Job of Choi Young-kin's Nephew in Ivory Coast Was Falsely Denied or
Evaded, Ban Questions Still Pending
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 21 -- At what point does a misleading answer become
a lie? On the topic of nepotism in the UN, a whistleblower back from
Ivory Coast told Inner City Press of the employment in that country
by the UN system of the nephew of Mr. Choi Young-jin, the Special
Representative of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
City Press approached Mr. Ban's deputy chief of staff but was told
he'd never heard of it. By email in late 2009, Inner City Press told
Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky that
asked Mr. Nambiar's deputy about something I'm told, that the nephew
of the SRSG to Cote d'Ivoire has been employed in Cote d'Ivoire by UN
Volunteers. I had sought Mr. Choi's email address to ask him
directly, but it unlike other SRSGs it is not available. Therefore I
am asking your Office about Mr. Choi's relatives, specifically
including but not limited to his nephew: 1) are they or have they
been in Cote d'Ivoire? 2) if so, in some UN system (including UN
Volunteers) capacity? Which capacity, what dates and one what basis?
response from Mr. Nesirky's office was, "Regarding SRSG Choi
Yong-jin, please contact Hamadoun Toure in UNOCI, or Kenneth
Blackman." While this seemed strange, Inner City Press sent the
request to the UNOCI mission in Cote d'Ivoire, sending a copy to Mr.
days later, UNOCI's spokesman Hamadoun Toure replied that "To
the best of my knowledge, SRSG Choi is the only international
civilian staff from Korea in the mission." Of course, this
evades the question -- intentionally, as it turns out.
City Press immediate wrote back to UNOCI and Mr. Nesirky, that the
"source states that SRSG Choi's relative was with UN Volunteers
in Cote d'Ivoire, not UNOCI. And the question was and is not limited,
unlike your answer, to the present tense," and reiterating the
question. This was not responded to.
when Mr. Choi went to the Security Council stakeout on January 21,
Inner City Press after
asking about controversies further delaying the long promised Ivorian
elections asked Mr. Choi, with all due respect, if his nephew worked
for UN Volunteers in Cote d'Ivoire.
Mr. Choi answered, "my spokesman told me one month ago [so] I looked
into... I have an American nephew" -- a graduate of
Harvard, he emphasized -- who had left a well paying investment banking
job to apply to work in Cote d'Ivoire through UN Volunteers, from
"early 2008 to
December 2008." Video here,
from Minute 11:14.
Inner City Press' question, to Mr. Nesirky and then ONOCI
specifically mentioned UN
Volunteers, this makes the answer given
false, seemingly intentionally so. Clearly, the evasive answer sent to
Inner City Press, that "SRSG Choi is the only international
civilian staff from Korea in the mission" was designed to not disclose
what Mr. Choi had been asked about, and had "looked into."
UN's Ban and Choi Young-jin, UN disclosure of
relative hiring issues not shown
Inner City Press asked Mr. Choi,
again with all due respect, if he believed his nephew working for the
UN system in the country where he is the top UN official complied
with UN rules.
Mr. Choi responded, because UN Volunteers has a different recruitment
and decision making structure.
than an hour later, Inner City Press asked Mr. Nesirky how this
arrangement complied with UN rules. Nesirky gave the same answer, the
UN Peacekeeping Missions have no say over UN Volunteers.
as Inner City Press has been told by UN Peacekeeping sources, with
the UN spokespeople being unwilling to confirm, Alan Doss,
SRSG in the Congo (embroiled in his own nepotism scandal having
told UNDP to "show leeway" by giving a job to his daughter) but then
the SRSG in Liberia, brought in close
family members as part of UN Volunteers.
City Press began to ask Nesirky about this, but was cut off.
questions have been raised, always with respect, to and about Ban
Ki-moon himself, specifically the hiring of his son in law Siddarth
Chatterjee, first by Stafan de Mistura in Iraq -- who's now in line
to become Ban's envoy to Afghanistan -- then by Jan Mattsson at UNOPS
in Copenhagen. Since 2009, Inner City Press has had pending with Mr.
Nesirky a simple question:
is a request for a response to the circulated report that 'Ban
Ki-moon's Son-in-Law, Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee... was a P4 employee
with the United Nations. If Ban Ki Moon would not be his
father-in-law, it would have taken him 12.5 years to reach to the
level he is today.' Also,
relatedly, please state from where the S-G's son in law Mr.
