec and his planning associate Veronique George the following factual questions about the retreat:

"what was discussed, how many staff (and which) attended, for how long, how much it cost, and all Daily Sustenance Allowance arrangements. Please provide an itinerary, including costs and expenses at each. Please confirm or deny that you stayed afterwards, with relatives. How were the venues, including restaurants, chosen? And anything else you wish to say, again, as quickly as possible and on deadline. We requested information on Goa retreat ten days ago, but have received none, have interviewed sources and prepared article."

            Twenty-four hours after this inquiry, Mr. Pinto responded by, instead of providing any information or defense, referring Inner City Press back to the UNDP Communications Office which had refused to provided information or responses for the past twelve days --

In a message dated 12/27/2006 2:50:24 PM Eastern Standard Time, frank.pinto [at] writes:

Dear Mr. Lee, Please be advised that your email of 26th Dec below will be answered by Cassandra Waldon of UNDP's Office of Communications.

          This is the Office to which Inner City Press directed written questions, including about Goa and DSA, twelve days ago. But perhaps it took Mr. Pinto's entreaty to begin to get some answers.

            The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) was founded in 1991, with the involvement of since-disgraced official Maurice Strong, driven out of the UN system for nepotism and corruption. According to the in-house history for which UNDP paid over $500,000, "UNDP: A Better Way?", the GEF made "the range of environment funds.... available for UNDP's use... three times the core funding of the autonomous programs then embedded within UNDP."

  A sample project, earlier this month, involved UNDP-housed GEF funding "a night of food and fashion" in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, click here for more.

            The GEF is co-run by UNDP and by the World Bank. Twelve days ago, Inner City Press asked UNDP for details on this Goa retreat; no information has been provided. This article thus runs, and inquiries will begin with the World Bank in Washington.

            In fairness, speaking for UNDP since it refuses to speak for itself, there are other Inner City Press sources who argue that GEF is by far from the most wasteful UNDP unit, and who specifically praise Mr. Frank Pinto. That is why, despite UNDP's Communications Office stonewalling, Mr. Pinto was provided with his own opportunity to substantively comment on the Goa trip. It is unfortunate, we think, that he did not. Rather, after twelve days of silence (and delaying the story for more than a week), UNDP's Communications Office on Wednesday afternoon sent the following partial response:

From: cassandra.waldon [at]

To: Inner City Press

Cc: [at]; yannick.glemarec[at]; frank.pinto [at]

Sent: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 3:42 PM

Subject: RE: Questions re UNDP-GEF, Goa retreat- on deadline

   Dear Matthew, I am writing in response to your query received by UNDP's Communications Office and our Energy and Environment Group (EEG) regarding that Group’s strategic planning workshop, which took place in Goa, India in June 2006. We have looked into this matter and are convinced that all aspects of this meeting – from selection of the venue to travel itineraries and daily subsistence arrangements for participating staff – followed UNDP procurement rules and travel procedures. On the two specific points you raised:

  a) The GEF strategic planning workshop was part of the larger EEG strategic planning workshop which brought together UNDP energy and environment staff from across the globe. Initially, five possible locations for the workshop were explored, and Goa was approved as the least expensive option, as per UNDP procurement rules. The contract with the hotel in Goa included full room, board and transport to and from the airport. Hence, $20/day was provided to participating staff for incidental expenses.

  b) The cheapest air ticket routing for the workshop for staff traveling from New York was NY-Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai-Goa-NY. Mr. Pinto received approval to remain in Mumbai on the return trip for annual leave and did not receive DSA or other allowances during this period. This fully complies with all UNDP travel procedures.

            This does not provide an itinerary, or, most striking, explain which the other four "possible locations" were, and how Goa could be the cheapest. UNDP has now been asked, in writing:

How many staff attended? did any non-staff attended - in which case, who?

How much did it cost?

How were venues selected?

Please provide an itinerary, including costs and expenses at each.

And, questions obviously raised by your message --

What were the other four "possible locations"?

How were they selected?

How much more would each have cost?

  Beyond the other pending questions, Inner City Press asked re-asked about Somalia, and about specific projects at UNDP-Russia "in light of the fraud finding in the most recent public audit, and refusal to provide the 'report... released'" mentioned in the public audit but apparently "released" only to UNDP itself, and not even to the member states on UNDP's Executive Board.

