For UNDP Audit, UN Controller Met With Timo Pakkala
While UNDP Refuses to Answer
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at
the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, February 12 -- While the UN
Development Program now uses the audit called for by Ban Ki-moon as a pretext to
refuse to answer any questions about North Korea, UN Controller Warren Sach on
Monday confirmed to Inner City Press that he met with UNDP's Resident
Coordinator for North Korea, Mr. Timo Pakkala, on February 9. Mr. Sach urged
Pakkala to meet with the head of the UN Board of Auditors, "to coordinate
on logistical arrangement for the forthcoming audit."
evening of February 8, Inner City Press contacted Mr. Pakkala at the Crowne
Plaza hotel on 42nd Street and asked him among other things to comment on the
purpose of his visit to New York from Pyongyang. "It is my job to be here,"
Pakkala answered. Inner City Press asked why he hadn't been in New York two
weeks earlier, when UNDP's Executive Board debated whether and how to continue
programs in North Korea.
Pakkala: UNDP's man in North Korea
repeated several times that the questions should be put to the head of UNDP's
Communications Office, David Morrison. Inner City Press explained that a simple
question about the volume of funds handled by UNDP in North Korea, asked
directly of UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis on February 1, had still not been
answered. Mr. Pakkala expressed surprise, and said he would urge Mr. Morrison to
answer at least these new questions.
February 9, however, the following statement from UNDP arrived:
Subject: Questions on UNDP & DPRK
From: Communications Office at undp.org
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 6:18 PM
Matthew, Regarding your February 8
questions about UNDP and the DPRK: As you know, UNDP's operations in DPRK are
undergoing a thorough audit. We welcome this audit which will enable us to take
additional management action as needed. Until the audit is completed, it would
not be appropriate to comment on our work there beyond what we have already said
in the statements of January 19 and 25. (http://www.undp.org/dprk).
Presumably this invocation to the right against self-incrimination, embodied in
the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment, is also directed at the still
unanswered question Inner City Press directed to Kemal Dervis on February 1,
namely, how many money has UNDP processed, for itself and other UN agencies, in
North Korea? If it takes a full second audit to even venture a numeric response
to this simple question, something if very wrong indeed.
Comptroller Warren Sach, on the other hand, sent a response to questions the
same morning they were posed. While he referred most of the questions to other
parties, on the UNDP North Korea audit he told Inner City Press this:
Subject: Re: Press
questions on UNJSPF and audits / UNDP / North Korea
From: Warren Sach
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Mon, 12 Feb
2007 10:01 AM
Dear Mr Lee, Thank
you for your e-mail of earlier this morning which is hereby acknowledged. I did
meet with UNDP's Resident Coordinator for North Korea, Timo Pakkala on Friday 9
Feb. I advised him to contact the Executive Secretary of the Board of Auditors,
Mr Anand Goolsarran to coordinate on logistical arrangement for the forthcoming
audit. Mr Goolsarran would also be the best person for you to contact re Board
of Auditors matters. The ACABQ Chairman, Mr Rajat Saha has written on Friday 9th
Feb requesting that a special audit be conducted by the BoA in N Korea. This
followed my own formal request to ACABQ that the BoA be requested to undertake
an audit; in connection with that request the ACABQ held separate hearings on
Feb with both myself
and the representatives of the BoA on the request for an audit. I do know if the
BoA has yet begun the audit; I suspect they have a number of logistical steps to
take before field work begins; Mr Goolsarran can best advise you.
City Press has posed the following questions to Mr. Goolsarran of the UN Board
Dear Mr. Goolsarran --
Hello... When will the audit(s) actually
begin? We have heard a date of February 16. Is that correct? Who will perform
the audit? ... Have you spoken with Mr. Pakkala? We are also informed that you
met with the ACABQ on February 7. In the two meetings, what logistical
arrangement were arrived at?
Can you comment on the fact that the
DPRK issues were not mentioned in the most recent publicly available audit of
UNDP, which also refers, on Russia, to a document being "released" when it is
nowhere available? Will the audit include other agencies such as WFP, UNFPA,
WHO, FAO and others? If limited to UNDP, will it include the money that UNDP
pays on behalf of other agencies? Will any agencies be audited in geographies
beyond the DPRK? If so, when?
There has been difficulty for the press in
getting even basic information. UNDP, for example, has most recently told us
regarding all North Korea-related questions, including a simple total figure of
money UNDP handled for FAO, UNFPA and other UN agencies, that "Until the audit
is completed, it would not be appropriate to comment on our work there..." In
your position with the Board of Auditors, do you think it is appropriate for a
UN fund or program to cite the existence of one of your audits to, in the
American vernacular, expansively invoke the Fifth Amendment for at least 90
days on a wide range of issues of public concern?
