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In Corrupt UN of Guterres UN Women Derex Briggs Is Said By Staff To Be Out But No Transparency

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, CJR PFT

UN GATE, Jan 25 – How corrupt is the UN under Secretary General Antonio Guterres? After banned Inner City Press (banned now 571 days by Guterres) 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, we received more complaints from whistleblowers,  continued impunity in UN Women and elsewhere under Guterres despite exposure of blatant corruption.

  Now in January staff tell Inner City Press that belatedly but quietly Izeduwa Derex Briggs is out. Typical UN - corruption for a long time, untransparent ending. When will the corrupt reign of Antonio Guterres, censor of the Press which asks, end?

Back in mid November, this: "TO: The Executive Director-UN Women-Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka  CC: Deputy Executive Director-Ms Asa Regner  Global Joint Staff Association Office of the Secretary General-Division of Human Resources Deputy Secretary-General  FROM: The Joint Staff Association-Nairobi Chapter  Executive Committee c/o Chairperson/ JSA Secretary General- or  Dear Madam Executive Director;  Greetings from the JSA Executive Committee in Nairobi-Kenya and welcome to Kenya for the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD25).  The JSA at both the regional level and the global level have continued to discuss with your office the critical lapses and lack of leadership, poor governance, staff harassment and intimidation, wastage of UN Women resources, sharp divisions in the office, demotivated staff, increasing health cases resulting from the crisis at your regional office and abuses by Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs-the Regional Director for UN Women East and Southern Africa at the helm of crisis at the office since her entry in 2016. We are concerned that your office has not made much efforts to remedy the situation at your regional office in Kenya. Instead, we have witnessed increasing disregard of staff welfare with more divisions and worsening health implications perpetuated by Ms Izeduwa who continue to be the subject of the outlined poor governance principles.

 The JSA wishes to bring the following issues to your attention since our last report to your office.  Delegation of authority to the Deputy Regional Director for UN Women East and Southern Africa  Madam Executive Director, while your office made a commendable progress in delegating management of regional office operations and programmes to the Deputy Regional Director, your Regional Director, Ms Izeduwa continues to ignore this arrangement. As detailed below, she continues to distribute resources at her own pleasure awarding herself with the highest of budgets, over half of programmable funds to her own travels and activities. She continues to approve travel authorizations to her own select team of staff as detailed below for their travel disregarding critical questions by the Deputy Regional Director's office on austerity measures. She even goes to the extreme of denying her own Deputy the opportunity to travel to critical meetings which in view of being the Head of Programme, could contribute to efficient programmatic actions-case in point is the Beijing +25 review meeting in Addis Ababa and the consultative meeting with traditional leaders in Zambia. The meeting in Lusaka Zambia was attended by over 30 UN Women staff against under 35 traditional leaders and other participants. All approved by the Regional Director but reflects a huge wastage of resources. A meeting in Addis Ababa on the same agenda was attended by over 15 UN Women staff with traditional leaders discussing the same issues discussed in all previous meetings.  Lack of cohesion and increasing divisions in the regional office  Despite remarkable efforts by the Deputy Regional Director to build a cohesive team, her efforts have been deeply frustrated by Ms Izeduwa who has successfully isolated her from effective decision making and management of the office. Ms Izeduwa continues to have her own decision-making ring who include the Operations Manager, and the HR business Partner. Transparency is no longer a priority for Ms Izeduwa. She continues to make decisions affecting the Regional Office with no or little involvement of her Deputy. She has proved untouchable even where her Deputy has raised concerns to HQ. As detailed below, she has created her own team at the management level where she has created a new management team comprising Operations Manager, HR Business Partner, Her Deputy and herself substantively removing all Advisors from the Senior Management Team without any communications around the same. At the programmatic level, she transferred a Programme Associate to her office and together with her Executive Assistant are the main implementers of Continental Initiatives which should be broadly led by thematic Advisors who have been instructed never to touch on those activities led by the Associates even where it falls within their remit.  Concerns on the Implementation of the Africa Strategy  Ms Izeduwa has formed her own team and a non-existing Africa Continental Office in the guise of implementing the Africa Strategy which should be implemented within the framework of the Regional Implementation Mechanisms. The strategy stipulates that Regional Office for East and Southern Africa shall be in charge of implementing issues on child marriage. Baseline studies on child marriage, human trafficking and women's movement were conducted in 2018 which provided solid evidence that child marriage is actually highly prevalent in West and Central Africa as compared to the other three Regions North Africa and Arab States and East and Southern Africa. But the concern is that the Ms Izeduwa has held six similar meetings with traditional leaders and cultural authorities with exceptional approvals to cover their flights as business class tickets, an aspect that has been rejected by the Global Director of Administration as they do not belong to the group of eminent persons. She continues to ignore this policy position that traditional leaders are not in the class of eminent persons and has continued with  the spree of resource wastage to cover their business class tickets particularly for those coming from West Africa and Nigeria where she originally comes from.

