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In Corrupt UN Of Guterres, UNESCO Musical Chairs Instead of Disciplinary Sanctions

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, Oct 4 – Inner City Press has extensively covered the case of Golda el-Khoury, the former UNESCO director for Morocco and representative for the Maghreb, who was found guilty of mismanagement and consequently removed from her position as UNESCO director in Rabat (here).

   Golda el-Khoury went so far as to compare her office to a "zoo," openly insinuating that most local staff were "animals. This insult sparked an outcry against her, including from international staff, who expressed solidarity with their Moroccan colleagues.  At that time, we warned in our article that: “Unless member states and staff unions remain vigilant, the Azoulay fraudulent administration may, as in the substantiated case of moral harassment and retaliation by the Tunisian former ADG for Communication, Moez Chakchouk, take only minor disciplinary measures against her, that would keep her afloat”.  That prognosis has proven to be correct. This week, Inner City Press was informed that instead of firing her, as in other recent cases of harassment, and as recommended by IOS (the internal oversight service), Golda el-Khoury was retained in the organization by DG Azoulay. This is another symptomatic decision of the corruption that prevails at UNESCO. 

A staff from the Rabat office affirmed that his colleagues “have complained several times in the past to ADG/PAX Firmin Matoko, but no action has ever been taken against Golda who was one of his friends. We believe that he will protect her now, even though firing this repugnant woman would only be justice”.  Indeed, Firmin Matoko, himself beyond the statutory age of retirement, supported Golda el-Khoury throughout the investigation launched against her by IOS. Obviously, he was anxious that she could have revealed the embezzlement schemes orchestrated by Matoko and his closest mate, Eric Volibi - now head of the UNESCO office in Gabon -, in a number of field offices. In that way, she traded her silence against another post in the Paris based Agency. And it worked out. Golda el-Khoury was proposed to the Iranian authorities as the new UNESCO head of its Teheran office.  An inside source said, "You can bet right now that Golda will never get the clearance for this sensitive position". What will happen then is that Golda el-Khoury will be offered a negotiated separation with a good sum of public money paid by taxpayers. In any case, Azoulay will do whatever it takes to shut her up in this crucial re-election period for her.   At the same time, DG Azoulay proudly announces that all forms of harassment are severely sanctioned by the Agency. Another big lie. But Azoulay's propaganda will keep insisting that “UNESCO’s zero tolerance for fraud, corruption and all forms of harassment is reflected in its commitment to prevent, identify and address breaches of the standards of conduct by its staff and other personnel”. 

Quite the opposite, non-compliance with rules and procedures is never a problem for Azoulay and her team, just like with Guterres and his crony Hochschild. A fish rots from the head.

 However, the question remains as to why Audrey Azoulay decided not to impose the usual heavy disciplinary measure on Golda el-Khoury. Why would she risk playing protection with a person who humiliated Moroccan staff, despite her close family ties to Morocco and her usual concern for the Azoulay family's image in Rabat? Also, how is it that she decided to go easy on Moez Chakchouk as well, to the point of approving HRM's falsification of the report, a scandal we reported on last month (here).

The Moroccan national authorities are also at fault in that case. They have chosen to remain silent, prioritizing the maintenance of good relations with the French DG and daughter of André Azoulay, the advisor to Moroccan King Mohammed VI, rather than protecting their own nationals.   Morocco's ambassador, Samir Addahre, and his bosses in Rabat are facing a new dilemma. A few weeks ago, Firmin Matoko made a new proposal to replace Golda el-Khoury at the UNESCO office in Rabat. After having accepted, without objection, the Austrian Schischlik, to go temporarily to Morocco as the director of cabinet Nicolas Kassianides pointed out, it is now another European, the Italian Anna Paolini, who is proposed for this post in Rabat.  Paolini is currently the Director of the UNESCO regional office for for Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Reportedly, a dark affair of embezzlement at the UNESCO office in Doha would have led the Qataris to ask Azoulay to remove Paolini from her current position as soon as possible. Thus, DG Azoulay and ADG Matoko are now selling it to the Moroccans.  However, things are changing and Ambassador Samir Addahre, who is used to swallowing one bitter pill after another from Azoulay's hand without protest, could this time oppose her staff move which clearly goes against Moroccan interests. The end result of this hasty reshuffle for Morocco would be a major breach of conduct replaced by a flagrant violation of the financial rules. At UNESCO, recent cases of protecting staff at fault instead of firing them, illustrate the systematic violations of rules by the Azoulay administration. In the past, for similar corrupt decisions, UNESCO has been severely sentenced by the UN Tribunal in Geneva to pay millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to compensate staff who protested the practices of harassment, retaliation and abuse of power (see for instance Executive board document 206 EX/5.III.INF: ‘Report on the judgments  concerning UNESCO issued by the international labour organization administrative tribunal (ILOAT) here.

  This is UNESCO today - a UN agency propitious to the flourishing of anti-democratic governance, corruption, anti-constitutional political moves, sexual performances-based promotions, abuse of power and nepotism. It mirrors the worse, far worse, UN Secretariat of Guterres which also engages in censorship, roughing up and banning the Press Guterres doesn't like, like any dictator. We will have more on that. 


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