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UN Corruption Under Guterres Has ECA Songwe Hiding Personal Travel Mismanagement

By Matthew Russell Lee, Initial xclusive CJR

UNITED NATIONS GATE, October 24 – The corruption in the UN system under UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres ranges from impunity for sexual abuse and harassment to double-dipping of benefits, to massive over-spending on travel by Guterres himself, by Erik Solheim and others at UNEP and, as Inner City Press will now be detailing in a series of articles based on leaked documents, in the UN Development Program and its Office of South South Cooperation. Travel expenses by UNDP in 2017 amounted to nearly $27 million, and by August 2018 came in at a staggering $26 million four months short of year end. Today we focus on the UN Economic Commission on Africa, where among the complaints are Guterres like travel waste abuses, and beyond. From UN staff: "After barely surviving an institutionally devastating four years under former Executive Secretary Mr. Carlos Lopes, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) staff are now reeling from the absence of leadership or a cohesive vision from ECA’s first female Executive Secretary, Ms. Vera Songwe.
After, over one year with Ms. Songwe at the helm, observers can only surmise that she has proven to be a failure and an embarrassment to the UN leadership that appointed her. Ms. Songwe’s indecisive and ad hoc managerial style has virtually paralyzed ECA staff, and the institution is literally frozen in time. The Executive Secretary appears to have little to no interest in overseeing the organization, as evidenced by the minimal hours that she spends at ECA headquarters or in Addis Ababa. Ms. Songwe clearly sees her role as an Ambassador at Large, with a calendar full of overlapping, jet-setting itineraries that would confound the most experienced travel agent, and the requisite photo ops with heads of state and other VIPs worldwide.
Currently, Ms. Songwe has lost credibility and authority not only in the eyes of the ECA staff, but more importantly, within the African and international diplomatic community.
The current state of ECA, as of the fourth quarter of 2018:
1. Ms. Songwe has failed to provide a strategic vision for the organization. Her “Reform Agenda” is an incoherent assortment of ideas, which change daily and are unimplementable.
2. Ms. Songwe dedicated almost eight months to reviewing staff capacity, allowing directors to assess employees based on favoritism, not merit. She instructed directors to begin implementing a "Reform Agenda," without the approval of HQ in New York. As a result, staff is ineffective because they are unsure of how to proceed in an informal manner, within a structured environment.
3. She has consistently been rude & dismissive of the staff Union who has voiced their concerns about her unorthodox way of evaluating staff & the so-called informal movements of staff members. Take for instance the Town Hall meeting of 20th September where Ms Songwe talked to the President of the staff union in a very condescending way & humiliated him when he raised issues of concern to staff. She was petulant, scathing, derogatory & staff left the meeting more confused & disgusted about her leadership than ever before. At the meeting she refused to allow staff access to minutes of her decision to move staff & evaluate them using a private sector appraisal system. She called another Town Hall meeting on 5th October where she was a little more conciliatory but staff continue to be unimpressed as she showed no leadership.
4. An example of Ms. Songwe’s frequent abuse of authority is the unprecedented overages in her travel budget, which has frequently been allocated to trips that have no connection to ECA’s mission or mandate. With a deficit of $64,000 of her travel budget she has diverted restricted Program funds for departmental travel for implementation to her travel for personal reasons. Ms. Songwe frequently modifies her itineraries at the last minute, changing airlines for various legs of her trips, and costing the organization up to ten times more than the standard charges. There is little supporting documentation for her travel, and often no administrative, programme or finance staff knows the purpose of her travels. One of these trips can cost as much as $15,000 -$20,000.
5. For instance, why would Ms. Songwe return to Addis from New York on a Saturday, for a few hours, then return to New York that same day? What is the justification? This has occurred more than once. Or, why is it necessary for the UN to charter a flight for her to give an address at a United States University (her alma mater) because she missed her connecting flight in Frankfurt? But, then she ends up in Paris and gives the address to the university by telephone? Ms. Songwe has also ordered that an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Johannesburg to Addis be delayed for her late boarding.