Please note that while the ESARO region is leading this intervention, it usually has more players from West and Central Africa than East and Southern.  Ms Izeduwa has held six meetings with related agenda items with the traditional leaders in Nairobi: Kenya-2018, Blantyre: Malawi-2018, Lagos: Nigeria-2018, Addis Ababa: Ethiopia- February 2019, Lusaka: Zambia-October 2019, Addis Ababa: Ethiopia-October 2019 with further plans for New York City early next year. These meetings cost over 200000 USD yet have pretty same agenda items discussed over and over.  Ms Izeduwa has formed a team of four staff comprising her Operations Manager, a Programme Associate, her Executive Assistant and the HR Business Partner who are the main staff leading the implementation of what she calls Africa Strategy. The JSA received reports that in early 2019, the Operations Manager was made to lead an EVAW meeting and the Advisor responsible for EVAW excluded from the leadership and only allowed to participate as an observer. While this affects the staff morale, it also contributes to more divisions in the office. The concern however, is the fact that in 2019, despite HQ transferring the delegation of authority to her Deputy Regional Director, Ms Izeduwa, with impunity has continued to manage the office particularly approving unit and thematic resources and allocating herself close to USD 1.0M for her own continental projects and her travels against the overall allocation to 12 thematic units amounting to USD 1.35M. You realize that Ms Izeduwa has created her own equivalence of an office and is no longer interested in the work of the regional office for East and Southern Africa. In 2020 annual work planning process, she has allocated herself close to one million USD again against the overall allocation to all 12 units of less than a million. The question Madam Executive Director the USA is asking is as follows;  •  Who funds the Africa Strategy?  Why should regional resources be solely used for work that should have continental contributions?  Why are other regional offices aloof in participating in the implementation of the Africa Strategy while ESARO which funded all baseline studies still continues to soldier all the expenses related to the strategy?  Can HQ address the governance challenges with the implementation of the Africa strategy as Ms Izeduwa is using the gap in abusing resources allocated to ESARO with hefty travels and duplicated meetings with traditional leaders attended by majority of UN Women staff. In some cases, she holds meetings in country offices with UN Women presence but still not having any courtesy to even inform the country office.  Ms Izeduwa has reassigned roles of Advisors to a Programme Associate and her Executive Assistant with official instructions to related Advisors never to touch on those roles whether they relate to their units. A good example is the child marriage, women's movement and trafficking interventions which should be solidly anchored within the regional thematic areas. She has for example sent an email to the EVAW Advisor that he should never touch on any activity related to child marriage. She says that even where this is reflected in the Spotlight initiative for example, the Advisor should immediately cease any  responsibilities. One wonders the capacity of Programme Associates and her Executive Assistant undertaking the roles of senior Advisors. But this worsens as the Advisors feel undermined in their thematic roles. In the 2020 work planning process, the arrogance and impunity continue with instructions that all the activities be allocated in the thematic units but implementation responsibilities remain with the Regional Director and her team.

