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As UNDP's Clark Talks Haiti, Dodges Transfer of Retaliator, Kane for Mulet?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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.

  Inner 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.

  Ms. 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."

Beyond Inner City Press' previous exclusive report of Overvest's presumptive 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:

When 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:

Amount: $382,200
Vendor:, Inc., 150 Monument Road , Bala Cynwyd , Pa 19004
Date of Payment: 3 April 2008
Voucher No: 00022161
Vendor No: 0000001956
Project Code: 00036033

   So 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 returns?

  Since 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.

  Inner 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.

  Of 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."

  Some 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 site.

* * *

As UNDP Loses Somalia Retaliation Case, Perps Relocated to Haiti, Paper Trail Emerges

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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.

But there's more. 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.

Inner City Press is informed that Overvest also retaliated against Dr. Edwina Thompson, an Australia national, who was hired to evaluate the remittance program.

Overvest 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.

On 23 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

On 29 November 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 grateful”.

Edwina 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.

  And now Eric Overvest has been replaced by his former boss, Bruno Lemarquis, also responsible for the retalation. We aim to have more on this.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here 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 Analysis here

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