   At or past deadline, UNDP answered some of the above, while glaringly still refusing to say how much the Goa junket cost. The number of participants, however, was 145:

From: cassandra.waldon [at]

To: Inner City Press

Sent: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 6:10 PM

Subject: RE: Goa- 4 other options and costs, also Somalia, Russia

   Matthew, On participants: 145 UNDP-EEG staff attended the Goa workshop along with a handful of long-term UNDP environment consultants essential to EEG strategic planning purposes.

 On other locations considered: Bangkok was 14% more expensive, Nairobi was 28% more expensive, Marrakech was 33% more expensive, and New York was 68% more expensive. Prospective conference venues had to have facilities available to accommodate the group in one room for plenary session plus sufficient breakout rooms and hotel rooms for participants. Proximity to UNDP field environment projects for site visits was also considered an advantage.

            The simple question, how much was spent, has still not been answered, nor has any itinerary, including the referenced site visits to UNDP field environment projects. As to the "short list" of five sites, and the estimated costs, we'll have more - including any response we receive from Mr. Pinto or his associates.  Already we can report that some staffers had promoted a location that never made the short-list: Cape Town, South Africa. These staffers, in fairness, complained that the Goa location had only five restaurants nearby. In this narrative, the choice of Goa grew, in fact, from solidarity with the developing world. We'll have more on this soon, we hope. But as to UNDP's Communications Office and transparency, should it be this difficult -- 12 days of silence, then two rounds of follow-up and reiterated questions -- to get confirmation of a retreat, and now still without the price tag?

  Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UNDP sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of UNDP and many of its staff. As they used to say on TV game shows, keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

Fraud in UNDP-Russia Includes Malloch Brown's French Water Scheme and Kalman Mizsei's Excess

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

UNITED NATIONS, December 26 -- The fraud in the Russian Federation office of the UN Development Program, blamed on local employees and a mid-level Bulgarian supervisor, may also trace to the very top of UNDP, an ongoing inquiry has found.

   The most recent public audit of UNDP, A/61/5/Add.1, cites but does not fully disclose the fraud at the Russia office. Irregularities in UNDP's Russia operations date back at least to 2000, to a controversial water purification project championed by then-incoming UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown. Subsequently the regional director whom Malloch Brown chose, Kalman Mizsei, used the Russia office as a slush fund for personal expenses, while bragging about flying on George Soros' personal plane.

   Those disciplined by UNDP, including Stefan Vassilev, now with the Bulgarian military, and Tatiana Gorlatch, required to cover-up for Mr. Mizsei's excesses, may have taken some blame more appropriately apportioned to those above them in the UNDP hierarchy. This is the story of an agency out of control, rarely scrutinized by the press, jealous and abusing of its ever-growing power.

            Mark Malloch Brown took over at UNDP in 1999. One of his first moves was to fire three regional directors, including Africa's Thelma Awori and Europe and CIS States' Anton Kruiderink. The latter's replacement, appointed by Mark Malloch Brown, was Kalman Mizsei, who was then with insurance conglomerate AIG and who identifies himself as a close associate of George Soros (a status shared with Mr. Malloch Brown).

            Malloch Brown claimed he would bring financial sophistication to what he portrayed as a sleeping UNDP. As quoted in a book he paid over $500,000 to have published, Malloch Brown decided that too few UNDP country offices had "sustainable business models," something he sought to change with so-called "cost-sharing projects" of the type into which UNDP's Latin America Bureau first veered ("UNDP: A Better Way?", pages 299, 295.)

            A major initial project was in Russia, where UNDP arranged to be a middleman for a water purification project in St. Petersburg. In fact, the project was financed by and to be carried out by a private company, the French firm SNF Floerger.  After misidentifying the beneficiary as Sanofi SA, Malloch Brown told Reuters that UNDP saw its new "role in piloting the project through local red tape." Click here for that Reuters June 18, 2000, article.

