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Corrupt UNDP OSSC Director  Chediek Leaves Sept 16 After Bribes But Boss Guterres Still In

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Audio 1 2
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

UN GATE, Sept 14 – The Office for South-South Cooperation (OSSC) is well known for being the most corrupt office in UNDP, with its notorious history spanning nearly two decades. In 2015, a colossal bribery scandal led the FBI to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng and former President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe.

Since then Patrick Ho's CEFC China Energy replaced Ng, with a direct connection to Secretary General Antonio Guterres who had the Press roughed up and banned to try to hide it.

Now Inner City Press publishes two more exclusive audio files, here and here, and this: A cynical relationship evolved over the past decade between the G77 and Office for South-South Cooperation (OSSC), which intensified under Jorge Chediek the soon to be former Director of OSSC. Using contributions allocated from UNDP to OSSC, which were aimed by Member States for activities that would promote cooperation among developing countries and directly translate into sustainable development gains, Mr. Chediek diverted this money to buy political favors from the G77, including creating faux development projects to pay US tax-exempt salaries for the G77 Executive Secretary, Mourad Ahmia, creating fake UNDP positions and buying office equipment for the G77 Chair permanent missions in New York, unbeknownst to the UNDP donors themselves. 

 In the 2015 audit following the bribery scandal involving Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng and OSSC, UNDP Office of Audit and Investigation (OAI) uncovered at that time, Mr. Ahmia had already been receiving US tax-exempt salary and associated benefits from OSSC at Director 1 (D1) level (over $300,000 annually), which was supported by a faux development project since 1999. In 2013 the G77 requested OSSC to upgrade this post from D1 to D2 level – a promotion with an increase in salary and benefits. However, UNDP policy stipulated that such a post reclassification to a higher level would require a competitive recruitment process. To circumvent this, OSSC devised a scheme to allow Mr. Ahmia to be “administratively seconded to another UN entity, UNOPS, and his post at UNDP was upgraded to D2 level. UNOPS then re-appointed him back to work at UNDP at this higher D2 level.”

The audit noted “the primary objective of the secondment among UN agencies is to promote and facilitate the inter-agency exchange of staff,” and concluded in this particular case that the secondment was misused for granting job promotion.  Despite this, in 2016 while informing Member States that the arrangement of using UNDP allocated resources to finance Mr. Ahmia’s salaries would cease, Mr. Chediek secretly proceeded to create a new faux development project for 2017-2018, whose budget of $1 million was used only to continue paying Mr. Ahmia’s D2 salary and associated benefits, which is at over $370,000 annually. It should be noted that for over a decade to date, despite receiving US tax-exempt salary financed by UNDP, Mr. Ahmia is in fact not a UNDP staff. There is no accountability and reporting lines between Mr. Ahmia and UNDP/OSSC. Mr. Ahmia works for the G77 and reports to the Chair of G77, which included Palestine occupying the chairship in 2019. Moreover, in December 2018 despite the ongoing OAI investigation into OSSC that included a case on this faux project, Mr. Chediek continued to endorse its extension for an additional 5 years from 2019-2023, with an annual budget of $500,000. The current OSSC Strategic Framework only runs from 2018 to 2021 but Mr. Chediek committed to pay Mr. Ahmia’s excessive salary until 2023.

Although Mr. Chediek claimed that this faux project was in line with OSSC’s Strategic Framework mandate, he instructed staff to exclude all G77-related activities and expenditures in OSSC annual reports to UNDP governing bodies despite the enormous resources provided to the G77. Hence, Mr. Chediek has been purposely withholding information and deceiving Member States of its gross financial mismanagement.   Arbitrary and personal relationships with Mr. Chediek regularly determined the manner through which he managed his Office operations and how UNDP resources were used. Inner City Press has previously disclosed extensive evidence of Mr. Chediek’s many corrupt charades and his blatant threats to intimidate whistleblowers.

Behind the fake smiles and jokes, which Mr. Chediek tried to sell to the public, is a hostile offender. Since Mr. Chediek became OSSC Director in 2015, all personnel of African and African-American descent had gradually been terminated from employment. A number of UNDP personnel have raised the issue of racial discrimination at OSSC and on several occasions tried to bring to the attention of UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, all of which fell on death ears.   During the 2018 review of OSSC’s implementation of the Strategic Framework for 2014-2017, the evaluator was informed of Mr. Chediek’s racial discrimination that led to a deliberate withholding of programmatic resources to the OSSC Africa regional office in Addis Ababa for several years.

