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UN Derex-Briggs Made London Stop Over Like Guterres in Lisbon But Phumzile Calls Her My Warrior Staff Complain

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, November 27 – How corrupt is the UN under Secretary General Antonio Guterres? The day after Guterres hypocritically "accepted the resignation" of UNEP official Erik Solheim for travel waste to Paris and Oslo no worse than Guterres' own to Lisbon - for inquiry into which he has had Inner City Press roughed up and banned for 145 days and counting - Inner City Press exclusively published a second complaint concerning abuse including of DSA (Daily Subsistence Allowance) by the director of UN Women's regional office of East and Southern Africa, Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs. After our first publications, below, Inner City Press before 9 am on November 27 asked Guterres, his deputy Amina J. Mohammed, his two spokesmen including Stephane Dujarric and his Communicator Alison Smale who had promised answers: "November 27-5: Please immediately confirm or deny that UN Women's Ms. Izeduwa Derex-Briggs kept a publicly funded vehicle in Nairobi that she allowed her daughter to drive around, that the ED of UN Women called her “my warrior” to those complaining of abuse from her and when she (the ED) visited Somalia she did not pay for her accommodation and left a national staffer, the operations manager, to do so, and that Ms. Izeduwa Derex-Briggs of UN Women, on a retreat in Zanzibar, requested (and separately took) DSA while seeking to stay for free in a less expensive hotel other staffers were in, and took DSA for her daughter while she stayed at her house in Nairobi. Immediately explain why Izeduwa Derex-Briggs is reportedly forcing staff to write/sign a letter of support for her." More than 12 hours later, no answer at all. And so this second update from whistleblowers, part of a series: "It was mentioned earlier that Ms. Izeduwa has threatened to disband corporate oversight committees (Procurement review committee and Programme Appraisal Committee) and replace its membership with her cronies from country offices. A case in point is a memo that had to be withdrawn by the current operations manager (OM) after some of the membership complained.
Ms. Izeduwa flew two participants, one of them from New York to Maputo in Mozambique to make a fifteen minutes presentation to the shock of UN Women staff who had accompanied her.
Abuse of missions
Official missions in UN Women ESARO are skewed and approved based on the quality of gossip her loyalists provide, sometimes quoting staff members verbatim. A review of travel Purchase orders will show the frequency and skewed way some marked staff members are rarely sent on missions to country offices or New York. Again, one might ask, what happened to virtual working. Is UN Women all about burning money?
A thorough investigation will reveal many more malpractices.
She always staff tells any staff offering technical corporate policy advise ‘It’s not your mother’s money, pay it”
UN Secretary General, António Guterres, sent a memo to staff on 4th May 2017 advising them to curtail unnecessary travel costs where possible (letter attached) due to ever escalating costs.
If there is anything in this world that excites Ms. Izeduwa is her love travel, and on business class. Ms. Izeduwa is literary on air by blink of an eyelid. But wait, she calls Kenyans the most corrupt people. Her open partialities against East Africans can be attributed to her manipulation skills and her ignorant thinking that West Africans are the most competent human beings on earth. How does UN Women HQ allow such kind of open misuse of resources if they are not party to such? We demand an answer. 
We are unable to put a value to total cost of tickets utilized by Ms. Izeduwa because this requires microscopic review of physical procurement files which are under lock and key, but a sample below will support our claims. Atlas – UN Women operating system – does not offer such privileges at a cursory look on Purchase order reports. This therefore will require a forensic investigation by office of internal oversight (OIS).
To collaborate the just released dossier about misuse of travel privileges, on 7 February 2017, Ms. Izeduwa’s ticket to New York cost UN Women usd. 10,637 because she kept changing itinerary until it was late for booking. Plausibly, a normal ticket cost as at that date would have been usd. 3,120. In this case, UN Women lost Usd. 7,511 which can be reviewed under PO no. ESA 2802 dated 7th February 2017.
Under PO no. ESA 3474, Ms. Izeduwa’s ticket to New York  cost UN Women usd. 7,080.
In the third quarter of 2017, Jean-Luc Boris (Secretary to the board) was offered a mission to Nairobi that costed UN Women Usd. 25,681 in allowances instigated by Ms. Izeduwa. Now, Jean-Luc declined to take a ticket prior purchased by the Regional office. UN Women hence procured two tickets under PO no. ESA. 3303 dated 23 August 2017. (One of the tickets was paid by UN Women HQ - UNFEM). What were his outputs?
In early June 2018, Yassin Fall, a former UN Women senior staff was invited for a workshop in Dar Es Salaam. She ably accepted a ticket that had been previously bought by UN Women and acknowledged receipt. She later complained to Ms. Izeduwa that she had not been consulted on her itinerary and demanded an extra day DSA in Dar Es Salaam. Off course Ms. Izeduwa approved this because the traveler is her friend and chastised staff for damaging the reputation on UN Women – a line she has used on many occasions. Please refer this to PO.no ESA 3197 dated 31 May 2018 as well as 4197 dated 31 May 2018.
In early 2017, Ms. Izeduwa made a stopover in London disguised as an official mission yet we can confirm that she was visiting her children who were studying in London. The daughter was later in October  2018 nominated into the youth conference steering committee alongside two other allies based in London and travelled business class paid by UN Women in violation of  duty travel chapter.
Toward the end of October 2018, Ms. Izeduwa flew all Somalia staff from their locations namely; Hargeisa, Gaarowe and Mogadishu to Nairobi for a meeting. What kind of impunity is this? United Nations office at Nairobi has excellent video conferencing facilities that she should have been used for this meeting by her. Or, better still, Ms. Izeduwa should have flown to Mogadishu or any other central location and met colleagues. The cost of tickets and DSA should have guided her decision making.