            Virtually all of the $90 million cost was equipment. UNDP sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, state that UNDP's role was to help the company evade or avoid paying taxed on importing the equipment. Running UNDP's Russia office at the time was one Philippe Elghouayel. In a UNDP newsletter replete with photos of himself, Malloch Brown called the arrangement "an example of UNDP’s increasing efforts to foster public-private partnerships." Click here for a copy of that UNDP newsletter.

            In this scheme, UNDP would charge money to cut through "local red tape." UNDP sources indicate that concern and amazement at this Russian financial scheme and "cost sharing agreement" was widespread within the agency. UNDP would collect a hefty fee for playing the middle-man in a project regarding which is had little technical expertise, in which is role was little more than vehicle for tax evasion. One close observer of the project asked, "This is UNDP's definition of development?" But this is what UNDP has become, at least in some places and parts.

Malloch Brown

            In fairness, others in UNDP argue that the water purification proposal was far from the most outlandish project of the Russia office. They argue that clean water was needed, and that while UNDP's role was that of a middleman, along with Credit Lyonnais Bank, the goal was more to limit the ten to fifteen percent usually required in bribes than to evade taxes. A variety of even less meritorious project have been pointed out, on which we hope to run future reports, not only the Moscow planetarium but also schemes with Russian prisons, social services, oil and environmental matters -- more on UNDP and the environment, and on UNDP's Russia and CIS operations, in the near future.

            For barely two years, Frederick Lyons ran the Russian office, until as previously reported a Bulgarian, Stephan Vassilev, was sent to force him out. (Mr. Lyons went on to UNDP in Iran and then Afghanistan.)  There are conflicting accounts of Mr. Vassilev, ranging from as the re-establisher of corrupt tied who forced Lyons to grant approval to a dubious project to renovate the Moscow planetarium to, on the other end of the spectrum, relatively upright militarist who might have let corruption continue, but would not have started it. Even if his motives may have been less than pure, Mr. Vassilev was deployed and used by a Malloch Brown-selected regional supervisor, Kalman Mizsei.

            Mizsei was, until three months ago, the head of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States for UNDP. Mark Malloch Brown brought Mizsei, which whom he shares connections to George Soros, into UNDP from the American Insurance Group in late 2000. As described by multiple sources inside and outside of UNDP, Mr. Mizsei was at best a womanizer and more widely described as a serial sexual harasser. Mizsei imported a personal assistant, whom he quickly promoted through the system until she reached her peak in the UNDP office in Ukraine. This individual would, sources say, show up at high level staff meetings and berate Mizsei "like a lover would," a person attending the meeting says.  Other female staffers he "hit on" by suggesting they water the flowers at his residence, or bring him UNDP papers, personally, on the weekend.

            Kalman Mizsei also abused UNDP and its finances. For example he took a lengthy "study tour" of Russia, all paid by UNDP. There was no academic sponsor for the trip, which consisted of visiting museum with personal guide and translator, paid by UNDP. Mark Malloch Brown was responsible for signing off on these expenses. The number and length of Kalman Mizsei's UNDP-paid visits to Ukraine raised eyebrows in the agency, although often pretexts were found. Click here for UNDP photos of Mizsei's April 2006 sojourn in Ukraine to, among other things, kick off the UN Global Compact with corporations there. Click here for another Mizsei trip to Ukraine, this time for a "mini-Davos" conference. Click here for UNDP in-house news of Mizsei and Ben Slay in Zagreb, Croatia. Click here for news of Mizsei partnering the UN with Coca-Cola. There are other legends about Kalman Mizsei charging UNDP for unneeded helicopter rides over the Balkans, and throwing a cell phone at staffers while screaming, "I demand a woman!"

            In the course of his many travels, Kalman Mizsei instructed staff how he needed to be treated: a hotel no more than a twenty minute walk from the work place, flowers when he arrived, and, perhaps incongruously, that no required drinking take place in formal or informal functions (sometimes difficult given the region that he covered).

            Sources tell Inner City Press that Kalman Mizsei required that these unjustifiable expenses come out of project budgets in the Russia office. At first it was easy, to find long-finished projects with still open budgets. But later, to meet the costs, full-fledged fraud became required. The replacement as head of the office of Frederick Lyons by Stephan Vassilev was, sources say, orchestrated by Kalman Mizsei, either for Mr. Vassilev to perform a cover-up or to become the scapegoat.