 Youth Programming Concerns  In 2018, ESARO introduced a youth programme through a baseline youth only and led conference which was led by a specialist at the regional office. This was a successful meeting that led to establishment of a youth programme and action plan. It was also marred with irregularities of great magnitude as the Resident Coordinator was deleted from the programme and another programme printed due to personal directives from Ms Izeduwa. She also equally invited her own daughter and friends from the UK to participate at the conference in Kenya with full coverage from UN Women funds. She pushed for a business class ticket for three which was not possible within the policy. She then ordered the cancellation of tickets which had been approved and which costed the institution more money just because her daughter complained and wanted a direct ticket. During the conference, she ordered the office driver to take her daughter and a group of Nigerian participants to the national park and in several social joints using office vehicle. Upon learning that staff were complaining that her daughter was causing more conflicts at the conference reporting staff on every single petty issue, she signed a declaration statement after the conference as the story had been out. Despite this outright disregard of UN policies, the JSA is concerned that Ms Izeduwa this year continued to invite her daughter and friends from the UK to a youth event in which they were still sponsored with UN Women funds. She further directed that the specialist who initiated and developed the youth programme be excluded from any aspects as she felt the specialist had contributed to her woes regarding the 2018 conference. Madam ED, while we appreciate the programme as a noble idea, UN Women needs to set global acceptable standards that build staff into the value system of the United Nations where those deprived of opportunities are reached first. Ms Izeduwa cannot continue to use her position to enable her family and relatives to continue participating in UN Women opportunities while denying the most marginalized the opportunities.  Madam Director, while the JSA has made all efforts to mobilize action from your office, we feel that you continue to oversee a divided office where staff feel targeted depending on which side they are supporting. Madam Executive Director, while you continue to ignore the voices of staff who continue to be affected by the bad governance, misguided leadership and wastage of resources and opportunities  Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs at UN Women Regional Office for East and Southern Africa, the USA wishes to register a strong protest at the lack of action from your office. You had promised an administrative review on the conduct of Ms Izeduwa which has never taken place. You further sent a mission from New York to meet with staff which was done at a time majority of staff were out on mission hence unproductive. We have not seen any reports from the mission and all that we can see is continuity of misuse and wastage of resources, demoralized staff who feel helpless as they have no one to turn to in view that the Regional Director continues with the same expedition that has been repeatedly raised by our members. Ms Izeduwa continues to fly the flag of a divided office, whose divisions are led by her. She has now formed her own continental team as mentioned above and all these entrench the divisions in your regional office.  Staff health and well-being and continued intimidation by Ms Izeduwa  Madam ED, the JSA wishes to report to you that the health and well-being of your staff at the regional office is worsening with some reported complaints of high blood pressure and anxiety effects. The JSA feels that you have not done much to protect the welfare of the office. We received reports of staff frequency of visits to hospital increasing and Ms Izeduwa revenging on staff including by proxy. She has recently denied staff missions which were fully funded by a country office to support them. Denying her Deputy programmatic missions makes the situation even worse. Approving select Travel Authorizations even when the Deputy is in office shows the highest of undermining of her Deputy's authority and presents a misguided leadership. You need to urgently take a pulse rate of your regional office, otherwise, you will have staff who are sick and lack the energy to implement your mandate. At a recent Annual Work Planning meeting, which was Chaired by the Deputy Regional Director, Ms Izeduwa confronted her Deputy over a lunch cancellation at the hotel where the meeting was hosted in the presence of all staff at the peer review and telling her that should the hotel bill UN Women for the lunch due to late cancellation, it will be recovered from the Deputy's salary, an issue that proved undermining and depicting a leadership crisis as these issues could be handled in a better manner without intimidating her Deputy in the open.

In a recent meeting in Addis Ababa, Ms Izeduwa is reported to have shouted at the Country Representative before participants and staff and is now pushing a staff to help her justify her behavior through an email detailing what she calls lack of corporation from the Country Office which is not the case. Ms Izeduwa's intimidating tactics continue to increase and manifests in various forms.  Restriction of direct engagement by Regional Office Colleagues with Country Offices  It is ridiculous that Ms Izeduwa sent email communications to all staff and country representatives directing them that no staff should be in contact with the country office teams without her review and approval. This disregards the role of the regional office which includes primarily technical support to Country Offices. Ms Izeduwa travels 100% of her time and it is very illogical to demand that all staff must go through her to engage with country offices. She also instructed all country representatives that they must go through her to engage with any regional office teams. She frustrates any technical support requests fully funded by the country offices and only does selective approvals to those she perceives as close allies. At times, staff members get confusing guidance as Ms Izeduwa would always provide guidance that is seen to be contrary to those of her Deputy ostensibly to undermine her authority.  Concerns on Staff Meeting Held on 8th November 2018  Ms Izeduwa held an SMT meeting on 7th November 2019 where Advisors were largely missing but only attended by her Deputy, Operations Manager, HR Business Partner and herself. From this meeting a decision was taken to hold a staff meeting with an agenda item "Office Environment" which was proposed by Ms Izeduwa's Programme Associate at the all staff meeting.

It was surprising as the Programme Associate spoke about an ongoing investigation to which the Operations Manager directed to be abstained. It is not clear whether the Programme Associate was acting for Ms. Izeduwa or her Deputy as her directive to all staff that any staff who is not comfortable with their stay at UN Women regional office should resign and leave is such a sensitive message that should only be delivered by the senior management at the regional office. Staff were left to wonder whether she was speaking on behalf of Ms. Izeduwa as this reflects serious leadership crisis where such a grievous issue is casually left to  junior staff to address when management has not held any single honest conversations with UN Women regional office staff on all these issues. The other apprehension is where the Programme Associate who was recently moved to the Regional Director's Office got the very confidential investigative information to share publicly with all staff about ongoing investigations. The other agenda pushed by the Programme Associate was around HR leadership in creating a wellness team. The JSA has received concerns about the impartiality of the HR team including their confidentiality with reservations that they could be fueling more tensions as they are part of the problem. Particularly, the HR Business Partner. It is becoming clear that Ms. Izeduwa is using staff who work in her office and who have been reassigned roles of the thematic Advisors to create deeper tensions in the office including revealing sensitive investigative information to those staff. It is unacceptable for Ms Izeduwa to continue using staff in her office and HR to intimidate staff fueling deeper tensions in the office.  Change Management-an opportunity for revenge on staff  The JSA wishes to reiterate the concerns on the ongoing change management for your offices in Kenya Regional Office for East and Southern Africa and its Kenya Country Office. Madam Executive Director, you are well aware that reports have been made regarding manifestations of retaliation against specific staff by Ms Izeduwa. We would want to reiterate a very strong position of your office on this to ensure that these staff are adequately protected and not victimized for reporting perceived malpractice by Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs.