Note that UNDP has
also neglected to answer simple factual questions about issues entirely
unrelated to North Korea. Developing.
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. 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.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
While UNDP's North Korea Representative Is in a NY
Hotel, Dervis Is Cut Off and the Fund Details Protected
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press: News
UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- In continued inquiry
into the function and dysfunction of the UN Development Program, in the run-up
to the "urgent" audit for which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has
called, a more
detailed picture is emerging.
Just as UNDP
rebuffed requests from even its funders to see the internal audits of its North
Korea operations, UNDP has been less than helpful in showing how it functions.
Simple information asked for on February 1, directly from Kemal Dervis and then
in writing from his spokesman, has yet to be provided: the figures of
UNDP's total outflow of funds in the DPR Korea in the past five years, including
on behalf of other UN entities.
Ten days ago, the Rome-based
Food and Agriculture Organization answered
Inner City Press' questions by stating that in the DPRK its "staff are paid in
Euro by the UNDP on behalf of FAO. UNDP charges FAO for every transaction it
carries out on behalf of the Organization."
A week after asking UNDP for
how much it paid for others in DPRK, Inner City Press sought the information
from UNDP's Resident Coordinator in the country, Mr. Timo Pakkala. He is not
actually resident at the moment: he is in a hotel near the United
Nations. [By contrast, Mr. Dervis has been in Kenya, and Mr. Melkert in Paris,
while their press team brags of putting out the scandal fire, in part by sheer
Inner City Press sent simple email
questions to, among others, Mr. Pakkala, with a copy to two UNDP spokespeople.
Then some hours later, Mr. Pakkala was reached by phone. He declined to answer
questions, referring all inquiries back to the Communications Office, from which
answers have been awaited for at least the last week, and on other questions
longer. [This might be contrasted to an interview Inner City Press conducted the
same evening with another figure in a UN controversy, Yuri Kondralyev, click
to view.] Certain of Inner City Press' initial and still unanswered questions
were copied to Kemal Dervis, without response and without effect, the context of
which will be described in the parable sketched below.
UNDP's king of eighteen months is blind
and out of touch, according to informed sources. Kemal Dervis is cut off from
most of the staff, behind a phalanx of longer-term players, most from the era of
Mark Malloch Brown. There is Bruce Jenks, controller of a network of trust
funds, head of the corporation-celebrating "Bureau for Resources and Strategic
Partnerships." There is the gatekeeper-in-chief, Tegegnwork Gettu, who cuts off
emails directed to Kemal Dervis, and only lets through what he wants.
(Regardless, in the year 2007, a chief executive will be held responsible for
communications directed to him.) There is Darshak Shaw, protector of the trust
funds and of the General Ledger.
What might be found in the
full General Ledger? A turning point for UNDP was the adoption under Mark
Malloch Brown of a so-called "cost sharing" model, in which country offices were
told to be entrepreneurial and raise money or even just middleman fees from
whatever donors had in mind. Click
for a Russia example, of which there are more. Governments would funnel money
through UNDP to hire their own nationals, at rates higher and in ways more
irregular than could be done by the government itself. Thus the group that
resists audits, and the making public of audits, extends even to several
well-developed nations. It's worth noting, in the most recent public audit, that
the Brazil office "had yet to implement Atlas." Because of this office's
fundraising, it was allowed to go its own way.
Many of the secrets of UNDP are buried in
its trust funds, which numbered 468 as of the last public audit. A picture has
emerged in which, when Jan Mattsson left UNDP's Bureau of Management to take
over UNOPS, the grouping of insiders decided on a replacement calculated to be
controllable: Akiko Yuge. Never empowered or given the resources to look too
deeply, the Bureau is still run by the old guard, among them Joceline Bazile-Finley,
Krishan Batra and Tina Jensen.
As simply one recent example, Inner City
Press is told that Tina Jensen has this year bent the rules to hire one Sven
Mads, reportedly never having been in the field and the cause now of some
UNDP has told Inner City Press it will
not answer recruitment-related questions. As recounted above, for the past week
UNDP has not answered any questions at all, despite Inner City Press limited new
questions until the simple DPRK figures are provided. In the last communication
from UNDP, one week ago, the Administrators' spokeswoman denied that Mr. Gettu
was part of any old guard, stating that Mr. Dervis selected him as chief of
staff after meeting him as head of the Nigeria country office. But others say
there is more to the story. The current director for Africa, Gilbert Houngbo,
was the previous Nigeria head for UNDP. Dervis' trip to Nigeria was closely
managed. If one result was the installation of Mr. Gettu as chief of staff, it
was not by mere chance. Cut a chief executive off from the flow of information
and it is only a matter of time.
And now the time draws near. To be
Other, earlier Inner
City Press are listed here, and
some are available in the ProQuest service.
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UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540