GA President and UNDP's Dervis --  she says transparency, he says not so fast

            Inner City Press asked UNDP's Communications Office about the Russia office, and also about Kalman Mizsei. Each response increasingly seems like a whitewash:

In a message dated 11/30/2006 11:29:56 AM Eastern Standard Time, cassandra.waldon [at] writes:

Matthew, Below are the responses to your questions:

Question: Was Kalman Mizsei fired or otherwise relieved or removed from his position with UNDP?  If so, on what grounds?

Response: No. As stated previously, at UNDP -- like at other organizations -- with time colleagues retire, move on or are reassigned. After serving six distinguished years at UNDP, Mr. Miszei is now Professor at Central European University's Department of Public Policy in Budapest.

             Kalman Mizsei left UNDP in the Fall of 2006. Despite Mark Malloch Brown's refusal to comment, sources tell Inner City Press that Mizsei's antics became so legend, and the fall-out so undeniable, that even Malloch Brown chastised Mizsei. Kalman Mizsei was given a choice: to leave UNDP voluntarily, or to stay but face charges. Mizsei chose the former, and from Hungary has sent emails bragging that he is now a personal advisor to George Soros.

            Despite the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General's refusal to comment on Inner City Press' questions about Kalman Mizsei, most recently at the noon briefings of December 1 and December 6, it is noted that Mr. Mizsei was given that very rostrum, as a UN Assistant Secretary General, on April 30, 2004, click here for the Real video, from Minute 13, for six minutes of eyeglasses playing and ironic reference to human trafficking of sex workers and no follow-up questions, click here for the transcript. On the issue of UN rank, UNDP sources say that Kalman Mizsei repeatedly and inaccurately declared that he was an Under-Secretary General. In any event, he represented the UN, and the UN should answer for him; UNDP refuses to.

            UNDP's Communications Office has said it will not comment on recruitment, hiring or promotions issues, and will not released audits like that of the Russian Federation office. (Nor will it release a full copy of that audit even to the nations on the UNDP Executive Board.) Mark Malloch Brown, when Inner City Press previously requested comment from him, responded with the word "jerk," click here for that story, in the spirit of full disclosure. Last week, Inner City Press was told it would not be possible to get a comment on reports that Mr. Malloch Brown was responsible for weakening the post-employment policy finalized on December 22, his last day in the office. Therefore this story runs as such, citing, for UNDP, its most recent public audit and long-delayed narrative response.

            The most recent public audit of UNDP, A/61/5/Add.1, states

"Potential fraud had been detected at the Russian Federation office and reported to it for further investigation. The Office of Audit and Performance Review performed an investigation and released its report on 6 December, 2005. This report concluded that one payment amounting to $190,000 was fraudulent.  Additional payments that could be fraudulent were under further investigation."

            An article entitled "$1.2 million fraud revealed at the U.N. Office in Moscow," in Kommersant, No 163, page 9, quoted UNDP's then-spokesman William Orme that "this appears to be a sophisticated operation that has been difficult to detect. Unfortunately, we detected it only this year." The irregularities of the water purification / tax avoidance scheme dated back much further, however, as did Kalman Mizsei's use of the office. Given the reference to an OAPR report being "released" on Dec. 6, 2005, Inner City Press asked UNDP for this report. UNDP has refused to provide it, but after some delay provided a narrative, which Inner City Press published in full, stating in pertinent part:

"When the extent of the fraud became evident, Mr. Vassilev was summoned to headquarters.  He was removed from his post in August 2005 and subjected to  disciplinary proceedings stemming from shortcomings in management performance and oversight. Mr. Vassilev is no longer employed by UNDP... UNDP has assigned some of its most experienced staff to the Russia CO. Ercan Murat, a UNDP veteran who had served previously as Resident Representative in Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Afghanistan, came out of retirement to serve as acting Resident Representative in Russia from September 2005 until September 2006. Marco Borsotti, who currently serves as UNDP Resident Representative in Azerbaijan, has received clearance from the Russian Government and is expected to take up his post as the new Resident Representative in January 2007."