6. How does Ms. Songwe arrive in Nouakchott for the AU summit, then disappear for two days and surreptitiously go to Washington DC to attend a party for a personal friend? How does she go to Geneva for half a day, attend a meeting for thirty minutes, then go shopping for the rest of the day?
7. To create a workaround for her travel budget deficit, Ms. Songwe’s requested that the finance department identify more resources to fund her travel. The only available funds that finance had access to at the time was the staff salaries budget lines. Ms. Songwe subsequently informed all directors by email that she was diverting 30% of their travel budgets earmarked for programmatic work. This transpired during the week that the UN Secretary General informed all heads of UN entities to cut budgets and/or find the means to conserve resources.
8. Why was a UN vehicle solely dedicated to Ms. Songwe’s children, who habitually contact UN drivers after midnight to transport their friends to their homes?
9. Ms. Songwe is uninterested in promoting ECA, its programs, or Africa. Instead, she is laser-focused on using ECA to raise her personal and professional profile throughout the global community, demanding that staff work overtime to ensure that she is constantly featured on the ECA website and via social media.
10. Ms. Songwe appears to be conflicted between her role as ECA Executive Secretary, and her desire to engage in the private sector. An example of this is the private meeting at the Addis Sheraton that Ms. Songwe organized for foreigners interested in investing in Ethiopian Airlines.
11. UN leadership should also be aware that Songwe has surrounded herself with fellow Cameroonians, because she does not trust colleagues of different ethnicities. This has fostered a divisive work environment, based upon xenophobia which should be eliminated, not encouraged.
If the UN had intended to make history by selecting the first woman to head the Economic Commission for Africa, there was no shortage of qualified women with the maturity, gravitas and expertise to lead ECA at this critical point in history. Ms. Songwe was hired despite a glaring absence of experience leading or managing a major institution.
All of the above is lost on Ms. Songwe as she continually undermines her directors at every turn, and simultaneously makes disparaging remarks about them to junior staff. She by-passes establishes structures & directors to work with individuals in an informal way. The UN must act to halt the effects of another poor choice to lead ECA, and hire an individual who has the skills, expertise and commitment to Africa’s future that the continent deserves. ECA, after four years of Carlos Lopes, cannot survive another four years of mismanagement and disdain for the institution. ECA is not a stepping stone. It is an institution where the senior executive position should be the pinnacle of a candidate’s career and where they arrive ready, willing and able to do the selfless, hard work that the region and its citizens deserve.
Concerned UNECA" Previously,
on UNDP's chief of staff of Michele Candotti whose defense of high officials' double dipping Inner City Press has previously reported, and who has rung up $44,714 in travel costs including, strangely, to California and New York. Leaked travel budget document downloadable on Patreon here, with Air Ticket the first column and "Allowance" the second:
MICHELE CANDOTTI, Chief of Staff $ 44,714.04
New York $ 5,536.00 $ 5,005.00
California $ 390.00 $ 631.00
Belgium - Italy $ 3,371.00 $ 2,447.00
Belgium $ 2,063.00 $ 1,995.04
Italy - Turkey $ 3,877.00 $ 1,295.00
Italy - Ethiopia - Kenya $ 7,422.00 $ -
Kenya - Italy $ 7,561.00 $ 3,121.00
We'll have more on this. UNDP's chief of the Regional Bureau for Arab States Mourad Wahba has rung up $188,000 in travel expenses. L