There is this facilitator from Nigeria called ORITSEJOLOMI DAVID GBENEBICHIE. ORITSEJOLOM has facilitated all meeting, workshops and anything that can make him travel. David has been consulting for UN Women since Ms. Izeduwa’s days in South Sudan. A native of Nigeria which is Ms. Izeduwa’s home country but currently living in Zambia. In 2017, ORITSEJOLOM was paid usd. 24,411.68 (PO Nos. 3174, 3182,3252, 3255,3316, 3490, 3497, 3544 and usd. 26,716(PO Nos. ESA30- 3678,3693, 3779, 4767, 4818) to give talks in countries where we have competent motivational speakers. Are they related in any way? Ms. Izeduwa’s right hand man, a driver, always ensures that Oritsejolomi's room is adjacent to Ms. Izeduwa.
In mid-2018, the Somalia Programme manager diligently declined manipulation by Ms. Izeduwa to hire Oritsejolomi as a motivational speaker and couch for Somalia team. This would have been another fleecing opportunity.
In one of her missions to South Sudan in 2017 arriving early morning from Rwanda, Ms. Izeduwa demanded to be paid double allowance on the same day (Juba and Kigali). This was paid through receipts provided.
Contrary to corporate guidance on provision of accommodation and allowances, Ms. Izeduwa directed that she be paid 100% allowance during office retreat in November 2017 at Serena hotel in Mombasa.
We demand that all of Ms. Izeduwa’s travel be subjected to forensic audit and be made to account for all the irregularities." We'll have more on this. The first update: "We have been emboldened by the recent dossier on UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa (ESARO), and we hereby support this dossier.
There have been complains against Ms. Izeduwa Derex- Briggs by staff in the office that requires urgent attention by UN Women.  These complains are real, sober and calling for urgent overhaul of the entire UN Women office in Nairobi. Unspoken, is the incredulity that - United Nations system - known for its laxity and incompetence when it comes to top leadership implicated in impropriety will act with speed, the allegations against UN Women head is awaited with baited breath.
We are going to address these issues under three thematic areas namely; Incompetent leadership, abuse of missions and procurement irregularities.
Incompetent Leadership
It is a matter of open interpretation that when Ms. Izeduwa joined UN Women ESARO in August 2016, the environment changed. Those perceived to be close to the then Operations Manager (OM) were targeted and looked at with open suspicion. Equally, it's an open secret that the OM was told by Ms. Izeduwa ‘’We don’t want you here, you need to go’’. The OM had to look for an opportunity and leave in early 2017 in consultation with UN Women Headquarters (HQ).
Ms. Izeduwa has perfected the art of intimidation, ridicule and threats to staff perceived not to be loyal to her. Perhaps in a way to ensure their separation from UN Women and give her an opportunity to surround herself with loyal lieutenants and generals. These are those staff whose jobs terms of reference are skewed and intentionally drafted to suit their qualifications.
It is known to staff that Ms. Izeduwa has deep connections in UN Women Headquarters (HQ), and many a times she has brought HQ staff to the Regional Office (RO) at UN Women cost for “Holiday because they have been working so hard” she would say which is meant to buy their support.
As a matter of fact, she is appraised on all matters of complains by staff to HQ by her sources even if they are genuine concerns as she said in the 2017 office retreat “You report, I will be informed”.
As previously mentioned in the preceding dossier, Ms. Izeduwa shouts at staff in the presence of other parties in meetings and along the office corridors. Both senior and junior staff at the regional office can give credence to these allegations. Junior staff in operations have had their worst day with Ms. Izeduwa especially if they correct her corrupted interpretation of UN Women policy guidelines – a subject she prides herself as an expert ‘’I was part of the team that drafted this travel policy’’, she arrogantly asserts.  The Somalia Program manager had to separate because she was ridiculed by Ms. Izeduwa before staff.
Because of their differences, Ms. Izeduwa contributed to the worsening medical condition of her then Deputy Regional Director- (Ms. Simone Ellis Oluoch-Olunya) to the point she had to leave the position. UN Women staff knew that there was no love lost between the two. In the same breath, Ms. Izeduwa instigated the departure of Somalia Progam Manager because she could not stand her demand for loyalty and was questioning her demand for allowances when she was not entitled.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) is full of her cronies and has been reduced to mere ranting about DSA payments and how they did not get business class tickets even where they are not qualified as per policy. What criteria did she use to constitute this committee? How do you reduce an SMT to discuss, as an agenda - for example - a staff member writing a guidance email to senior staff advising them of their obligation to confirm if office transport is provided to the airport? These staff members have an addiction of claiming terminals when they are not entitled.
Ms. Izeduwa has misused office transport system by directing through an email that all advisors should be provided with airport drop and pickups. The same advisors are paid terminal entitlements contrary to UN Women duty travel policy. She deliberately ignored advice from the then OM to dispose off UN Women office vehicle 40UN 119K as required by UN Women asset policy. Her intention was to provide an avenue for her friends to use this vehicle legally and illegally. You will not that the cost of running this vehicle is unimaginable and UN Women does not get value for money.  Notably, her daughter used this vehicle on a weekend in October 2018 to tour Nairobi National Park. Deliberately misusing office resources entrusted in her position.
To demonstrate her loss of face with heads of country offices, Ms. Izeduwa demanded of the Rwanda country office representative to offer her accommodation in her house while on mission despite receiving allowances for the same. In Burundi, she forced to share a room with one of the senior advisors in ESARO to her amusement. This is an art Ms. Izeduwa has perfected hence putting UN Women name in jeopardy. How can she lead the same team? In Zanzibar, Ms. Izeduwa had demanded that Tanzania country office provide her with a hotel room upgrade. She was finally paid 100% allowance (DSA) and opted to stay in a different low-cost hotel different from the venue of the workshop and whose cost was met by UN Women Somalia office.
In August 2018 when UN Women Executive Director (ED) visited UN Women Somalia offices in Mogadishu, Ms. Izeduwa cajoled the OM to pay for their accommodation. This is even though they had been paid their allowances. It is worth mentioning that the ED calls Ms. Izeduwa “my warrior, she fights for me”. There were plans to charter a plane from a company called Citation at a total cost of Usd. 18, 000. Please not that an average ticket would have costed Usd. 320 for a two way ticket."

