UNDP's Clark Talks Haiti, Dodges Transfer of Retaliator,
Kane for Mulet?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 29 -- Helen Clark the Administrator of the UN
Development Program acknowledged Monday the finding that UNDP engaged
in retaliation against whistleblower Ismael Ahmed in Somalia.
City Press asked about the case, and why two who Ahmed says were
responsible for the retaliation, Eric Overvest and Bruno Lemarquis,
were transferred to UNDP in Haiti. Video here,
from Minute 36:19.
Clark, who until Monday had rebuffed
months of requests that she come
to UN headquarters and take questions, said there is "no basis
for concluding" Mr. Overvest was "involved in any
wrongdoing in the Somalia program."
Inner City Press' previous exclusive report of Overvest's
retaliation against UNDP consultant Edwina Thompson, an Australia
national, who was hired to evaluate UNDP's contested remittance
program in Somalia, document have emerged showing Overvest's direct
involvement in irregularities. The vindicated Ismael Ahmed states:
Eric’s various strategies for finding a way of releasing advance
payment to PayQuik failed to work, he just simply decided to release
the payment. In a blatant violation of UNDP procurement rules and
regulations, a fraudulent payment of $382,200 (i.e. about 60% of the
license) was made to PayQuik before it fulfilled any of the
conditions such as a contract, bank guarantee or purchase of servers
and software. Eric released this payment with full knowledge that the
system does not even meet the minimum qualifying conditions required
by the RFP and therefore should have been rejected. The transaction
details are as follows:
Vendor: Payquik.com, Inc., 150 Monument Road , Bala
Cynwyd , Pa 19004
Date of Payment: 3 April 2008
Vendor No: 0000001956
Project Code: 00036033
Helen Clark said there is "no basis for concluding" Mr.
Overvest was "involved in any wrongdoing in the Somalia
program." This then will be a test of Helen Clark.
Helen Clark and Edmond Mulet, one dodges, the other
assuming the top position at UNDP, Ms. Clark has refused repeated
invitations to hold a press conference with Q & A in UN
headquarters, as her predecessorsark Malloch Brown and even Kemal
Dervis did. Through her spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who some say did
not agree with her position, Ms. Clark said no. She did, however,
come in to UNDP's offices early on a Sunday morning, in order to
appear on television in New Zealand.
City Press made many of the requests for Ms. Clark to hold a press
conference. Then, though the UN Correspondents' Association, the
invitation was formalized. Still, nothing. On March 25, a vote was
taken to raise the stakes, publicly. The next day, it was announced
the Ms. Clark was coming, on the topic of Haiti. And none to soon.
the UN's interim Haiti mission chief Edmond Mulet, Inner City Press
asked if it is true he wants to return to his job at the UN in New
York, and deputy chief of Peacekeeping. "I don't know yet,"
Mr. Mulet answered. "There are consultations" and there
should be a decision, he said, "in the next few days."
are saying that the UN is considering current Under Secretary General
for Management Angela Kane to replace Mulet in Haiti. We'll see --
when she comes to her next, and delayed, press conference. Watch this
* * *
UNDP Loses Somalia Retaliation Case, Perps Relocated to Haiti, Paper
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 11 -- When whistleblower Ismael Ahmed complained of
irregularities in and then retaliation by the UN Development Program
in Somalia, UNDP's own ethics machinery rejected his claims. But on
appeal, as reflected in a 16 page decision Inner City Press obtained
and is putting online here, Mr. Ahmed prevailed.
The first retaliator against Ahmed, Eric Overvest, was
promoted to the UNDP in Haiti. After the earthquake, he was quoted
that the situation was "an opportunity" -- rather the way
he saw Somalia.
is informed that Overvest also retaliated against Dr. Edwina
Thompson, an Australia national, who was hired to evaluate the
demanded that she should approve a report from a second consultant
that he had hied in Nairobi. In response to this she wrote to him on
5 November 2007 saying that “I would love to comply with your
request to endorse Jamasai's report, if for no other reason than to
expedite payment for my fee. I hope however that you'll appreciate as
a matter of principle that I am unable to do that”. However,
Overvest went ahead and issued the report claiming that it was a
consolidated report jointly produced by the two consultants.
November Edwina wrote to Eric and said: “As I said previously, I
cannot agree with all the findings in Jamasai's report because some
of them are neither factual, nor based on adequate investigations.
Moreover, I am certainly not happy that Jamasai will take portions of
my report and reference me as an acknowledgement. May I remind you
that we did not agree that a 'consolidated' report would be produced.
The revised TOR was to produce two reports, and then discuss what
should happen once your team reviewed the quality. I have not been
consulted in your process, even despite my comprehensive email
correspondence with yourself since the original submission of my
report - which is indeed almost 2 months ago. This is entirely
unprofessional, and I am convinced will not stand up if the UNDP
Evaluation Office were to review what has unfolded”.
UNDP's Helen Clark @ WEF, musical chairs to Haiti not shown
Edwina responded to Eric again and said: “At the teleconference
meeting you agreed that we would submit individual reports - I was
given the extra task of assessing risk issues, while Jamasai was
tasked to focus on the Central Bank. We did not agree that there
would be a consolidated report. I have not approved any ensuing
consolidation by Jamasai. Regardless of this, I understand that you
had already distributed your consolidated report with my name on it
before asking for my feedback by COB on 23 November. Perhaps you
could explain this. On the issue of payment; no, I have not received
it. I understand from your finance and admin staff that you have been
blocking that payment. If you will now approve it again, I would be
faced retaliation for producing an independent report. Almost six
months after she submitted her report, her consultancy fees were
still being blocked by Eric. Although in earlier emails Eric argued
that her payment was ready, after this email he confirmed that her
payment would not be processed until she complied with his demands.
Overvest has been replaced by his former boss, Bruno Lemarquis, also
responsible for the retalation. We aim to have more on this.