            Ironically, of Mr. Murat it is reported that while unlike Kalman Mizsei he is not abusive of staff, his brother engaged in business deals in UNDP's Central Asia footprint that generated some controversy within the agency. Of Mr. Borsotti, we hope to have more in the near future -- UNDP's agreement with Russia specifying the procedures and standards to received the above-referenced "clearance" was requested more than ten days ago from UNDP, but has yet to be provided.

            Stephan Vassilev returned to the Bulgarian military. Ms. Gorlatch, who was embroiled in a drag-out divorce and child custody fight with an affluent diplomat, may have reasons to stay silent. But given UNDP's refusal to even respond to questions about its recruitment, hiring and promotion practices, or to release audits of the Russian office, Inner City Press runs this interim investigative piece.  Again, there are serious people who are arguing that the St. Petersburg water purification proposal was far from the most outlandish UNDP project. A variety of even less meritorious project have been pointed out, including schemes with prisons, social services, oil and environmental matters -- more on UNDP and the environment in the near future. Watch this site.

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

At the UN, Mysterious Deletion from Iran Sanctions List of Aerospace Industries Organization Goes Unexplained

At the UN, Iran Resolution Passes 15-0 Amid Media Frenzy While Somalia and UN Reform Are Ignored

At the UN, Security Council and GA Games and Holiday Spirit As Revolving Door Ban Disappears on Final Day

UNDP Not Covered By Weak UN Post-Employment Restrictions, Dervis and Mizsei and Aid to the Scapegoated

UN Post-Employment Restriction Are Watered Down for Senior Officials, Comparison to June Draft Reveals

At the UN, Curt Eulogies for Dictator, Revolving Door and Budget Left for the Last Day

UNDP's Dervis Backtracks on Transparency, Promises Accounting of Funds, Denies Role in Uganda Abuse

At the UN, Jeffrey Sachs Answers the $75,000 Question But Not on UNDP, Still Laudable Goals for 2025

Burundi Spin at the UN, Amid Coup Trial and Ceasefire Not Implemented, Great Lakes Commission Moves In

At the UN, Iran Resolution Goes Blue as Ivory Coast is Traded Away With No Follow-up on Hmung

At the UN, Annan's Long Goodbye, With Oil for Food in the Air and Hothouse Musical Chairs

At Kofi Annan's Farewell, UNDP Transparency is Raised, and Brian Gleeson Steps Up

At UN in Beirut, Dueling Charges of Job-Trading and Tax-Evasion, the Burden of Mervat Tallawy, Retaliation from Below

UNDP Will Be Called to Greater Transparency, Says President of Spain, on UNDP's Board, and Flaws of UNOPS

UNDP's Ad Melkert Says He Will Finally Increase Transparency, Describes Fraud in Russia, Dodges Uganda

In Eastern Congo, Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made a Colonel, Clooney And Now Guehenno Might Stay

At the UN, Ocampo 1 Says Kony To Jail and Ocampo 2 Sees No Serious Bertucci Charges, Dueling Parties

In UNDP's Book, Strong's Scandals Are Missing, While Workers Complain, MMB Schmoozes the Korean Mission

At UNDP, Flighty Rhetoric Founders in Mismanagement, MMB's Net, a Genocidaire and Whither ECOSOC

At the UN, Disabled Are Freed from a Footnote, Murky Answers from Gbagbo to Kosovo to a Genocidaire

Countering UN's Vanity Press, UNDP Histories from Below, Brussels and Two Views of Omar Bakhet

At the UN, Indigenous Indignation, Revolving Door Mysteries and Peace Pipe Belatedly Smoked

At the UN, Questions of Congo Mass Graves and Kazana, Mugabe and Forests and Rich German Ships

UNDP Is Important For The Poor, and Therefore Must Be Made Transparent

As UN Speechifies, UNDP Audits Are Still Being Withheld, While War in Somalia and Sudan, Pronk Blogs On

Waste, Fraud and Abuse at UNDP in Vietnam, While UN Secretariat Urges Censorship

At the UN, Questions of Humanitarian Aid and Congo Body Count, Despots' Crackdown on Dissent

In UNDP, Questions of Money Wasted, Neutrality Trampled, Russian Office Audits Withheld and Sachs Expenses

From Baidoa to the UN, Denials on Ethiopian Troops Being in Somalia, Resolution Is Passed