eaked travel budget document downloadable on Patreon here, with Air Ticket the first column and "Allowance" the second :
MOURAD WAHBA, Regional Bureau for Arab States $ 187,763.32
Jordan - Egypt $ 8,346.20 $ 2,172.00
Belgium - Kenya - Somalia $ 11,861.00 $ 2,805.77
Washington DC $ 449.00 $ 347.20
Switzerland $ 15,850.10 $ 573.00
Egypt $ 3,897.00 $ 690.00
Jordan $ 5,103.44 $ 1,402.24
Washington DC $ 480.00 $ 521.44
Japan $ 7,634.00 $ 1,565.40
Syria - Lebanon - Turkey $ 4,246.00 $ 2,773.20
Belgium $ 6,936.00 $ 999.68
Djibouti - Yemen - Somalia - Kenya $ 6,918.00 $ 1,685.00
Germany $ 11,048.00 $ 1,154.00
Lebanon $ 3,615.00 $ (9.91)
France - Switzerland $ 11,424.00 $ 2,146.96
Belgium $ 17,565.00 $ 2,502.16
UAE- Kuwait $ 5,684.00 $ 1,701.96
Algeria $ 5,797.00 $ 447.18
Lebanon $ 3,220.00 $ -
Belgium $ 9,134.00 $ 2,247.40
Lebanon - Jordan - Tunisia - Libya $ 3,681.00 $ 1,899.56
Washington DC $ 937.00 $ 399.20
Germany $ 6,276.00 $ 1,523.14
Japan $ 6,908.00 $ 1,207.00." We'll have more on this. Wahba was given his current post, a transfer from the UN's failing even murderous (through cholera) presence in Haiti, as a form of quid pro quo. Before being banned from the UN as part of Guterres' censorship for corruption, Inner City Press asked spokesman Stephane Dujarric why the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Haiti would be taken out for another job at this time. The why wasn't answered.  This week, Dujarric has refused
to answer any Press questions about travel costs, at UNDP, Solheim's UNEP and - a fish rots from the head - his boss Guterres. In the past in the UN briefing room, before now being banned from it, Inner City Press questioned Wahba about his statement that Hurricane Matthew, and not the UN-brought cholera, was the worst humanitarian event since the 2010. So the UN under Guterres is failing on all fronts - and censoring to try to conceal it.

On September 19 Inner City Press profiled the Deputy Administrator of UNDP Tegegnework Gettu, whose travel waste we previously reported on and his threat to staff that they better be careful. Inner City Press Press was thrown out of the UN without due process and Guterres spokesman has refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about travel waste, of his boss Guterres and about UNDP in particular. Gettu's tab is $159,640.41. Look in his leaked list at his inflated airfare to Switzerland, leaked travel budget document downloadable on Patreon here, with Air Ticket the first column and "Allowance" the second :
TEGEGNEWORK GEITU, Associate Administrator $ 159,640.41
Nigeria $ 11,197.00 $ 280.00
Norway $ 5,116.00 $ 784.00
Afghanistan $ 16,260.00 $ 162.00
Switzerland $ 22,136.21 $ 368.00
Japan $ 5,405.00 $ 574.00
China $ 3,459.00 $ 460.00
Afghanistan $ 20,489.00 $ 162.00
China, Qatar $ 16,697.00 $ 2,178.00
Kenya $ 4,473.00 $ 1,050.00
Malaysia $ 11,084.00 $ 216.00
China - Ethiopia $ 16,645.02 $ 1,545.57
Djibouti $ 6,916.00 $ 466.35
Eritrea $ 1,273.26 $ 430.00
China $ 9,398.00 $ 416.00

We'll have more on this. On September 18, as elsewhere in the UN system corrupted by Guterres the head of UN Environment Erik Solheim blames his travel waste on his own administrative (Inner City Press exclusively pubished Solheim's internal email here), we focus on the head of UNDP, Achim Steiner. Since being given the top job at UNDP by Guterres in exchange for allowing Guterres' power grab of the UN Resident Coordinator system from UNDP, one of the dubious reform for support of which by UN Budget Committee char Tommo Monthe of Cameroon Guterres helped cover up Cameroon's slaughter of Anglophones, Steiner's international travel has cost nearly $10,000 or more for airfare per trip, with one trip to Myanmar
- Japan - United Kingdom costing around $28,000 for airfare only. Leaked travel budget document downloadable on Patreon here,
with Air Ticket the first column and "Allowance" the second :