 The HR function which could be helpful in managing the situation has been reported to be biased and not confidential as the HR Business Partner is already discussing staff whose positions have been scrapped by the change management process which has not even been completed and no report presented to staff, a clear indication of potential revenge on select staff at the office.  Petition by the JSA for Removal of Ms Izeduwa from Office  Madam ED, the JSA hereby petitions your office to take administrative action on Ms Izeduwa Derex Briggs. This includes at the minimum, removal and/or transfer from the regional office for East and Southern Africa which she continues to divide through her leadership crisis.  The USA argues that it has become untenable to operate in such a toxic work environment with;  •  Divisions of staff,  •  Тәр  Targeting of and revenge against staff,  Dictatorial leadership of Ms Izeduwa,  Disregard and disrespect of the Deputy Regional Director by Ms Izeduwa's office,  Unprofessional emails meant to humiliate some team leaders and meant to depict them as incompetent,  Abuse of resources while ignoring the austerity measures outlined by the Secretary General,  Undermining the responsibilities of Advisors by reassigning duties of Advisors to non programmatic staff,  Worsening the health situation of some staff through the long-standing negative feedback on issues touching on their thematic areas among others.  While we appreciate that there could be ongoing processes of justice to staff, the team feels very strongly that your office needs to act with urgency to restore confidence and create an environment of reliable operations for UN Women East and Southern Africa.  Your urgent feedback and action are highly appreciated. 

Appeal for a meeting during the ICPD  Madam ED, this committee requests an urgent meeting to discuss the issues we have continuously raised with you regarding your office which you continue to ignore. We would love to present our members with options that restores confidence in them and brings hope of a health working environment. We request your confirmation at the earliest convenience.  Madam Executive Director, the JSA looks forward to an urgent intervention that can save the already worsening situation of your Regional Office.  Most appreciated.  II WOW 2019  John Gathuya Chairperson - UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UN Women, UNIDO, UNISDR, UNREDD, UN OCHA, UNV & Partner Agencies Joint Staff Association  ........  .....  .  ..........  .  ....  ....  IIIIII  HOIUJI....IIII..  About the JSA The JSA has a membership drawn from UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UN Women, UNIDO, UNISDR, UNREDD, UN OCHA, UNV & Partner Agencies established in accordance with staff rule 8.1(b).

We already ran this, more uncorrected abuse: "From: JN
Date: 2 December 2016 at 21:50:47 EAT
To: Izeduwa Derex-briggs <izeduwa.derex-briggs [at]>
Subject: Re: Accreditation of UN Women Regional Director
Dear. Madam Zed
I refer to  your call  on Friday 2nd  Dec 2016 at 20:09hrs concerning your accreditation.
My Superiors are aware that you were issued with a blue card which I returned to MFA for exchange of a red one.
With all due respect I do not think it is acceptable for you to call me on a Friday night, to be precise at 20:09hrs shouting at me on official matters.  I try to  pic all my all calls both on  weekend and even at night. Just in case a colleague needs help. But this does not warrant you as the Regional Director of UN Women to call me after working hours. furthermore you insisting on talking to me as I drove my children from beautiful Christmas concert.
I repeatedly told you that I was driving with my children but due to your anger you kept raising your voice and instructed me to  put the phone on speaker.   You did not even consider requesting me to pull aside. This tormented them a great deal.
You went ahead and insisted that I give you Marks number so that you could call him personally.  I politely explained that he had been on a Presidential trip and that I I met him during HLM2 and reminded him to replace the card.
If this is not good enough then. I stand to be corrected but bullying is not allowed in the work place.  
As much as The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges allows for facilitation of diplomatic missions and their international staff to be accredited by the host country, he onus is with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Not JN nor UN.  We can only facilitate and request for speedy action in a candid and diplomatic manner.
Has this become personal?  Do I have to use the same tone and words to force GOK to sign your card and accredited you?
I stand to be corrected.
JN." But in Guterres' UN, none of his friends are corrected, while those who question him are roughed up and banned. 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.


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