Now, with Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric still not answering our questions despite his Alison Smale's promise to UNSR David Kaye, more on DSA abuse at the top of UN Women, up to director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka - and alleged racism and retaliation as well.

Fadumo Dayib was the UN Country Manager in Somalia - though she was being told as an ethnic Somali she couldn't hold this post although she was born in Kenya and is a national of Finland - when she was contacted about her tweets and an interview with a newspaper in Kenya. The "Ethics Focal Point" in UN Women, Tamara Cummings-John wrote: "Yesterday, 13 September the attached tweets were brought to the attention of the HR Director, copied here. The tweets appear to be from your personal twitter account. This constitutes a breach of the standards of conduct that are set out in ST/SGB/2002/9 (Regulations governing the Status, Basic Rights and Duties of Officials other than Secretariat Officials and Experts on Mission) as well as UN Women’s Social Media Policy and Guidelines. and poses a significant reputational risk to UN Women. At the same time we were made aware of an interview which you gave to the Daily Nation and for which a request for authorization to the Executive Director pursuant to the Outside Activities Guidelines was not submitted. I would be grateful if you could advise if the tweets were indeed from your personal twitter account and whether there is any information relevant to their publication that HR needs to be made aware of." (To some it is incongruous that here in the UN would crack down on whistleblowing tweets while they did nothing about UNHCR staffer Nadine Njoya writing on Facebook that Cameroon's 36 year rulers Paul Biya should engage in "harsher repression" against Anglophones - then again Guterres is said to agree with this view and used to run UNHCR).

Fadumo Dayib  wrote back to Cummings-John as well as Izeduwa Derex-Briggs and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. She detailed to them how Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG) De Clercq had thoughout Guterres' term in 2017 and 2018 gone to his UN Headquarters to make complaints, including about her race and ethnicity: "One of the complaints he made in 2017 was that I was unable to work with the Somali government. Another complaint he made in 2018 was that I was too close to the Somali government."

Then on 17 August 2018 - the same day Guterres' USG Alison Smale issued a no due process letter banning Inner City Press from the UN for life -- Derex-Briggs called Fadumo Dayib on WhatsApp number: "I was accused of betraying her trust and ordered to call the Somali Minister of Planning to explain that I was willing to be redeployed from Somalia. In addition, I was told to choose my battles wisely and threatened with repercussions for my actions. When I called the Minister, he informed me that Dr. Derex-Briggs had said she did not want me for the position of Country Program Manager and that I had agreed to be redeployed elsewhere. The Minister expressed that he had informed Dr. Derex-Briggs that the Somali government was considering taking steps to close the UN Women office."

Eventually Fabumo Dayib described some of this on Twitter - and on "15 September 2018, Ms. Cummings-John wrote to me and indicated that she would send me formal correspondence copied to you confirming the details of our discussion and that I understood that I was restrained from posting tweets from my personal account similar to the aforementioned tweets." Call it UN censorship. So much for whistleblowing against UN racism. 

From other whistleblowers, Inner City Press is informed that when UN Women director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visited Somalia she wanted full DSA even though the UN there provides housing and meal. An attempt was made at a retreat in Zanzibar to collect full DSA for an expensive hotel then go stay for free in another hotel, pocketing the DSA. One might think the Office of Internal Oversight Services would act on this as they have on less against Erik Solheim whom Guterres orderer to leave UNEP for engage in less abuse than Guterres does - but OIOS has become a political tool of Guterres for use against those he doesn't like, with himself (and those who roughed up Inner City Press for him, like Ronald E. Dobbins) having impunity.

Here was the complaint against Derex Briggs, which we exclusively published: "we lodge this complaint, we, the staff of UN Women regional office of East and Southern Africa (ESARO) are deeply concerned and disoriented by the lack of leadership and vision at the regional office of East and Southern Africa. The leadership (Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs) at the helm of the regional office does not show respect to staff, intimidates staff and often in breach of her authority. In most missions, she is accompanied by her executive assistant who has no role and refer to her as the boss of the bosses- how unfortunate! UN Women need to save money and use it within the principles of sustainable development. We are concerned why staff should be attending missions where they have no relevance? An independent and confidential staff survey would provide evidence to the allegations. On her travels, since the year 2016, we have not had a Director resident in the office, we say so because cumulatively she has not been in the office for more than 30 days.  A close look at the travel itinerary and expense will reveal the extent to which rules have been flouted on flight booking, DSAs and delegation of authority. She has no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules and always changes flights. Assess her flight expenses for the last two years and DSAs. She is always in conflict with the procurement and travel staff when she is given DSA according to the logistics note. She avers that whether lunch is provided, she must always obtain full DSA with excuses that she does not consume hotel meals. If lunch is provided and Ms Izeduwa chooses not to consume, why should she take full DSAs?  Whenever there are meetings organized by ESARO, Ms Izeduwa absents because she has travelled out of the country for other meetings where she is eligible for DSA. Impromptu flight schedules and realignment of flights cost the organization a lot of resources as penalties slapped by the airlines are very severe. Case in point is one of her flights to New York (2017) which cost USD 9, 000 way above the normal cost of USD 3,200. Reflecting on the Officer in Charge (OIC), she always assigns her closest confidant, a P4 to be OIC when there is a P5 in the office simply because she is in conflict with the P5 - continuously reprimanding him in the presence of the junior staff and interns...
Following what happened recently, the youth conference managed to mobilize a lot of in-kind resources and bringing major UN agencies for the partnership. Despite the other agencies appreciating the team work, Ms Izeduwa was maltreating staff who worked on this conference. Notwithstanding her involvement in the entire conference planning, Ms Izeduwa directed that the UNDP and the Resident Coordinator be deleted from the programme of the conference.  This directive from Ms Izeduwa came in the backdrop of the fact that the approved programme had already been printed at a cost of USD 800 with an additional cost implication. In a bid to ensure that the team adheres to her directives, and that she gets primary information from the Steering Committee, Ms Izeduwa planted her daughter together with her daughter’s friends, who are based in London as part of the youth conference and nominated them to the Steering Committee. Ms Izeduwa’s daughter made UN Women to lose USD 1600 because she called her to complain that she wants a direct flight from London despite it being unavailable.  During the conference, as opposed to her daughter working as a team with the Steering Committee, she reported the wrong information to Ms Izeduwa so as to attract the differences and the altercations exhibited by Ms Izeduwa with all conference staff. Now the partnership between the UNDP and RSC which would have been nurtured is in limbo. Is this professional? This is against the spirit of ONE UN and the Secretary General Reform agenda.
Now, Ms Izeduwa has no credibility not only in the eyes of her Country Representatives who she always bothers to accommodate her when she is on mission but also in her staff who have lost faith in her leadership and are no longer willing to be led by her.  Her conflicts with her former deputy which put stress levels in her former deputy to an extent of all staff knowledge, always left the office in confusion as it accentuated the leadership crisis. She would discuss her deputy unnecessarily with her juniors. We request your good office to ensure that the Deputy Director being recruited is not one that can easily be manipulated by her and more particularly he/she be one that is not recommended by her.  Why did Ms Izeduwa buy a car for her own use when she is never available to use it? She is always in disagreement with other drivers and say that only one driver can drive her.

