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Sept 24, 2013

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UN Global Compact Mulls Explicit Pay to Play Membership Fee, Sources Tell ICP, Ng Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, September 27 – The UN Global Compact, which allowed now convicted UN briber Ng Lap Seng's firm to join with no due diligence, is now moving toward more explicit pay-to-play, imposing a compulsory membership fee of $10,000, disgusted UN whistleblowers exclusively tell Inner City Press. The initial proposal, they say, was for $100,000; they say the Global Compact has run into financial difficulties with a mere voluntary membership fee on this form, here. But given the number of companies that use UN Global Compact membership to "blue-wash" abusive practices, should the blue-wash be so explicitly put up for sale under 2017 Secretary General Antonio Guterres? Or should the Global Compact simply be disbanded? In similar UN "no due diligence" news, the last head of the UN Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach did no due diligence as Ng Lap Seng's fundees bought events in the UN lobby and even the UN's slavery memorial (UN audit here), then evicted Inner City Press which asked her about her connections with Ng's South South Awards. New head of DPI Alison Smale has done nothing about this. We'll have more on this - and on this: how far will the UN go to get positive media coverage, and to punish and hinder, if still not prevent, critical oversight? Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's 2015 to Honduras and El Salvador was given entirely positive coverage by South South News, the $300,000 a month bribery conduit of now convicted Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng. Click here for that coverage, still online.

Now in emails obtained and published by Inner City Press, and provided for comment to Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, it is shown that South South News president Francis Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty, wrote to UN official Yiping Zhou about the coverage: “Dear yiping enclose [sic] see the first report of our coverage of the trip of the SG to El Salvador.”

Zhou wrote back, “Great job covering the SG's visit. We should do more for the SG, and other heads of UN organs especially also for our  UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. Please find my letter of support” - a letter supporting Ng's now-disgraced, never-built Macau conference Center.

So the UN supported Ng's corrupt plan, in response to positive coverage of Ban Ki-moon by Ng's South South News. On August 21, Inner City Press asked Ban's, now Antonio Guterres', spokesman Stephane Dujarric: UN Transcript here: Inner City Press: in the Ng Lap Seng trial, one of the exhibits that was used that’s since been released and published, has Mr. Yiping Zhu, who I understand has left the system, writing to Francis Lorenzo, saying “great coverage of the Secretary-General’s visit” — this was a visit to Honduras and El Salvador in 2015 — “we should do more for the SG and other heads of UN organs, especially for our UNDP administrator Helen Clark.  Please find my letter of support.”  And attached to that was a letter of support for the Macau Convention Centre.

So, just on its face, it looks like a quid pro quo.  Thank you for positive coverage by South-South News of the trip, and here’s a support for a now highly dubious discredited convention centre.  Is… are you comfortable with this, with this…

Spokesman:  Listen, I haven’t seen the letter.  What is clear is that Mr. Yiping Zhu no longer worked for this organisation, and Mr. Lorenzo never has. [Note: Lorenzo has a email address.]

Inner City Press:  Right, but he was the representative.  He was the envoy of the Secretary-General. So, can you say whether Ban Ki-moon had any…

Spokesman:  No.  Ban Ki-moon had no knowledge of any of this, those activities.

  How does he know? On August 22, Inner City Press emailed Dujarric, at his supposed request, a copy of Zhou's and Lorenzo's message and these questions: "Attached is the email and letter of Ban Ki-moon's envoy on South South Cooperation Yiping Zhou, stating “Great job covering the SG's visit. We should do more for the SG, and other heads of UN organs especially also for our UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. Please find my letter of support” - for Ng Lap Seng's Macau conference center. This is again a request for UN comment on the appropriateness of this - and also, since you said yesterday that Ban Ki-moon had no knowledge of this, that his envoys were encouraging positive coverage in this way, the basis of that statement, or a statement that Ban Ki-moon has been asked about this, and his answer... Writing on this today.Please confirm receipt." But Dujarric left five hours later with no answer, not even confirming receipt. The UN is corrupt. Zhou was Ban Ki-moon's personal Envoy on South South Cooperation. And like Zhou's letter for Ng's project, Ban wrote a "personal 'Thank You' note" to South South News Afaf Konja "for her coverage of his official visit, calling her a 'champion for South-South Cooperation.'"

These names came up repeatedly during the Ng Lap Seng prosecution, begun by then-US Attorney Preet Bharara with the question, Is bribery business as usual at the UN? The answer was and is, Yes.

And when Inner City Press pursued the Ng Lap Seng bribery scandal, seeking to cover a meeting of the UN Correspondents Association who took full page ads from Ng' South South News and provided the venue for Ng's photo op with Ban (Cipriani 42nd Street), Inner City Press was evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room, then its long time office in the UN, where it still remains restricted under Ban's successor Antonio Guterres.

On August 16, Inner City Press asked Guterres about the Ng guilty verdicts; Guterres declined to answer. The UN still contains corruption, and still punishes and restricts the Press which covers it.

Beyond the corruption, it is a conflict of interest to have the same UN Department which views its role as promoting positive coverage of the UN be the one to decide, without rules or free press constraints, which media get full access, and which like Inner City Press are evicted and restricted.

The incoming head of the UN Department of Public Information Alison Smale, replacing Cristina Gallach who partied at Ng's South South Awards and did no due diligence on his events and sponsorships in the UN, will have to deal with this. We'll have more on this.


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