UNDP MANAGEMENT Air Ticket Allowance
ACHIM STEINER, Administrator $ 353,732.24
Switzerland $ 1,024.00 $ -
New York $ 9,345.00 $ -
New York $ 8,612.00 $ 151.68
Italy $ 10,205.00 $ 320.00
Myanmar - Japan - United Kingdom $ 28,453.45 $ 1,239.04
Sweden - Norway $ 7,409.00 $ 736.00
Germany $ 10,039.00 $ 324.00
United Kingdom $ 6,576.00 $ 439.75
San Francisco $ 3,758.00 $ 411.24
Washington DC $ 408.00 $ 1,029.68
Washington DC $ 612.00 $ 893.06
Sweden $ 9,887.00 $ 214.00
Egypt $ 7,345.00 $ 207.00
Germany - Qatar $ 11,991.00 $ 2,592.06
Switzerland - India - China - France $ 31,443.70 $ 1,969.64
Switzerland - Ethiopia - Somalia $ 19,652.30 $ 6,976.69
UAE - Kuwait - Lebanon - Germany - Belgium $ 19,985.00 $ 3,143.32
Washington DC $ 1,380.00 $ 545.57
Zimbabwe - Argentina $ 16,523.00 $ 1,284.38
Boston $ 523.62 $ 385.00
Turkey - France $ 11,515.30 $ 708.59
United Kingdom $ 6,877.00 $ -
Sweden $ 5,779.00 $ 838.00
Washington DC $ 915.00 $ 1,099.70
Belgium - United Kingdom $ 7,974.00 $ 4,521.88
Norway - Russia $ 9,617.00 $ 938.03
Switzerland - France - Germany $ 13,829.00 $ 2,382.77
France $ 13,350.00 $ 841.35
Vietnam $ 6,830.00 $ 402.67
Argentina - United Kingdom $ 17,915.00 $ 764.77
Angola - Namibia $ 8,616.00 $ -
Germany $ 6,098.00 $ 322.00
Panama $ 3,037.00 $ 526.00." All for a total of
$ 353,732.24.... Note that Guterres' son has business links, undisclosed and unanswered on, in Angola and Namibia. We'll have more on this. We started September 17 with UNOSSC because after exposing how it was used by convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng, a corrupt censorship order by Guterres and his Global Communicator Alison Smale resulted last week in Inner City Press remaining banned from a press conference by OSSC director Jorge Chediek, who was then invited by the resident correspondents present to say that te Office's corruption has been "fabricated." Video here. This is the UN of Guterres, who has taken 15 publicly funded junkets to Lisbon on which his spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to answer or disclose the costs. And this is Chediek's spending on travel, exclusive leaked document here. Chediak has undertaken 27 trips, costing nearly $145,000. The issue of Mr. Chediek' s travel has been raised previously by Inner City Press. In a 10 April 2017 article, Inner City Press wrote that the director "devotes his time to useless travel promoting books already 'launched' in New York and to pitching the conference that would give him his ASG post." In the lead up to BAPA+40, a majorinternational conference to be paid for and hosted by the bankrupt Argentine government, he seems to be doing just that, including bragging about this meeting with Guterres' Global Censor Alison Smale who has not provided any due process, nor made the UN's minimal public financial disclosure. In a recent example of the excessive travels undertaken by the staff of this questionable Office, a conference in China saw a total of four staff from New York, all Chinese nationals, accompany Mr. Chediek. Despite this undeniable waste, and in the context of
considerable strain on UNDP' s core funding, the Office for South-South Cooperation has
managed to escape all budgetary cuts. The Office continues to receive $3.5 million and a
similar amount for staff salaries annually as core funding from UNDP for the 2018 -
2021 period. More on Chediek's travel, in a series to be carried out down the line at UNDP, with Air Ticket the first column and "Allowance" the second :
JORGE CHEDIEK, UN Office for South-South Cooperation $ 144,298.82
Benin $ 5,390.00  $ 509.04
Switzerland $ 2,450.00 $ 1,272.00
Thailand $ 3,140.00 $ 975.53
Turkey - Kazakhstan $ 4,500.00 $ 1,091.24
Kenya $ 4,740.00 $ 1,210.72
China $ 5,270.00 $ 673.40
Brazil $ 5,950.00 $ 505.76
Argentina $ 3,520.00 $ 1,230.00
China - India $ 9,045.10 $ 1,420.90
Argentina $ 4,053.00 $ 1,168.32