Our leadership should also know that Ms Izeduwa is surrounded by fellow West Africans and bringing each of them one by one because she does not trust colleagues from other ethnicities and targeting Kenyans in the regional office who she fights every day. She recently fought and released a Somalia Country programme manager who is Kenyan who they were friends turned foes after summoning her before a group of staff to reprimand her over performance to which the manager walked out in protest claiming that her position had been earmarked for a P4 currently in the regional office. Since she joined the regional office, Ms Izeduwa’s only achievement on Somalia Country Programme has been to dismiss all the staff she found on board leaving the office with no staff capacity. She would approve requests by these West Africans and a few others she favors without any delay and fail to approve other requests because they come from a wrong ethnicity/nationality. This has fostered a very hostile work environment with two sides of teams-the favored vs the oppressed. Ms Izeduwa always says she does not care about rules and policies and would push staff to approve her position regardless of illegalities.

This region cannot continue to grow amidst these confusions, lack of leadership, blatant breach of rules, intimidation of staff to silence them on decisions which are misguided, abuse of authority, lack of integrity, lack of transparency and accountability, open favoritism to a section of staff to create a division in the team and misuse of resources where funds are transferred to partners disregarding technical recommendations and DSAs given in full even where it is clear that a meeting has provided logistics note indicating otherwise. We the staff of ESARO, request your intervention to clean this mess...
Izeduwa has flouted the rules of getting partners on board- in just a few cases- ‘Akina Mama wa Africa, ACTIL and Africa Monitor’ have all been given funds against Procurement Review Committee, Program Appraisal Committee and Committee on Partner Assessments recommendations. To quote Ms Izeduwa when put to task why she flouted these rules, she retorted ‘I do not care about Procurement Review Committee or Committee on Partner Assessments. Policies are made for the organization, but we must decipher what works for me.’ Another case involves one UHAI Investment Ltd who undertook a study for ESARO. Initial Request for Proposal submission was USD 50000 with field travels. Ms Izeduwa directed the company to increase the cost to USD 100000 exclusive of field expenses with no basis but pitching that the consultancy scope had widened which was not the case. The RFP had been rejected by HQ Procurement Review Committee but Ms Izeduwa directed that it be resubmitted as Direct Procurement Request ignoring the comments by HQ and RO which were ultimate to the process. The firm was awarded the consultancy by change of notice to HQ Procurement Review Committee which left out the details of the original submission with a mere profile that its Director had been once a supervisor of Ms Izeduwa. Yet another company conducting a trafficking study, Ms Izeduwa approved payment of 70% on inception report disregarding the technical advice from finance to release only a smaller percentage at the inception stage and later all the payment of the consultant on the study in trafficking without any single report to date. Ms Izeduwa intentions to reconstitute the Procurement Review/Partner Assessment committees so as to bring on board the conformists and not the extremists to her leadership shows how deep the dictatorial leadership has run and the reason for your intervention." We'll have more on this. Even on the environment, the UN's last refuge as it fails under Antonio Guterres on conflict prevention and anti-corruption, the UN is in decay. Now after Erik Solheim of UNEP's travel spending reported by Inner City Press and others earlier this year, Solheim on November 20 resigned, effective November 22. His statement began: "On Saturday, I received the final report on the audit of official travel undertaken by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services. As I have maintained throughout this process – I have been and remain - committed to doing what I believe to be in the best interest of UN Environment and the mission we are here to achieve.

