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In UN OCHA Ghelani Favorites Work From Upstate and Telecommute in Geneva Inner City Press Is Told

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive CJR PFT

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 8 – The UN Secretariat is rotting not only in its political function through which Secretary General Antonio Guterres sided for example with Cameroon dictator Paul Biya while Biya's Ambasssador was chair of the UN Budget Committee, but also in its "humanitarian" arm, OCHA. Today Inner City Press has this story, on this the 401st day it has been banned without any due process from entering the UN by Guterres whose Cameroon (and China) connections it dared asked about and continues to report on:

"Hello. I am a former OCHA employee. I am writing under an anonymous email due to my fear of repercussions. Someone needs to investigate the Director of Operations for UNOCHA, Reena Ghelani.   She has long played "favorites," treating her inner circle well, and treating her underlings abusively, but everyone is scared to speak out, because she is protected by senior OCHA leadership.  However, it has now gotten to the point where it cannot be ignored any longer. Since being promoted to head of the Operations Division one year ago, she has begun rewarding her favorites with ridiculous perks while making the working lives of ordinary staff terrible. Certain staff members are away for several weeks or months at a time on annual leave and sick leave, without any explanation, and yet if she likes them, no questions are asked and there are no consequences, they continue to receive their paycheck, although everyone else has to cover their work.

One such staff member has just been given a "telecommuting" job in Geneva, even though this person has no real post (and is barely ever in the office, arriving at 11am and leaving at 3pm when they are there); meanwhile, Mrs. Ghelani has told regular staff that they should not think of taking advantage of flexible working arrangements.

Another of the inner circle works constantly from their home "upstate," with no oversight and no accountability.  Senior OCHA leadership was aware of all the problems with her management style before she was promoted, and was told not to select her, but they made special arrangements to ensure she got the position. Morale in the organization is at an all time low because staff feel they have no outlet to feedback, as Mrs. Ghelani has warned many of them that their posts won't be renewed in December." Since Guterres has had Inner City Press roughed up and banned and the vast majority of its written questions are not even acknowledged much less answered, the above is run as such. Inner City Press will add some of the above to the written questions it submits to Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric - and now his Global Communicator Melissa Fleming - and will report any response, as well as the changes that must come.

Meanwhile elsewhere in UNHQ, a senior UN staff member who even UN judges described as trying to clean up the corruption in the Organization had his office raided and computer search and seized by what has become the retaliation team of Guterres.

 Inner City Press has obtained leaked video of Guterres' "investigator" Ben Swanson, who never acted on Guterres' blatant CEFC China Energy conflict of interest nor on UN Security Ronald E. Dobbins roughing up the Press that asked about it.

  In the video, here, Swanson refers to UN Budget official Anthony Wilson as "a litigious complaining staff member of a type we see quite a lot of" - before the seizure of Wilson's computer. This is Guterres' UN: beyond roughing up and banning the investigative Press, now more than a year at 372 days, if UN staff "of a type we see quite a lot of" go to to the UN's bogus internal court to defend their rights or to report corruption/fraud that makes Guterres look bad, they can expect for Guterres to  send his retaliation squad to do a raid of their office and a witch hunt investigation.

  Here is more information on this, all the more outrageous: thanks to the Inner City Press leaked video, we know that Swanson has been talking about Wilson in a very prejudicial manner, suggesting they have already decided he was guilty of something. Swanson now NEEDS to find Wilson guilty of misconduct because that is the only way he can try to excuse himself for the way he spoke on the video.  This even gets worse. UNDT Order No. 276 (NY/2016, here) shows that Wilson went to the UNDT on 2016 after the Pension Fund was desperate to appoint a less qualified candidate and was playing fast and loose with the rules in order to do so. 

There was a credible (but anonymous) tip-off in that matter, quoted in paragraph 19 of that order, suggesting that the candidate the Pension Fund wanted an OIOS auditor (Dino Cataldo) and they wanted him because he had been “supportive” of the Pension Director's misgivings about OIOS audits. 