Retaliation Found at UNDP, While Dervis Is Focused on Turkey, In Two Weeks Will Take Questions

Annan's Spokesman Silent on 150 Dead in Congo, War in Somalia - But in Loud Defense of UNDP's $567,000 Book

At the UN, Interlopers into Somalia Are Discussed, With Chadian Pull-Back, Peacekeepers and Uganda's Karamoja

UNDP Spent $567,000 on Book to Praise Itself, While the Well-Placed Feed Off UNDP's Core Budget and Prime Postings

As UNDP Questions Mount, Mark Malloch Brown Calls Them Irresponsible, Answers Only in Vanity Press

In UNDP Series, Questions of Jeffrey Sachs and Associates Payments, From $1 to $75,000

From Sleaze in Vietnam to Fights in DC-1, UNDP Appears Out of Control at the Top

On Somalia, Past Arms Embargo Violations Forgiven in Zeal to Contain Islamic Courts

In UNDP, Drunken Mis-Managers on the Make Praised and Protected, Meet UNDP's Kalman Mizsei

From Violent Disarmament in Uganda to the National Bank of Serbia, UNDP Leaves Others to Answer for It

UNDP Sources Say Dervis Fires Malloch Brown-linked Officials, Then Offers Hush-Up Jobs

On Somalia, Fiji and Oil-for-Food, UN Ambiguity Leads to Hypocrisy and Corruption

At the UN, Indigenous Rights Get Deferred, As U.S. Abstains, Deftly or Deceptively

At the UN, Threat and Possible Statement on Fiji Spotlights Selection and Payment of UN Peacekeepers

At the UN, China and Islamic Dev't Bank Oppose Soros and World Bank On How to Fight Poverty

At the UN, Misdirection on Somalia and Myanmar, No Answers from UNDP's Kemal Dervis

UNDP Dodges Questions of Disarmament Abuse in Uganda and of Loss of Togo AIDS Grant, Dhaka Snafu

At the UN, The Swan Song of Jan Egeland and the Third Committee Loop, Somalia Echoes Congo

UN Silent As Protesters Tear Gassed in Ivory Coast, As UNMOVIC Plods On and War Spreads in Somalia

In the UN, Uzbekistan Gets a Pass on Human Rights As Opposition to U.S. Grows and War's On in Somalia

At the UN, Cluster Bombs Unremembered, Uighurs Disappeared and Jay-Z Returns with Water -- for Life

From the UN, Silence on War Crimes Enforcement and Conflicts of Interest on Complaint from Bahrain

En Route to Deutsche Bank, the UN's Door Revolves, While Ban Ki-moon Arrives and Moldova Spins

As Two UN Peacekeepers Are Killed, UN Says Haiti's Improving, Ban Ki-moon on Zimbabwe?

Nagorno-Karabakh President Disputes Fires and Numbers, Oil and UN, in Exclusive Interview with Inner City Press

Inside the UN, Blaming Uganda's Victims, Excusing Annan on Mugabe, and U.S. Blocked Darfur Trip

U.S. Blocked Council's Trip to Darfur Meeting, Brazzaville Envoy Explains After U.S. Casts a Veto

At the UN, Council Works Overtime To Cancel Its Trip About Darfur, While DC Muses on John Bolton

UN Panel's "Coherence" Plan Urges More Power to UNDP, Despite Its Silence on Human Rights

On Water, UNDP Talks Human Rights, While Enabling Violations in Africa and Asia, With Shell and Coca-Cola

Will UN's Revolving Door Keep Human Rights Lost, Like Bush's Call and WFP Confirmation Questions?

On Somalia, We Are All Ill-Informed, Says the UN, Same on Uganda, Lurching Toward UNDP Power Grab

On WFP, Annan and Ban Ki-Moon Hear and See No Evil, While Resume of Josette Sheeran Shiner Is Edited

Would Moon Followers Trail Josette Sheeran Shiner into WFP, As to U.S. State Dep't?