For this reason, after deep reflection and in close consultation with the Secretary-General, I am stepping down as Executive Director of UN Environment with effect from 22 November 2018. Moments ago, with a heavy heart, I informed the Secretary-General of my decision." Some ask, and what did Guterres say -- better you than me? Guterres has spent public funds on fully 16 trips to his home in Lisbon, refusing to disclose how much it costs and roughing up and banning Inner City Press which asks? In the briefing room, Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the first question - of only four - to Al Jazeera which conveniently asked only about Solheim's travel, not Guterres. This is a pattern. Even banned, Inner City Press has asked in writing: "November 20-2: Confirm or deny that UNEP's Erik Solheim is resigning and either way, state when the OIOS report into his travel will be made public, and state how much the SG has spend on his 16 trips to Lisbon, including 2 UN Security each time." And here is all that Guterres' spokesmen sent back: "On your second question, we have the following note: The Secretary-General has accepted the resignation of Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Mr. Solheim’s resignation is effective Thursday, 22 November.
The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Solheim’s service and recognizes that he has been a leading voice in drawing the world’s attention to critical environmental challenges, including plastics pollution and circularity; climate action; the rights of environmental defenders; biodiversity; and environmental security.
He has led advocacy at the highest levels of government, business and civil society to drive the transformational change needed to make a real difference in the lives of people and promote the cause of the environment.
The Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, Ms. Joyce Msuya of Tanzania, will be appointed as the Acting Executive Director while the Secretary-General launches a recruitment process, in consultation with Member States, to find a successor to Mr. Solheim. Ms. Msuya will be granted all the necessary support to ensure a smooth transition. New York, 20 November 2018." Nothing on Guterres' spending. We'll have more on this. Here was the fourth in Inner City Press' exclusive series on corruption in UN Environment, the re-branded UNEP, under Erik Solheim of Norway. After publishing three, Guterres had Inner City Press roughed up on June 22 and July 3, 2018 and banned since. It is pure censorship. But still our reporting, and that of our sources outraged at what Guterres is doing and others scrutinizing the UN if only their home country officials, see below, continues. On September 17, Inner City Press exclusively published the first in a series on travel waste in UNDP, starting with the bribery-used Office of South South Cooperation, here. This while Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric refuses to answer questions about the public costs of travel, of Guterres or Solheim, preferring to dissemble about why and on what basis Guterres and Alison Smale have banned Inner City Press. On August 27 Dujarric said it was for creating a "hostile environment for diplomats." Vine video here. On September 17 he said, to the contrary, it was all Guterres' Secretariat and there were not "any inputs from any member states." Video here. Which is it? This is today's UN pattern of decision, replicated from Guterres' 38th floor to UNEP, see Solheim's September 17 internal memo, below. On September 26 Inner City Press asked the UN, "September 26-4: Again, on UN system travel spending including the SG's, what is the SG's comment and action on that Two countries have halted their funding to the UN Environment Programme following sharp criticism of its leader’s frequent flying in a draft internal audit. Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it was withholding its 2018 contribution of about $1.6m to UNEP. Sweden’s International Development Agency (Sida) said they would not approve any new funding until all the issues raised had been resolved?" Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq replied, "Regarding question 26-4, we are taking the issue very seriously but will not comment on an incomplete audit." From the draft UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of Solheim: "Some of the trips to Oslo and Paris were called 'bilateral meetings,' even though they took place during weekends or the Christmas holidays... On one occasion he made an eight hour flight from Washington DC for a weekend in Paris, before he boarded another flight for New York." This is what Guterres has been doing -- 15 times -- including this coming weekend in Lisbon. And Guterres spokesmen refuse to answer Inner City Press repeated questions about the costs, choosing instead to work for Inner City Press' roughing up and banning from the UN, then to intimidate remaining correspondents who attempt to ask about it. But who will audit Guterres? Inner City Press has provided extensive information to OIOS whose Ben Swanson has to his credit confirmed receipt. Now what? The draft OIOS audit of Solheim continues: "The UNEP and UN’s Nairobi office should reclaim from these employees (1) all travel expenses and the related working hours which have not been accounted for; and (2) all additional costs incurred by the UNEP as a consequence of uneconomic and inefficient decisions by the management." So who will Guterres be returning money to? And who will hold him accountable for the retaliatory roughing up of the only journalist who asked about his use of funds to travel to Lisbon, and dared to document by Periscope broadcast on Sutton Place the many times Guterres has been out of New York without disclosure? The use of UN Security to threat Inner City Press against filming on a New York City sidewalk - across the street from Guterres' publicly funded mansion - and subsequent 3 July 2018 assault outside the UN Budget Committee meeting including tearing of shirt, damaging of laptop computer and twisting of arm? Aftenpost runs this quote too: The two other senior staffers were allegedly given permission by Erik Solheim to work out of Paris, in spite of being formally assigned to Nairobi. One of them allegedly received more than 165 000 NOK (20 000 dollars) in a special security allowance for Nairobi, in spite of being relocated to Paris. Permitting these leaders to work in Paris is a direct violation of UN’s regulations, according to the draft report. 'Such arrangements will set the presedent [sic] for other employees who wish to work out of a place of their own choice, and probably lead to speculations about unfair treatment or claims when such request are being rejected.'"  Inner City Press' September 13 question to Guterres' spokesmen has gone entirely unanswered, despite the written promises of Alison Smale. But here's from Erik Solheim, leaked nearly immediately to Inner City Press: "From: Erik Solheim
Date: 17 September 2018 at 16:42:10 CEST
To: unon.org
Subject: Update: ongoing audit of UN Environment’s travel
Dear Colleagues,
I hope this email finds you well. As many of you are aware, in recent days, several media articles have referred to preliminary findings of an ongoing audit of mission-related travel within UN Environment.
I am writing to personally address these reports and update you all on the current standing of this audit.
First, I welcome a transparent and fact-seeking audit of any part of our activities. When this audit by the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services has come to term, I am certain the findings will help us in our endeavor to continuously improve our work.
If the audit shows that we have made any mistakes, we are committed to take immediate action and rectify every one of them, with no exception. We will admit to any mistakes that may have occurred. Where administrative shortcomings have been clearly identified, we are already starting to take steps to improve processes and procedural controls, particularly as it relates to travel costs.
On this point allow me to state it clearly and to avoid confusion. The Office of Internal Oversight Services earlier this year investigated all my travels in great detail and found three instances of oversight out of all of them. The money was refunded immediately. Better administrative control systems would have helped avoid these mistakes in the first place.
I believe this audit – which is not an investigation but an audit of UN Environment travel processes - will provide us with an opportunity to revise and improve our systems. Rest assured that this will be done in a transparent and efficient manner.
In my two years, as Executive Director of UN Environment, I have been proud to lead teams of dedicated professionals working on the most urgent environmental challenges of our time. This requires global commitment to unprecedented action, driven by new levels of personal action and political will. During my tenure, I have worked tirelessly to deliver such action and mobilize that will for the success of our work together.
Making good on this type of global agenda demands engagement with the world and indeed an expanded approach to our work. I am therefore determined to continue to focus on our mandate – to create real results for real people with real impact on the ground. These necessary results can only be obtained in close dialogue with Member States, businesses and civil society. This is in line with the Secretary-General’s vision for a more impactful United Nations in the 21th century.
At the same time, I want to reassure you that all travel decisions are made with a focus on maximizing the effectiveness of this organization and meeting the urgent environmental challenges we are facing together, everywhere. If in pursuit of that goal, administrative rules are found to have been overlooked, I accept personal responsibility and offer my strong commitment to immediately refine this process going forward.
The leaked preliminary findings, on which these media reports are based, were draft notes as a starting point for consultations between the Office of Internal Oversight Services and UN Environment. As such it may, by its very nature, contain misunderstandings or inaccuracies. As a part of this process, we have provided extensive follow-up information to the Office of Internal Oversight Services. I ask that you keep in mind that many of the findings are in the process of validation.  We are now awaiting a first draft of the report for our comments prior to the report being finalized.
Once the Office of Internal Oversight Services completes its final report, it will be public on its website, as is standard practice. We will then work diligently to implement the auditor’s recommendations.
I look forward to discussing this with you tomorrow at the Townhall.\
Warm wishes,
Erik Solheim
Head of UN Environment

