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After UN Sold Itself to Ng, ICP Asked of Event By Guo Xiangang, Canceled, UNexplained

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 23– After the UN was exposed as having been bought and corrupted by Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, convicted less than a month ago on six counts of UN bribery, money laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, what has changed?

While the spokesmen for new Secretary General Antonio Guterres evade the questions asked by Inner City Press, for example about the UN rewarding Ng for his South South News' coverage of Ban Ki-moon's Central America trip in 2015, murky uses of the UN and its building, movement inside which Inner City Press is still restricted for its anti-corruption coverage, continue.

 For example, on August 23-24 the UN General Assembly Hall was scheduled be taken over by an NGO named “World Development Foundation” headed by Guo Xiangang. After Inner City Press asked and wrote about it, it was canceled, with the UN ascribing the cancelation entirely to... Suriname. Inner City Press was urged to remove its reporting from the Internet, and to interview Suriname's Ambassador (we DO have questions). But the UN is covering up. Attendance list and junket offer below; voice mail after UN refused to answer, here, UN Spokesman's one-quarter answer, below; second voicemail here. In a third voicemail, an interview of with the Ambassador of Suriname, just as he was interviewed by South South News in Macau, was offered here. But Inner City Press' questions were and are to the UN, how it vetted the NGOs - UNanswered. Now a fourth voicemail, here, asking that Inner City Press take down article(s) - and, on August 23, the event was not taking place in either the General Assembly Hall, nor Conference Room 4. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press first reported on this group in May 2016, noting that the UN Department of Public Information was partnering with a group that at that time did not even have a website. This came after DPI's then-chief Cristina Gallach did no due diligence of Ng Lap Seng's purchase of events in the UN lobby and even its slavery memorial, then evicted Inner City Press after it asked her about her links to Ng's South South Awards. The UN's holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has been involved, including in both the eviction and continuing restrictions. On August 22, Inner City Press asked and e-mailed Dujarric about the August 22-24 event. Video here; UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there's an event this week in the General Assembly, and some of the sponsors are those who attended the Macau event sponsored and paid for by Ng Lap Seng in August 2015 just before he was indicted and arrested.  So, I wanted to know — maybe you can find this out today — it's said that it's going to be webcast.

Spokesman:  What's the event?  I don't, what's the event?

Inner City Press:  The event has to do with sustainable tourism.  It's sponsored by an NGO and two Member States, both of whom went to Macau.  So, my question to you is, you've said the things have radically cleaned up…What's the UN's role in the event…  Who's paying for the-

Spokesman:  I need… drop me off a piece of paper with information about the event and I will…

Inner City Press: I'm going to give you the email as well, the one about…

Spokesman:  Perfect.

Inner City Press: …Yiping Zhou and the one that you said you hadn't seen.

Spokesman:  Okay, thank you.

  Inner City Press immediately sent Dujarric as well as his top two deputies the Yiping Zhou email and some questions. Five hours later when he left, Dujarric had not answered nor even, as requested, confirmed receipt. After 8 pm one of the sponsors called Inner City Press, audio here. But the answer should come from the UN Secretariat, which had been asked eight hours previously. Inner City Press called the caller how to ask Dujarric, and Dujarric did respond to this NGO, emailing Inner City Press: "Dear Matthew, The event is sponsored that the Mission of Suriname. They are responsible for the content of the event and we have been assured that no one is being charged for this event. Sincerely, Steph." But this didn't answer the questions that Inner City Press had asked (while showing that Dujarric had received them - we'll have more on this, and this). Inner City Press had sent Dujarric the information about the event: "Sustainable Tourism development projects from other Member States will also be introduced. Special Guests Include: Mr. Carlos Vogeler, UN World Tourism Organization, Executive Director and Regional Director for the Americas; Ms. Shavani Vora, NY Times Travel Columnist, Invited' Ms. Alexandrine Wan, Sustainable Tourism Advocate, Entrepreneur
H.E. Ambassador Loreen Bannis-Roberts, Permanent Representative, Dominica Mission to the United Nations; Peter Claesson, Indigo Travel, Sweden; Neelam Melanie, Second Secretary, Kingdom of Netherlands Mission to the United Nations; Robert Watson, Noted Author and Tourism Strategist; Amir Dossal, President and Founder, Global Partnerships Forum; Peter Tichnsky, President and CEO, Business Council for International; Understanding; Laura Choi, Resort-wear Sustainable Fashion Designer, Invited
Vincent Fuentes, Director, WFUNA Tours
Dr. Joshua Weiss, Harvard faculty, Abraham Path Initiative; Suzanne Carlson, President, Carlson Maritime Travel; Anderson Pilgrim, Caribbean Travel Initiatives (CTO and CARICOM Report); Michelle Guelbart, ECPAT Report on Responsible Tourism; Edward H Hall III, Bureau of Indian Affairs Tourism Specialist Plus a SPECIAL FAMILIARIZATION TOUR TO GUYANA AND SURINAME will be announced for travel media, travel professionals and others.  October date... under the auspices of His Excellency Ambassador Henry MacDonald, Permanent Mission of Suriname to the United Nations and His Excellency Michael Ten-Pow, Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations. The program is produced and developed by the World Development Foundation, Dr. Guo Xiangang, President. Patrick Sciarratta is the Conference Manager for the two-day proceedings; Conference Coordinator is Dominique Schwenner; Ms. Zephanii Smith is Public Relations Liaison. Cristina Fan is the Conference Administrator." Ng paid for the trip to Macau, which at least two sponsors and the vice president of the UN Correspondents Association attended. There are photos of DPI officials with Guo Xiangang. The cover, just as Ng Lap Seng used the Dominican Republic's Francis Lorenzo and a number of other states, in this case are Suriname and Guyana, both of whose Permanent Representatives attended Ng Lap Seng's Macau event in August 2015 and were interviewed by South South News, here and here. This week in attendance will be the Permanent Representative of Dominca, whose Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was the only head of state who went to Ng Lap Seng's Macau event, along with the vice president of the United Nations Correspondents Association.

As Inner City Press reported and pursued, the UN Correspondents Association took payment from Ng' South South News for full page ads, then provided the venue for Ng's and Vivian Wang's photo op with Ban Ki-moon. It was for seeking to cover the UNCA event in the UN Press Briefing Room, “lent” without paperwork by Ban's and Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, that Inner City Press was evicted and is still restricted.

New DPI chief Alison Smale will have to deal with all this - and clean it up. For now, this is how the UN under Guterres remains. Watch this site. Legal footnote: the prosecution of Ng Lap Seng was by Assistant US attorneys Douglas Zolkind, Janis Echenberg and Daniel Richenthal of the US Attorney’s Office, David Last, on detail with the criminal division fraud section's FCPA unit, and Aashna Rao and David Louison. There are (many) further exhibits they are supposed to disclose to the Press, through spokespeople Nicholas Biase and Dawn Dearden and DC. We'll have more on all this.


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