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In Corrupt UN of Guterres, Leaked UNSECO Papers Confirm Extent of Team Azoulay Corruption

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Video

UN GATE, Nov 11 –  From the corrupt UN of Antonio Guterres in New York, the whole UN system has been corrupted, including UNESCO. An internal memo obtained from the Human resources office HRM shows the plans of the Cabinet of Director general Audrey Azoulay to accommodate the numerous requests from the French authorities who have intervened directly with the Secretariat of UNESCO in order to ensure that former presidential and Quai d’Orsay aides will be given cushy senior positions in UNESCO.

  Such cronyism reaches nowadays into almost every corner of UNESCO, according to several senior professionals who despair of salvaging the organization they work for. Nepotism is also rife, they say, after watching well-paid jobs go to friends and family members of a number of Ambassadors to UNESCO.  Other Member States representatives indicate that the international body has reformed little in the two years since the election of Audrey Azoulay and all the more so, on the contrary, UNESCO became over that short period a byword for inefficiency, nepotism, retaliation and corruption.

    Cronyism seems all but endemic, with about 65% of the organization's appointments and promotions failing to meet UNESCO's own criteria for fair competition. To judge from the current situation, UNESCO has also learned little from the previous accusations of fund-wasting on a huge scale. 

  The organization is stuffed with French bosses - it has promoted so many French managers to senior posts in the organization and taken on so many French consultants that it cannot afford the properly qualified staff it needs to run its programs effectively. This is why, former UNESCO staff members are contracted to perform the jobs that the French consultants are incompetent to do.    This week, the General conference of UNESCO will begin its works. Both the worried member states, and the highly alarmed senior staff members will follow closely the debates. The Director general of UNESCO must get a clear message that this is not the way to run UNESCO.

As noted, in 2019, three Heads of UN Agencies had resigned because of proven severe mismanagement quite identical to the one at UNESCO, which therefore may lead to her resignation as well.  First example - the Head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency Pierre Krähenbühl resigned after becoming embroiled in a scandal involving accusations of nepotism and abuses of authority. The leaked investigation depicted an “inner circle” around Krähenbühl who were suggested to have benefited themselves. They were accused of “engag[ing] in misconduct, nepotism, retaliation ... and other abuses of authority.”

 Exactly the same situation and deeds as the ones orchestrated by the inner circle around DG Azoulay led by her Chief of Cabinet Nicolas Kassianides.  Second example - The UN’s environment chief, Erik Solheim, has resigned following severe criticism of his internal rule-breaking. The audit said Solheim had “no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules”.

At UNESCO, this is illustrated by the regular misuse of funds and the systematic breaches of the rules by the administration and its office of Human resources for which UNESCO was sentenced by the UN Tribunal in Geneva to pay millions of dollars of tax payers money to staff who were rightfully complaining against the practices of groundless harassment, retaliation and abuse of power.  Third example – the UN biodiversity Chief quitted amidst accusations of serious misconduct. Cristiana Pasça Palmer resigned after internal audit documents described a chaotic work environment at the Secretariat, widespread staff illness and resignations and allegations that Pasça Palmer discriminated against African staff members on the basis of their race.  This illustrates at its best the similarity with the situation at UNESCO. In interviews, staff told auditors there had been a breakdown in trust with management and Pasça Palmer’s busy travel schedule made her unavailable. This made the secretariat a “conflictual and stressful” place to work. Likewise, at UNESCO staff members complain massively about the identical chaotic working environment created by incompetent senior managers appointed by DG Azoulay since her election in 2017.

Furthermore, Between the start of 2017 and the middle of this year, 22 “senior and experienced staff” left the secretariat – one fifth of the total personnel – seven of them in the first half of 2019. At UNESCO, in 2019 only, 52 senior and experienced staff members resigned in protest against the management practices of the French DG Azoulay and her team.  Alongside a general breakdown in staff morale, certain staff members felt they were being singled out by Pasça Palmer, some because of the color of their skin. At UNESCO, racism and discrimination is a common practice with several investigations currently underway by IOS but still no sanctions whatsoever against the managers perpetrating such misconduct.  The issue of the considerable prejudice to UNESCO created over the two-year ill-advised management practices will have to be addressed by member states.

If no changes and improvements are obtained, Madam Azoulay will have to step down as did the 3 Heads of UN Agencies who left in disgrace after trying to privatize and use the United Nations for their own personal profits.  We will have more next week on the deliberations of the General conference of UNESCO.

Following the exposure by banned Inner City Press of several of the internal scandals, the administration of the French director general Audrey Azoulay has organized a witch-hunt as Guterres did, with raids and retaliation, in order to try to identify Inner City Press' sources. 

  It is an open secret inside UNESCO that the Quai d’Orsay and the Elysée are ruling the organization in place of the good-looking marionette, says one high official of the agency. However, few people know that earlier this month the Cabinet of Audrey Azoulay requested the help of the French ministry of Interior in order to launch an undercover surveillance operation of private e-mails and mobile phones that would help identifying the whistleblowers inside the house. 

Following the fiasco of the Director general Azoulay during the Executive Board of UNESCO, when she couldn’t secure enough support from member states neither for her draft budget nor for her reform policies, it was decided to accelerate the identification and surveillance of all those potentially undermining the administration of Audrey Azoulay.

The list of people then got extended, and included even the two staff unions presidents and some representatives of permanent delegations to UNESCO particularly truth-telling against Azoulay’s management style.

The undercover surveillance operation is coordinated by Flavio Bonetti from the Cabinet of Audrey Azoulay and former deputy prefect of the Centre-Val de Loire region, who started his career at the French ministry of Interior in 2014, before joining UNESCO last year as a knowledgeable UN staff member. 

In this important endeavor, Mr Bonetti is capably assisted by the other member of the Cabinet usually used for the dirty work and meanest tasks, Mr Sachin Bath. Bath, who is at UNESCO for many years is the perfect mole for playing both sides and helping identifying the people and permanent delegations deserving to be under surveillance. His next job actually will be to infiltrate the closed circle of elected member states at the governing bodies secretariat. 

 This is where UNESCO stands today. We will have more on that.


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