UN Environment." So Solheim blames his administrative staff, while imposing on UNEP staff more bureaucratic restrictions than UN rules require. As with Guterres - and others at the top of the UN, more on UNDP coming - it's a case of "Do as I say, not as I do." Here's just one of Inner City Press' questions to Guterres spokesmen, entirely unanswered after five days: "September 13-2: Regarding the UN system's rules for use of UN funds for personal travel, and in light of the OIOS criticism of Erik Solheim at UNEP (below), what is the SG's comment and action, will be ensure that the OIOS audit be released to the public in its entirety and that his own travel be subject to an independent audit? See, “"Some of the trips to Oslo and Paris were called 'bilateral meetings,' even though they took place during weekends or the Christmas holidays... On one occasion he made an eight hour flight from Washington DC for a weekend in Paris, before he boarded another flight for New York." Has the SG done anything similar since Jan 1, 2017?

"The UNEP and UN’s Nairobi office should reclaim from these employees (1) all travel expenses and the related working hours which have not been accounted for; and (2) all additional costs incurred by the UNEP as a consequence of uneconomic and inefficient decisions by the management." Should the money be returned, does the SG think?

Finally, confirm that the two others at UNEP subject to OIOS criticism are Anne Lemore and Lisa Svensson, or state why you will not do so, given the allegations of waste of public funds, and when you would release the names." We'll have more on this. Guterres' USG Alison Smale twice promised that questions will be answered, but like so much else she has said and written, this is false. To continue reporting we ask questions at the UN Delegates Entrance, or seemingly in the "High Level" Week on Second Avenue and 46th Street - and Smale says this creates a "hostile environment for diplomats." These people are censors and it must all be reversed. They are further killing the UN, and have assaulted press freedom. We will have more on all this.