If an audit turned up the slightest suspicion of anything improper in the pension fund, global taxpayers would expect OIOS to jump all over it. They clearly didn't do so. This is Guterres' UN: wasting public money, retaliating against staff and the Press which report it. #DumpGuterres. There's yet more detail:

Here is the OIOS auditor's profile who was selected by the UNJSPF first in June 2016 and then again in December 2016, both actions were suspended by the UNDT.  "Before joining the UNJSPF, Mr. Dell’Accio served as Chief of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Audit in the Office of Internal Oversight Services, and Information Security Officer in the ICT Service Division of the United Nations Secretariat."

The selection decision was suspended for the first time at the UNDT June 2016 when Wilson submitted a request for suspension of action.  The MEU actually rescinded the selection decision and forced the pension fund to go back and do full evaluations and interviews.  The night before the interview, Wilson received an email from an anonymous email address stating that he had no chance (one can read about it in paragraphs19-23 of UNDT order 276). And yes, they selected Mr, Cataldo again in December 2016. 

 The selection decision was suspended by the UNDT for the second time in December 2016 when Mr. Wilson again submitted a request for suspension of action.    On this occasion, the MEU upheld the selection decision and Mr. Cataldo was appointed to the pension fund position in January 2017. 

 Notably, Pension Fund spokesman Mr. Lee Woodyear speaking officially on behalf of the Pension Fund decided to publicly slander Mr. Wilson, stating that "In this particular case, a disgruntled candidate from a roster decided to dispute the selection made by the Fund of another rostered candidate. These sour grapes ended up adding six months to the recruitment time, thus leaving an important vacancy at the Fund (not to mention defeating the purpose of the “roster” system). Those who were concerned about the smooth functioning of the Pension Fund, especially at a time when it was processing more separation cases and serving more people than ever before in its history, were understandably perplexed. The case was an anomaly and Secretary-General Guterres supported the CEO and the highly qualified rostered candidate took up his position. Today the secretariat of the Fund is operating as efficiently as it ever has and has a five percent vacancy rate, which in the UN system is a commendable statistic."

  This Mr. Woodyear was officially the CEO's spokesperson and therefore the comments made by Mr. Woodyear represented the official position of the senior management of the pension fund.  Woodyear left the pension fund when Mr Arvizu's went on disability. 

Following his appointment to the pension fund, Mr. Cataldo was appointed (while supposedly working full time for the Pension fund) by the Vatican to "advise the Vatican Secretariat for Communications" but the article still referred to him being appointed as an OIOS auditor. Read it here: "Dino Cataldo Dell’Accio, an expert in information and communications technology and security, and chief ICT auditor of the United Nations, New York headquarters."

Cataldo spends time when he should be working in New York for the UN pension fund in Rome on the lecture circuit while in Rome doing Vatican work.  So Guterres while raiding some staff and banning the Press which asks allows open violation of UN Staff Rule 1.2 (o) and (p): "Outside employment and activities              (o)      Staff members shall not engage in any outside occupation or employment, whether remunerated or not, without the approval of the Secretary-General;            (p)      The Secretary-General may authorize staff members to engage in an outside occupation or employment, whether remunerated or not, if:            (i)       The outside occupation or employment does not conflict with the staff member’s official functions or the status of an international civil servant;            (ii)      The outside occupation or employment is not against the interest of the United Nations; and            (iii)     The outside occupation or employment is permitted by local law at the duty station or where the occupation or employment occurs."

On March 2019, the UNDT issued a judgment on merits of the selection case, partially upholding Wilson's application: "As stated in Valentine UNDT/2017/004, often in a case “there is not a single fact, but rather an accumulation of facts that leads the Tribunal to infer that the selection process for the contested post was not conducted with the required level of impartiality” (see para. 26). With reference to the above considerations, the Tribunal therefore finds it is regrettable that, given the history of this matter, having served as hiring manager in the first round at which he made a selection recommendation, the Deputy CEO, who knew both the Applicant and the selected candidate, was, once again, appointed as the hiring manager and also participated in the panel as a voting member, as this only served to create a perceived, if not actual, conflict of interest. Coupled with all the other circumstantial factors highlighted in this judgment, this gives rise to a reasonable impression of partiality or bias, and at the very least to a finding that the selection exercise was flawed, and that the Applicant therefore did not receive full and fair consideration." The case has been appealed. Watch this site. 

  This is a project for the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info. Watch these sites and feeds.


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