The evaluation report noted “the Regional Office for Africa has otherwise not been active over the last four years for a number of reasons. It is important to get the Africa regional office back on track during the next strategic framework.”

Following this, the African Group at UNDP Executive Board consultations on OSSC Strategic Framework for 2018-2021 requested for information on the amount of human and financial resources dedicated to the Africa programme. This reportedly embarrassed Mr. Chediek and subsequently resulted in the first allocation in March 2018 of about $200,000 to Africa program out of the $3.5 million programmatic resources that OSSC received from UNDP.

At OSSC Africa regional office, the Regional Chief  was managing a one-person office without being provided with even a laptop. Moreover, in staff meeting Mr. Chediek publicly slandered that his Regional Chief, who is a cancer survivor, had mental problems and complained about the former UNDP Associate Administrator’s refusal to endorse a plan to force him to accept an early retirement.  In 2017, the UN General Assembly designated OSSC as the secretariat to facilitate the organization of the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40).

Mr. Chediek lobbied for this conference to take place in his home country, Argentina, and served as a promotional platform for his planned acquisition of the ASG position. In March 2019 during this one-week conference, participants noticed only 1 representative from any African governments/institutions among the total 20 co-chairs and panelists. Mr. Chediek regularly and publicly complained about personnel of African descent simply on the basis of his distaste for their skin color.

In his usual delusional tone, Mr. Chediek claimed any allegations of his racial discrimination against Africans were “unrealistic arguments.”   Inner City Press now has voice audio of Mr. Chediek expressing his desire to be the father of the Black Lives Matter movement and admitting how useless his Office actually is, “I’m famous in my career and very sad, I feel as a personal responsibility. The issue you raised about racial discrimination and about problem of perception if there is any … I pride myself because I worked in multicultural environment. I will launch the Black Lives Matter in Brazil, the father of the campaign in Brazil to give an example. I became very sensitive about African American or African people from African origin… One of the problems I see working here, we lose sight of what the UN really is, we caught up in those documents, very important and valuable, but they don’t change a life of people. Those fantastical documents that say that south-south cooperation is fabulous will not resolve a problem for a single African, for a single Latin American or single Asian. My advice is get out of here professionally.” Audio 1 here.

Off stage, Mr. Chediek spoke the unspoken truth that while crooked UN officials like himself preach about saving the world, they secretly dismiss UN work as no more than wishful thinking. No wonder Mr. Chediek has focused attention on abusing his position and using UNDP as the channel to advance his personal agenda, a path that UNDP management has time and time again indulged and protected.

The OSSC case and the systemic corruption at UNDP send a clear message that enriching high-level people like G77 Executive Secretary Mr. Ahmia and footing the bills of their lavish lifestyle in New York take priority over an entire continent with millions of people living in poverty and in need of development assistance.  After half a decade of stealing millions of dollars of development aid and committing endless fraud and corrupt acts, which culminated in a 2-year botched OAI investigation, Mr. Chediek is getting away scotch free and busy planning for his fabulous farewell on September 16, with plenty of photo compilations to cover the shame of finally being forced out of the UNDP exclusive social club. We have heard Mr. Chediek’s own voice of what he really thinks about the UN and those he once called friends, “... people here are so fucking sick that they think that everybody is like that, that I maneuvered. You know what I say to that ‘fuck you liar’...I don’t maneuver I don’t play games I don’t do that shit, and I know everybody in this rotten city that have lost sight of what the UN really is. Think that, fucking you. That is not the case, it’s a lie, and if you think that, you’re fucking wrong, if you have propagated lie and if you don’t say ‘no you are wrong’ you are not doing the right thing’... I don’t care and I don’t want the ASG as I said yesterday because I’m fucking tired of this, of people losing sight of what we are here for, it’s all the things that you hear and the shit, they’re not true, and if you don’t believe me, get out of here.” Audio 2 here

Insiders reveal to Inner City Press that Mr. Chediek’s desire is for the entire Office staff to form an entourage and “escort” him out on his last working day. However, due to the pandemic, staff have been allowed instead to sign up an excel sheet and take turn walking Mr. Chediek around the UN premises during the span of the afternoon.

 This constant and unabated desire to put on a show mirrors the essence of Mr. Chediek’s tenure at OSSC, which was all about building fame and status, shaking hands with VIPs, and maximizing photo ops. Truth is, what the crooked Mr. Chediek really deserves is to be escorted out in shackles by law enforcement - as does Guterres.


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