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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.

* * *

On Darfur, UN Can't Confirm Who Controls Jebel Marra, Can't Protect Itself

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- Ever since the Sudanese government and JEM rebels announced a cease fire and the UN quickly praised it, there have been reports of an upsurging in fighting in Darfur's Jebel Marra between the government and another rebel group, the SLA. Inner City Press repeatedly asked the UN to confirm the death tolls reported by the SLA, to no avail.

  On March 8, the government announced it had full control of Jebel Marra. At the UN later that day, after some happy talk about efforts for gender equality through UN Police, Inner City Press sought to ask about Darfur. But there was no noon briefing that day. Inner City Press sought answers elsewhere.

  On March 9, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about the competing critiques of the SLA and government: both in their way say the UN is doing nothing. The government mocks the UN Mission UNAMID's over 60 troops, who let the SLA take from them seven four by fours, more than 50 automatic weapons and communications equipment, without a fight.

 The SLA's Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur said of UNAMID, "They are unable to protect civilians nor are they writing reports to document what happened so what exactly are they doing?"

  Factually, Inner City Press asked Nesirky if the UN could confirm or deny that the government retook control of Jebel Marra. "I don't have anything on that," Nesirky said. "I need to find out." Video here, from Minute 1:09:36

  Inner City Press asked for a UN response to the government's claim that it told UNAMID to take a different route to Jebel Marra. "I don't know the answer to that," Nesirky said, not even offering to find out. Video here, from Minute 1:09:28.

UNAMID in El Fasher "Super-camp" - Lockheed and protection of civilians not shown

  What Nesirky did have was a read out statement about the UN's surrender on March 5. It was 63 UNAMID personnel, Nesirky corrected, not 61. Fifty six were in the "protection force." If they can't or won't protect themselves, how could they protect civilians?

  The UN appears to be in a see no evil, hear no evil mode about Darfur, and Sudan more generally. This was supposed to be one of the UN's main commitments. What happened? Watch this site.

 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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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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