France $ 2,424.50 $ 1,313.68
Germany $ 2,315.00 $ 1,030.00
Brazil $ 2,672.10 $ 815.50
Turkey $ 2,722.00 $ 363.00
Bangladesh - Hong Kong $ 7,800.00 $ 1,771.48
Hawaii $ 2,848.00 $ 337.80
Egypt - France $ 3,976.90 $ 2,283.00
Brazil $ 2,747.60 $ 822.17
Argentina $ 5,053.70 $ 909.52
Portugal - Spain $ 3,832.01 $ 1,698.16
Cuba $ 342.70 $ 848.94
South Africa $ 7,424.50 $ 710.39
China $ 5,429.00 $ 1,307.21
France - Norway $ 1,912.71 $ 1,603.60
Thailand $ 6,326.00 $ 1,262.83
Egypt $ 5,650.00 $ 983.92
India $ 3,882.21 $ 763.68
  Yes, a total of over $144,000. But there's worse at UNDP - watch this site. Since Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on and banned since July 3, it cannot ask about this at the UN noon briefing as it has in the past, back to the time of Kofi Annan. But it has asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who Guterres' Communicator Alison Smale said would answered - but didn't: "August 27-3: Please state the Secretariat's and DSG / Development System's knowledge of dual citizen staff getting US Tax reimbursement and also Home Leave and Education grant entitlements using their national/original passport - and what is being done about it." No answer at all, 23 hours after the briefing in which Dujarric claimed the ban is for being in a parking lot making some diplomats and UN officials uncomfortable. (Isn't that a journalist's job?) On August 28, Dujarric wrote to Inner City Press regarding the question, "I WILL HAVE A COMMENT LATER ON THIS ISSUE." But now two days later, nothing. Instead, from within UNDP, an all-staff email referencing Inner City Press' story, leaked to Inner City Press: "From: UNDP Bulletin
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2018 5:06:13 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To: All Staff UNDP Global
Subject: Update on Staff Benefits
Dear Colleagues,
You may have seen a press article published this week which alleges that a number of UNDP staff are improperly receiving benefits related to their expatriate status as internationally recruited staff.
Given our duty of care to staff and to the organization, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you regarding the situation.
Firstly, it is important to recognize that UNDP is a rules-based organization. For the benefit of its stakeholders, its staff, and the people it serves, UNDP recognizes it is of the utmost importance that administrative rules are applied consistently and fairly. In recognition of that principle, and as standard procedure, UNDP regularly screens for compliance with administrative rules.
Secondly, as part of that screening, UNDP had already commissioned an independent review by the UN Secretariat’s Office of Human Resources Management to ensure the fair and consistent application of rules related to eligibility for UNDP headquarters staff who are internationally recruited and receive related entitlements and benefits.
Thirdly, I would like to emphasize that there is no evidence nor any suggestion that any member of UNDP staff has acted inappropriately or dishonestly. OHR, on behalf of UNDP, will continue to ensure that rules and procedures are applied properly and correctly, in this, as in all other cases.
With my best regards,
Michele Candotti
Chief of Staff & Director of the Executive Office."
  But as whistleblowers point out, "Of course they have to say that because so many high level staff are also taking home leave benefits they don't have right to. Many of us hope you won't let this story go. You must press Steiner and the high level ppl listed in that chart you posted to respond to your questions and ask the top man at HR David Bearfield to explain how these ppl take home leave when Staff Rule 4.5 (d) says they can't. This is wrong." So is Guterres' outrageous targeting, roughing up and banning of Inner City Press to try to cover up his UN's corruption.