As Inner City Press reported in March 2018 before being roughed up and now banned from the UN for UNGA73 and beyond, UN Environment, the re-branded UNEP, is paying over EUR 500,000 in a (reverse) corporate partnership with Volvo Ocean Races, see below. Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed has refused Press questions since November on her role in signing 4000 certificates to export from Nigeria and Cameroon endangered rosewood already in China. Guterres, Mohammed and Alison Smale's only response has been to censor and continue to restrict the Press which asks, despite 5000 signature petition, UNanswered. Now whistleblowers in UNEP have written to Guterres, and exclusively sent a copy and documents to Inner City Press on UNEP mis management, harassment and misuse of government resources. Who authorized UNEP to spend EUR 500,000 in a mis-named corporate partnership with Volvo Ocean Races? Before today publishing the documents, Innr City Press on March 1 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN transcript here: and below. Dujarric did not explain, then or for the rest of the day; he said he hadn't spoken with Guterres about it. Oh. Inner City Press is today publishing in full, on Scribd and Patreon, the agreement with Volvo Ocean Races signed by Erik Solheim, here, and the EUR 500,000 agreement signed by UNEP's Lisa Emilia Svensson, here and here. This UN agency is paying for "public appearances by Dee Caffari and the crew" -- Ms. Caffari is a British sailor -- and for "hospitality activities." It's a new low. From the March 1 UN transcript: Inner City Press: I also wanted to ask you about UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).   Whistleblowers there have alleged a number of irregularities, but the one that caught my eye and I've published has to do with the allegation is that UNEP, which claims under Mr. [Erik] Solheim to have a number of corporate partnerships is, in fact, in some cases paying the corporation for the partnership.  I.e., it's not a partnership like, you know, Barcelona Football Club with UNICEF, where they pay.  In this case, they're alleged that, under Mr. Solheim, the UN Environment, as it's now called, is paying $500,000 to Volvo Ocean Races.  And I wanted to know is it… one, I don't know if it's true, but they work there and they have a lot of names and a lot of information. Spokesman:  I think you can ask those questions directly of UNEP.  I have no doubt that Mr. Solheim is operating and running the agency in accordance to all relevant rules and regulations. Inner City Press: Did the Secretary-General receive this e-mail?  Because it was sent out as a cri de coeur of the people who work there, saying… Spokesman:  I have not spoken to him about it." Why not? Here's from what Solheim as written: "Dear colleagues, You may have received or heard about an anonymous email sent to me this week and copied to many. It consists of slander, rumors and false allegations. Worse, the message contains unfounded attacks on many good colleagues working hard for UN Environment. This is unacceptable. We must strive for openness." So here's from the letter: "Dear Mr. Solheim, It is almost 1.5 years since you became the Executive Director of UNEP.   While our wish would have been to address the issues below with you in person, this message is being sent to you anonymously for our protection, and given threats, harassment and actions being taken against staff who have tried to speak out, particularly as pertains to financial and human resource anomalies. i) Executive Office – Waste of government resources: We constantly receive feedback on the limited financial resources in the organisation.  Since you came on board, you have established numerous positions in the Executive Office, leading to an estimated 25 positions with about 14 professionals, while all previous Executive Directors worked effectively with only about 7 professionals...The additional cost of these positions is over USD 1.1 million in a year.  These funds could well be used to implement activities that meet our obligations and those of our Member States.  You have gone ahead to establish a temporary P5 Deputy Chief of Staff, in addition to having a Chief of Staff D1 and a P3 Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff.  The new position will cost another USD 206,000.  This adds up to USD 1.3 million wasted resources. How inefficient can an Executive Office be to warrant so many staff and special support to one person, when there are no sufficient resources to support activities in the substantive Divisions! You have inappropriately announced to the Member States that you will be advertising the positions of the D2 Director, Ecosystem Division and Director, New York Office without even discussing this with Mette Wilkie and Elliot Harris, the incumbents of the posts respectively.  The organisation is being led by your personal preferences and those of, the Chief of Staff, Anne LeMore who you brought into the organisation -and Sami Dimassi, Officer in-Charge of Corporate Services, whom you appointed against the decision of OHRM, given the un-merited selection. You appointed a P5, Gary from another agency to come and lead the Policy Division, while you have an already capable D1, Sheila Aggarwal-Khan.  This is another example of a wasted USD 205,600.
You are hardly available to provide leadership to the organisation as you are constantly traveling together with your special assistants most specifically Hao Chen.  Millions of resources have been lost in your business class travels, some of which are not necessary. ii)  Corporate Services Division, illegal actions, personal gain & conflict of interest: You have still maintained Sami Dimassi as officer in charge of Corporate Services Division, despite the temporary selection being rejected by OHRM. We wonder why Sami has been mandated to be making key management decisions yet he has not gone through a proper recruitment process as officer In-charge of that Division and has no qualifications and experience to match the job profile. His main activities are scuttling other people’s careers and family lives. It is unimaginable that United Nations can allow a staff member in the calibre of a Director to continue in the system and continue threatening other staff members including senior staff while quoting your name. The Secretary General in his previous address to staff has stated that he will not entertain any form of harassment in the Organization yet Sami continues to do this in all his dealing with staff from certain quarters. The following are a few examples of the mandate you have granted to your appointee against the decision of the United Nations Secretary General. Sami who is a Lebanese national, with Canadian citizenship in the system, has appointed Fadi Abou-Elias, another Lebanese to lead the budget activities, separating these from finance and the able leadership of Moses Tefula who is an expert with a doctorate in the field and with extensive experience. It is obvious to any expert in accounting and finance, the separation has been done to benefit specific individuals. Also, other UN agencies have consolidated these functions. Sami subsequently created a P3 position in the budget unit and appointed yet another Lebanese national, Joseph K. against the programme support budget (PSC).  These funds are supposed to provide programme support to the MEAs and Divisions that bring in the resources, in addition to corporate administrative support.  In addition, Sami and Fadi managed to enforce the selection of Fadi’s wife Nada Matta as P3 Fund Management Officer in the Science Division (where Sami worked previously) after being placed on temporary post to enable a quick appointment.  All budgetary matters of the Division are well sorted by her husband Fadi, bringing a conflict of interest, since he is the same one managing the organisation’s overall budget, against the UN financial rules and regulations. Much of her work is managed by her husband which is obvious in her change in decisions and guidance provided to the Division, once she receives her husband’s input to questions she may have answered without much knowledge. Recently, you appointed Emanuele Corino, P4 to lead all human resources and administration issues.  Emanuele is no expert in HR and has very limited knowledge in the field. He is an IT-expert Sir.  You have taken this responsibility from a capable P5, Mariama, with decades of expertise in the field.  Emanuele came on board as a consultant through UNOPS, who was then appointed as a UNOPS staff and despite Secretariat questions of his illegal appointment to UNEP he continued to lead procurement activities.  He is being supported by an excellent P4 who is an expert in HR and would better lead this docket if not the P5 Mariama.  