At the UN, Positions Are Up For the Grabbing, Sun's Silence on Censorship, Advisor Grabs for Gun

In WFP Race, Josette Sheeran Shiner Praises Mega Corporations from Cornfield While State Spins

At the UN, Housing Subsidy Spin, Puntland Mysteries of UNDP and the Panama Solution

In Campaign to Head UN WFP, A Race to Precedents' Depths, A Murky Lame Duck Appointment

At the UN, Gbagbo and his Gbaggage, Toxic Waste and Congolese Sanctions

WFP Brochure-Gate? John Bolton Has Not Seen Brochure of "Official" U.S. Candidate to Head World Food Program

Ivory Coast Stand-Off Shows Security Council Fault Lines: News Analysis

At the UN, It's Groundhog's Day on Western Sahara, Despite Fishing Deals and Flaunting of the Law

"Official" U.S. Candidate to Head WFP Circulates Brochure With Pulitzer Claim, UN Staff Rules Ignored

Senegal's President Claims Peace in Casamance and Habre Trial to Come, A Tale of Two Lamines

A Tale of Two Americans Vying to Head the World Food Program, Banbury and Sheeran Shiner

At the UN, the Unrepentant Blogger Pronk, a Wink on 14 North Korean Days and Silence on Somalia

At the UN, Literacy Losses in Chad, Blogless Pronk and Toothless Iran Resolution, How Our World Turns

Sudan Pans Pronk While Praising Natsios, UN Silent on Haiti and WFP, Ivorian Fingers Crossed

UN Shy on North Korea, Effusive on Bird Flu and Torture, UNDP Cyprus Runaround, Pronk is Summoned Home

At the UN, Silence from UNDP on Cyprus, from France on the Chad-Bomb, Jan Pronk's Sudan Blog

Russia's Vostok Battalion in Lebanon Despite Resolution 1701, Assembly Stays Deadlocked and UNDP Stays Missing

As Turkmenistan Cracks Down on Journalists, Hospitals and Romance, UNDP Works With the Niyazov Regime

At the UN, Darfur Discussed, Annan Eulogized and Oil For Food Confined to a Documentary Footnote

With All Eyes on Council Seat, UN is Distracted from Myanmar Absolution and Congo Conflagration

As Venezuela and Guatemala Square Off, Dominicans In Default and F.C. Barcelona De-Listed

At the UN, North Korea Sanctions Agreed On, Naval Searches and Murky Weapons Sales

At the UN, Georgia Speaks of Ethnic Cleansing While Russia Complains of Visas Denied by the U.S.

At the UN, Deference to the Congo's Kabila and Tank-Sales to North Korea, of Slippery Eels and Sun Microsystems

At the UN, Annan's Africa Advisor Welcome Chinese Investment, Dodges Zimbabwe, Nods to Darfur

At the UN, Richard Goldstone Presses Enforcement on Joseph Kony, Reflecting Back on Karadzic

UN Defers on Anti-Terror Safeguards to Member States, Even in Pakistan and Somalia

Afghanistan as Black Hole for Info and Torture Tales, Photos and Talk Mogadishu, the UN Afterhours

Amid UN's Korean Uproar, Russia Silent on Murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Chechnya Exposer

UN Envoy Makes Excuses for Gambian Strongman, Whitewashing Fraud- and Threat-Filled Election

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

At the UN, As Next S-G is Chosen, Annan Claims Power to Make 5-Year Appointments, Quiet Filing and Ivory Coast Concessions

Chaos in UN's Somalia Policy, Working With Islamists Under Sanctions While Meeting with Private Military Contractors

U.S. Candidate for UN's World Food Program May Get Lame Duck Appointment, Despite Korean Issues

At the UN, U.S. Versus Axis of Airport, While Serge Brammertz Measures Non-Lebanese Teeth

Exclusion from Water Is Called Progress, of Straw Polls and WFP Succession

William Swing Sings Songs of Congo's Crisis, No Safeguards on Coltan Says Chairman of Intel

Warlord in the Waldorf and Other Congo Questions Dodged by the UN in the Time Between Elections

In Some New Orleans, Questions Echo from the South Bronx and South Lebanon

In New Orleans, While Bone Is Thrown in Superdome, Parishes Still In Distress

At the UN, Tales of Media Muzzled in Yemen, Penned in at the Waldorf on Darfur, While Copters Grounded

US's Frazer Accuses Al-Bashir of Sabotage, Arab League of Stinginess, Chavez of Buying Leaders - Click here for video file by Inner City Press.

