UNDP Whitewashing Somalia Whistleblower's Claims, Resists UN Ethics Office on
Backpay for N. Korea Whistleblower
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
July 1 -- While the UN Development
Program is resisting the recommendation by the UN Ethics Office,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that it pay 14 months compensation to
who exposed irregularities in its North Korea programs, a
whistleblower about the steering of contracts by KPMG by UNDP's
program complains his case is being covered up and whitewashed.
Ahmed, about whose claims Inner
City Press reported in May, now relates mid-stream how UNDP
arranges a cover-up, with multiple interrogators and Dutch connections,
hoping it will all die down and go away.
UNDP's Kemal Dervis signing, backpay and
credible Somalia investigation not shown
Since as even the UN Ethics Office found
with regard to the North Korea case, UNDP's own
investigations do not provide due process to whistleblowers, do not
allow their side of the story to be told, we tell this Somalia story in
Last month we learned from OIOS
that they were not going to take jurisdiction of my case. It appears
were keen to investigate the case but UNDP resisted. Before we appealed
OIOS, UNDP Office of Audit and Investigation (OAI) assigned Kevin
investigate my case. Kevin Curtis was the same investigator who in
cleared KPMG following my anonymous complaint despite overwhelming
bid rigging, conflict of interest, improper relationship between KPMG
country office management. He received an incontrovertible evidence of
and corruption but for some reason his report cleared the country
KPMG of any wrongdoing. The fact that they asked the same investigator
produce another whitewash was one of the reasons we appealed to OIOS.
After I went public with my
disclosure, they appointed a Dutch firm (www.irsnl.com) to investigate
issue of retaliation and my allegation of fraud and corruption. I do
believe OAI (or a firm subcontracted by OAI) would do a credible
but we have decided that I should meet with them and cooperate to avoid
allegations of non-cooperation. Even while we were waiting for a
OIOS, OAI accused me of failing to cooperate with their investigation.
I met an investigator from IRS
who interviewed in the second week of June. When I Googled his name I
that he was a former Dutch police officer. Interestingly one of the
Partners of the firm UNDP hired to assist OAI in the investigations is
de Jong - "founder and first director of the department of
Integrity of the World Bank in Washington , D.C. from 2001 – 2006",
according to the firm's website.... Also the person who was responsible
most of the retaliatory actions I faced including the ending of my
a Dutch national. His name is Eric Overvest and he is the Deputy
Director, UNDP Somalia. It looks that Ad Melkert who visited the
in October 2007 approved the decision to close down the remittance
end my contract. Therefore the decision to hire a Dutch firm for this
itself raises questions.
When the Dutch investigators were
at the country office in Nairobi, Eric Overvest, who is a subject of
investigation of retaliation and fraud, was effectively managing the
investigations. For example, he coached witnesses and intimidated those
suspected would [give] an independent account of what they witnessed.
So many of the
witnesses got the wrong impression that Eric Overvest himself hired his
countrymen to do the investigation for him.
To complicate matters further
they have now appointed a new head of the Ethics Office, Elia Armstrong
(Canadian / Korean), who replaces Mr. Bhalla. This will now further
delay my case
because when she starts work in two weeks time, she will need sometime
understand the case... I'll
keep you updated.
more on this. We note that this same Kevin Curtis interrogated yet
UNDP whistleblower, up to demanding to know what websites the person
including Inner City Press. For now, from the UN's
transcript of Tuesday's noon briefing consider
exchange regarding the North Korea whistleblower:
Spokesperson Montas: It is Mr.
Inner City Press: He recommends
strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that
recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay
that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation?
Spokesperson Montas: We
will see what is going to happen. The
Secretary-General of course is behind Mr.
Benson on his report. There is no doubt
about it. What UNDP will do, we will be
seeing this; how they will implement that report.
one problem with the
transcription, when compared to the Real video: Ms.
"We trust Mr. Benson's review," not "It is Mr. Benson's
review." Video here,
at Minute 15:16. But will UNDP nevertheless rebuff
the Ethics Office recommendation of backpay for the North Korea
whistleblower, and separately continue to bury Mr. Ahmed's case about
Somalia? Back in May, about Somalia,
UNDP's spokesman told Inner City
"We take Ismail Ahmed's
allegations seriously and that's why we're examining them thoroughly. I
not get into the details of responding to Mr. Ahmed's accusations at
as this would prejudge the outcome of the investigator's work."
long do these things take? Separately, how can UNDP, whose
to brag about the Nemeth report a day after receiving it, now claim he
continue to study the Ethics Office's merely eight-page
report? We'll see -- watch this site.
Footnote: Also for comparison's sake, t
is worth considering UNDP's defense of Eveline Herfkens, who took
the Dutch government while ostensibly working for UNDP, with New
military personnel who, exposed for similar double dipping, are facing
martial. "Prime Minister Helen Clark said on
Tuesday... it was intolerable for Defense Force personnel on United
postings to double-dip on their housing allowances. 'It will be got to
bottom of, and those responsible will be dealt with. If there's been
there must be action taken.'" Herfkens, on the other hand, refused to
back any of the money, and UNDP continues to defend her...
* * *
These reports are
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
here for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA
Reporter's mobile (and weekends):
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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