In addition, the cost of paying Mariama,USD 205,600goes to waste as all her work has been handed over to an incapable Emanuele, and staff under her supervision deployed to other Divisions. Emanuele is propagating the use of UNOPS in hiring of HR services and procurement services. Consultants and staff, including in your office Sir, have been hired through UNOPS to circumvent the UN rules and regulations and he endorses it, being a beneficiary of such illegal processes. It also leads to misuse of resources provided by member states as UNOPS charges for these services that are provided for free by UNON. He is doing all this in collaboration with two senior HR officers in UNON and a senior Finance officer in UNON-DAS who has been promised to take over a position in UNEP. We request for a full investigation into this matter and the illegal conduct of the staff including misuse of his position. All the above positions have been granted to men, while you continue to preach gender (and in respect to the gender parity strategy) but unfortunately you are not leading by practice.  Sir, it is now public knowledge that the Chief of Finance in your organization, Moses Tefula has filed a case in the United Nations Dispute Tribunal for suspension of illegal action to move him, and to suddenly and unilaterally reclassify his position to a post downwards and transfer him to a position not commensurate with his grade. More details are publicly available in the UNDT website on UNDP/NBI/017/124. Sami and his support group is the architect behind this illegal action so that he can hand-over the powerful docket of Senior Finance Officer to his friends as is already happening. Sir, we remind you that the Member States have entrusted UNEP with close to a billion US dollars of annual contributions and it is un-imaginable that management of such resources can be delegated to friendship circles. While management may not like some staff members especially those from the black race to hold such key positions, we cannot allow the contributions of member states which come from the taxes of their nationalities to be jeopardized. iii) Harassment and illegal actions to get rid of colleagues who do not meet your, Sami Dimassi and Anne Le More’s liking. Efforts have been made to cause instability in the Divisions with missions purported to review the Division.  This has created fear among staff, uncertainty and worry on who will be gotten rid of, or who will be moved to an extra-budgetary post (XB) or contract non-renewal, in order to be sent home.  In this case XB is assumed to be any funds that are not from the regular budget or from the Environment Fund.  This was done in the Regional Office for Africa, the Communication Division, Geneva office and other offices where missions are being undertaken to threaten staff. A brutal example is the move of a P3 Regional Information Expert from Bahrain, along with four others because Sami did not like her, despite her previous performance appraisals meeting and in some instances exceeding expectations.  She has a young family of two children whom she has had to leave in Bahrain under threat that she either takes up the move to Nairobi or leaves the organisation.  She was moved from a regular budget (RB) post, to temporary Environment Fund (Fund Reserve) for one year and is to then be moved to an extra-budgetary (XB) post that has no resources, in the expectation that if no funds are forthcoming or if she is not able to mobilise funds, she will be out on the streets.  This is after service to the organisation for 10 years. This is brut ant misuse of authority by Sami. It is against the “Family-friendly policies” of the UN system wide policy on gender parity which requires decision on staff mobility to be communicated at least six months prior to the moves and moves scheduled six months following the completion of the school year or accommodate the family needs otherwise as appropriate. The poor staff member is under distress, separated from her family who are in a foreign duty station and has to incur personal trips to see her young ones.
In contrast, you, Sir, have approved that your friend, a D1, Lisa Svensson can work from Europe, because for personal reasons she does not wish to work in Nairobi.  Her big office in Nairobi remains vacant with her name and organisational equipment while the same has to be provided again by another office in Europe.  She leads the marine team remotely as the rest of the staff under her responsibility are in Nairobi. Sir, how inhuman can you and Sami be, to summon one staff member, who is from a developing country against her wish, separating her from her young family, but provide a golden platter for another who is from a developed country... When you came on board in 2016, you immediately began with changing the organisation’s name, claiming not to understand acronyms, which have been used since the establishment of the organisation over four decades ago.  The whole world knows UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF etc.  Are you purporting that these should have been UN development, UN children… so that one day you Sir, can understand what they do, and that the work of the organisation has not been understood since 1972 due to its use of the acronym UNEP?
Despite numerous interventions during the meetings of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPRs) questioning the legitimacy of this change from UNEP to UN Environment, you have given a deaf ear.  Most are the times that you open the session and then take off, leaving your Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw to find excuses for you... You forget that the rules are not set by the organisation, but through it by the Member States of the UN... You talk of reform and efficiency.  With all the above, and many more examples that would result in a very lengthy document,you have failed the organisation, you have failed us. Your actions are provoking staff to boycott the next Town Hall meeting in respect of all colleagues affected by your actions and those of your circle of friends that are running the organisation to peril. Our plea is to call for an immediate audit of the organisation, intervention and investigation." We'll have more on this. A Climate Risk event was held at the UN on January 31, complete with a delayed press conference with four speakers. Inner City Press asked them about the role of the UN, not just as a venue but as an actor, with a Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed who in 2017 signed 4000 certificates for already-exported endangered rosewood in China. The UN Global Compact accepted CEFC China Energy until Inner City Press repeated asking about its role as beneficiary of a UN bribery scheme to get oil in Uganda and Chad; China Energy Fund Committee is *still* in Special Consultative status with ECOSOC. Periscope video here, since the UN has withheld its, under UNTV boss Alison Smale.  Among the panelists, Betty Yee, California's Controller, repeatedly cited transparency. Fred Samama of Amundi to his credit acknowledged there is a danger of green-washing. Peter Damgaard Jensen of PKA said the UN could / should help emerging markets. (This is true, but today in Cameroon for example, the UN only supports colonialism and exploitation.) Iconic Jack Ehnes of CalSTRS appeared sympathetic. But will they continue to blithely provide a platform for the greenwashing not only of oil companies like CEFC China Energy, but of censoring UN officials like Amina J. Mohammed, who helped export endangered rosewood then refused all Press questions on it, and continues to censor and restrict the Press which asks? We'll have more on this - and on “The Investor Agenda.” Amid UN bribery scandals, failures in countries from Cameroon to Yemen and declining transparency, today's UN does not even pretend to have content neutral rules about which media get full access and which are confined to minders or escorts to cover the General Assembly.

Inner City Press, which while it pursue the story of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's bribery of President of the General Assembly John Ashe was evicted by the UN Department of Public Information from its office, is STILL confined to minders as it pursues the new UN bribery scandal, of Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly bribing President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, and Chad's Idriss Deby, for CEFC China Energy.

Last week Inner City Press asked UN DPI where it is on the list to be restored to (its) office, and regain full office - and was told it is not even on the list, there is no public list, the UN can exclude, permanently, whomever it wants. This is censorship, and has been accepted and even encouraged by what has become the UN Censorship Alliance, which accepted funds from Ng Lap Seng's South South News and had Inner City Press ejected from the UN Press Briefing Room as it inquired into the story.

When this UNCA held its annual meeting on January 29, it could barely reach quorom (Periscope here); it covered over the glass doors of the clubhouse the UN gives it with a sign board.


Disgruntled members forwarded the "agenda" -- "1) Introduction of the new 2018 UNCA Executive Committee. 2) Presentation of UNCA sub-committees and their upcoming agendas. 3) Presentation of 2017 UNCA & UNCA Awards financials. 4) UNCA 70th anniversary. 5) Other matters." We'll have more on this.

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