Chatterjee got his degree(s), and the status of his case(s) with
[name redacted for now]."
has repeatedly refused to answer this question. Now that the response
to which he referred Inner City Press about Mr. Choi turned out to be
false, seemingly intentionally so, isn't it time to come clean? Watch
Afghan Selection Colored by Nepotism and No-Show Jobs, Karzai
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 1 -- With the short list for the UN's top post in
Afghanistan reportedly narrowed down to three, UN sources confirm to
Inner City Press that the push is on to get approval for Staffan de
Mistura, currently in a virtually no-show job with the World Food
many in the UN
but few outside it talk about is di Mistura's
previous choice of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee as his
deputy in Iraq, and the role they think this plays in de Mistura's
Mr. Ban has shown
discomfort and anger about any questions concerning the fast
promotions his son in law has received since he became Secretary
General, few explanations have been given.
officials like de
Mistura and now Jan
Mattsson of the UN Office of Project Services,
where Chatterjee has been given a D-1 position that is quietly being
upgraded to D-2, ingratiate themselves with UN Headquarters by
promoting the Secretary General's son in law has also not been
both of these Chatterjee promotions, the latter
exclusively, was chided by Mr. Ban's previous Spokesperson Michele
Montas to stop asking about Chatterjee in the UN's noon briefings,
but rather to get answers from Ban's senior advisor Kim Won-soo.
quickly changed to be "off the record," and then canceled. South
Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative then took Inner City
Press to lunch and provided a detailed defense of the promotions and
of Mr. Ban. (Later, he claimed the lunch was only about September's
UN General Debate.)
took to calling and making legal threats to journalists who had
picked up on Inner City Press' reports on his promotions, and getting
them removed from the Internet, at least from web sites hosted in his
It is not
clear if Chatterjee made these calls during
time he was being paid by UNOPS. It is clear, however, that UNOPS
devoted staff time to media strategies to defend Chatterjee's
promotions and Chatterjee himself, work it hard to imagine being
if he was not the UN Secretary General's son in law.
the week between
Christmas and New Year, Inner City Press submitted to Mr. Ban's new
Spokesman Martin Nesirky questions about Siddarth Chatterjee,
including about his promotions, qualifications and fitness.
the afternoon of Christmas Eve Mr. Nesirky's office provided at least
cursory answers to other questions asked, including referring
questions about possible nepotism by a Ban appointee to another
spokesperson, the questions about Ban's son in law not only were not
answered, they were not mentioned. But they will not go away. The
responses are being sought only in fairness, explicitly on deadline.
Watch this site.
UN's Ban and de Mistura, son in law answers
and Karzai veto not shown
other two named
candidates are Jean Marie Guehenno, strangely with the backing of the
New York Times, and Ian Martin, currently in an ill-defined role with
the UN Department of Political Affairs. What the Times did not
mention about Mr. Guehenno, in fairness, is that after he was
replaced by fellow Frenchman Alain Le Roy, he was given a no show UN
Under Secretary General position for "Regional Cooperation."
should have involved liaising between the UN and NATO, for example,
or ECOWAS or even the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, months into
the job Guehenno candidly admitted to Inner City Press that he had
done no work at all. He was shut in writing a book. How its
publication, or the timing of its publication, may be related to the
current campaigning for the Kabul post is not clear.
candor, Guehenno clammed up. At a recent forum about illegal mining
in the Congo, at which questions about the UN Peacekeeping Mission in
the Congo's involvement with rogue Army units who mine and massacres,
Guehenno explicitly refused to answer any questions from Inner City
Press. While in the midst of his campaign for Kabul he perhaps felt
he had nothing to gain, ham handed rebuffing of the press would not
make Guehenno that different front Kai Eide, outgoing in only one of
the word's two senses.
Guehenno is also mentioned by human rights groups as a candidate to
take over from Alan Doss at the UN Mission in the Congo. Doss is
himself embroiled in a nepotism scandal since Inner City Press
received and published his e-mail telling the UN Development Program to
bend and break UN rules and give a job to his daugther.
Mr. Ban five
months ago promised an investigation, but some attribute the delay to
Ban's own resistance to nepotism questions. Doss may be allowed to
serve out his contract then Guehenno, if still available, be given the
appeared to go a good job in Nepal, although it appears now to be
unraveling. When Inner City Press asked him in a UN hallway about
Kabul, Martin laughed. Later he clarified he was not laughing with
Inner City Press, only laughing. And laughter may be one of the many
things there is not enough of in Kabul.
Inner City Press is also told that the U.S., not wanting to be
upstaged in Afghanistan, has joined Ban in pushing President Hamid
Karzai to accept de Mistura. But Karzai, who previously vetoed the
proposal to make Paddy Ashdown a "Super Envoy" to
Afghanistan, is near to issuing a similar veto of di Mistura. Watch