Here they are, with names unredacted as no responses at all to questions asked in three days ago to Guterres' Team, including on WOGC, connected to imprisoned UN briber Ng Lap Seng's Carlos Garcia, dealing in Kiribati with the UN, separate exclusive here, now this: "Dear Matthew, While UNDP and all UN agencies are suffering from the budget problem, some dishonest UNDP staff are taking two entitlements using their two passports interchangeably against the UNDP benefits entitlement rules.  As a US Citizen, they get US Tax reimbursement; they also get Home Leave and Education grant entitlements using their national/original passport.  It is sad to see UNDP’s senior staff participated in this fraud, as you can see from below Atlas record these staffs grade is from P4 – D2.  Predominantly, Ana Patricia ALVAREZ, and  Shazma Nathwani, the  HR Advisors also participated in this scam.   Some of the staff got more than $100,000 with this ongoing problem, e.g. Shazma Nathwani, $168,000. HR Staff have identified this issue early this year and reported to the HR Director and BMS Director but no action taken.  All UNDP staff in HQ knows this problem but had no other choice fear of retaliation, because of these people close relationship with UNDP senior management including their network.  We need your help...

ATLAS Record - List of Staffs with inappropriate  multiple benefits
No     Name     Title     Current Location     Level     Country-Place of Home Leave      Nationality Types     Douale payments made
1      ALVAREZ, Ana Patricia     HR Business Partner Central Bureaus, HQ/BMS/OHR     UNDP - New York     P-5     Honduras     Honduras- official     Home Leave and Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
2      ASSAF, Dena     Deputy Director, HQ/UNDOCO     UNDP - New York     D-2     Palestine     Palestine - official     Home Leave
                                    USA - Tax      
3      BRANT Heather     Chief of Section, HQ/Evaluation Office     UNDP - New York     P-5     Switzerland     Switzerland - official     Home Leave and Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
4      ALAIN Noudehou     Chief of Staff & Director, Executive Office, CO/SS     South Sudan     D-2     Benin     Benin - official     Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
5      ORUC  Yesim     Deputy  Director, HQ/BERA/LO/Washington     Washington     P-5     Tureky     Turkey - official     Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
6      REIMOV, Ajmiyaz     Programme Analyst (Research), HQ/BPPS     UNDP - New York     P-2     Uzbekistan     Uzbekistan - official     Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
7      RUSSELL, Andrew     UN Development Coordinator, HQ/BMS/OHR     UNDP - New York     D-1     Canada     Canada - official     Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
8      SERENYI Peter     Policy Specialist, HQ/UNDOCO     UNDP - New York     P-4     Hungary     Hungary - official     Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
9     SHAMASH-LADD Hamutal Esther     Legal Specialist     UNDP - New York     P-4     Israel     Israel - official     Home Leave
                                    USA - Tax      
10      UNGUREANU Carla     Human Resources Analyst, HQ/BMS/OHR     UNDP - New York     P-2     Peru     Peru - official     Home Leave
                                    USA - Tax      
11      JUHKAM Robert     Team Leader, HQ/BERA     UNDP - New York     P-5     Estonia     Estonia - official     Home Leave and Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
12      KINSLEY Sharon     Deputy Chief of Staff & Deputy Director     UNDP - New York     D-1     UK     UK - official     Home Leave and Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
13      LINOU Natalia     Policy Specialist, HQ/BPPS     UNDP - New York     P-4     Greece     Greece - official     Home Leave and Education Grant
                                    USA - Tax      
14      NATHWANI Shazma     Human Resources Specialist, HQ/BMS/OHR     UNDP - New York     P-4     Australia     Australia - Official     Home Leave
                                    USA - Tax     A

UNDP Staffers

We'll have more on this.


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