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At UN Economic Commission in Beirut OIOS Belated Probes Politics of Jobs, Mercedes and Elevators Like Guterres

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive follow up

UNITED NATIONS GATE, October 15 – How politicized are the UN's regional economic commissions and how much do they come to mirror the man at the top, Antonio Guterres? Inner City Press on May 22 exclusively reported about the one in Beirut, ESCWA. A month after that, Inner City Press was physically ousted from the UN and remains now on Guterres UNdisclosed banned list including political activists.

   As reported Guterres' practices in New York are being replicated, by an official whose performance as Iraq's Ambassador to the UN Inner City Press has positively reviewed, Mohamed Ali Alhakim. Guterres flies around on the public dime, back to his home in Lisbon. The same by Erik Solheim as UNEP led to an investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, about which Guterres' spokesman have refused to answer Inner City Press' questions, even about the status of OIOS chief Mendoza. In New York, Guterres drives an armored black Mercedes; it seems a request for one worth $160,000 has been made for ESCWA, as well as a dedicated elevator just like Guterres has. [This last is blamed on the previous Executive Secretary, on which we still hope to have more.] There's a request for $35,000 worth of Iranian carpets, including for the "VIP room." This one, Inner City Press has been told, was questioned by an official performing the procurement function - who was then disciplined up and out, from Beirut to Rome, P4 to P5 despite muffled talk of being a low performer. This is how the UN works.

 There's an attempt to “freeze” a post for the niece of a Lebanese politician. A fish rots from the head and it all starts on the UN's 38th floor.

Now in mid October 2018, already banned from the UN for more than 100 days and counting by Guterres without hearing or appeal, Inner City Press is informed that these ESCWA allegations are now the subject of an OIOS investigation. We'll have more on this, even as Guterres' spokespeople refuse to answer Inner City Press' other questions on OIOS despite the purported commitment of Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale, including "September 20-2: What is the status of Heidi Mendoza at OIOS - is she still on leave? - and what is the SG's comment and action on her recent public statements on politics in The Philippines, including describing an agency there as “we” and how this comports, or doesn't, with her duty as an international civil servant?.. October 1-4: Regarding Heidi Mendoza, USG of OIOS, and her recent public comments on politics in the Philippines: a) what is Ms Mendoza's current status with the UN? b) if she is on medical leave, is it paid leave? c) do the UN's rules about international public servants not getting involved in their countries' politics apply to those on such leave, or whatever type of leave Ms Mendoza is on? d) can the SG waive such rules? When and in what circumtances? Has he waived rules here? e) is there an Officer in Charge at OIOS? Who is it? f) does Ms Mendoza has any involvement in OIOS decisions while on leave?... On UN travel costs, please state when and if the UNEP audit by OIOS will be public... October 10-2: Regarding DPA and Inner City Press' reporting and complaint to OIOS about the website role(s) of the spouse of the chief of staff of DPA, please confirm or deny that Kyoko Shiotani is on leave, state how long it is to last, if she is under investigation by OIOS and why no (other) actions have been taken. The questions about the leave, and actions during leave, of OIOS' Mendoza remain UNanswered." And still, 104 days into this censorship ban.

Back in May we were told of  Guterres' then new Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo blocking off two full hours for her predecessor Jeffrey Feltman, who Inner City Press has now reported, including based on Libya's former Permanent Representative to the UN, that Feltman is in the mix to be an adviser to Lebanon's Ghassam Salame as Guterres envoy to or at least on Libya. Watch this site.


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