Third Day of UN General Debate Gets Surreal, Canapes and Killings, Questions on Iran and Montenegro and Still Somalia

On Darfur, Hugo Chavez Asks for More Time to Study, While Planning West Africa Oil Refinery

At the UN, Ivory Coast Discussed Without Decision on Toxic Politics, the Silence of Somalia

Evo Morales Blames Strike on Mobbed-Up Parasites, Sings Praise of Coca Leaf and Jabs at Coca-Cola

Musharraf Says Unrest in Baluchistan Is Waning, While Dodging Question on Restoring Civilian Rule

At the UN, Cyprus Confirms 'Paramilitary' Investigation, Denies Connection to Def Min Resignation, CBTB Update

A Tale of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN

UN Round-up: Poland's President Says Iraq Is Ever-More Tense While Amb. Bolton Talks Burmese Drugs, Spin on Ivory Coast

As UN's Annan Now Says He Will Disclose, When and Whether It Will Be to the Public and Why It Took So Long Go Unasked

At the UN, Stonewalling Continues on Financial Disclosure and Letter(s) U.S. Mission Has, While Zimbabwe Goes Ignored

At the UN, Financial Disclosure Are Withheld While Freedom of Information Is Promised, Of Hollywood and Dictators' Gift Shops

UN's Annan Says Dig Into Toxic Dumping, While Declining to Discuss Financial Disclosure

A Still-Unnamed Senior UN Official in NY Takes Free Housing from His Government, Contrary to UN Staff Regulations

UN Admits To Errors in its Report on Destruction of Congolese Village of Kazana, Safeguards Not In Place

As UN Checks Toxins in Abidjan, the Dumper Trafigura Figured in Oil for Food Scandal, Funded by RBS and BNP Paribas

Targeting of African Americans For High Cost Mortgages Grew Worse in 2005, While Fed Downplays Its Own Findings

The UN and Nagorno-Karabakh: Flurries of Activity Leave Frozen Conflicts Unchanged; Updates on Gaza, Gavels and Gbagbo

The UN Cries Poor on Lawless Somalia, While Its Ex-Security Chief Does Business Through Ruleless Revolving Door

At the UN, Micro-States Simmer Under the Assembly's Surface, While Incoming Council President Dodges Most Questions

"Horror Struck" is How UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments Would Leave U.S., Referral on Burma But Not Uzbekistan

Security Council President Condemns UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments, While UK "Doesn't Do It Any More"

At the UN, Incomplete Reforms Allow for Gifts of Free Housing to UN Officials by Member States

Rare UN Sunshine From If Not In Chad While Blind on Somalia and Zimbabwe, UNDP With Shell in its Ear on Nigeria

Annan Family Ties With Purchaser from Compass, Embroiled in UN Scandal, Raise Unanswered Ethical Questions

At the UN, from Casamance to Transdniestria, Kosovars to Lezgines, Micro-States as Powerful's Playthings

Inquiry Into Housing Subsidies Contrary to UN Charter Goes Ignored for 8 Weeks, As Head UN Peacekeeper Does Not Respond

On the UN - Corporate Beat, Dow Chemical Luncheon Chickens Come Home to Roost

Stop Bank Branch Closings and Monopolies in the Katrina Zone, Group Says, Challenging Regions- AmSouth Merger

Ship-Breakers Missed by UN's Budget for Travel and Consultants in Bangladesh, Largest UNIFIL Troop Donor

With Somalia on the Brink of Horn-Wide War, UN Avoids Question of Ethiopian Invasion

In UN's Lebanon Frenzy, Darfur Is Ignored As Are the Disabled, "If You Crave UNIFIL, Can't You Make Do With MONUC?"

UN Decries Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL and UNMIS Off-Message

On Lebanon, Russian Gambit Focuses Franco-American Minds, Short Term Resolution Goes Blue Amid Flashes of Lightening

Africa Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views

At the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops, Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement

In the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa Farms Solution?

UN Knew of Child Soldier Use by Two Warlords Whose Entry into Congo Army the UN Facilitated

Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Spinning the Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese Army

At the UN, Dow Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended

Kofi Annan Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers

UN Silent As Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News Analysis

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

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