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At UN, Internal Controls Overridden, OIOS Staff Retaliated Against, Ng Case Censorship Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 14 – The corruption in the UN partially exposed in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe trial continues. The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services which is supposed to prevent this allowed basic internal controls to be overridden, as in today's example in the UN Mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and retaliates against staff members. Nothing has been reformed in the seven month tenure as Secretary General of Antonio Guterres and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed, at least not yet.

  OIOS' Ben Swanson and Michael Dudley have been informed for example that in “MINUSCA and possibly a few others have simply disregarded the advice contained in these communications, and have proceeded to impose a new organizational structure that disregards these requirements. One of the staff members who initially raised the issue through the management evaluation process has opted to transfer to another mission rather than be a part of what they see as corruption: the decision to transfer General Supply Section from Service Delivery to Supply Chain Management, which allows the Chief of this Service to control all procurement planning, budget planning, actual procurement, receiving and inspection of things like rations, fuel supply etc., to Chief , Supply Chain Management, as well as their storage and distribution of these items. The Chief, Supply Chain Management can now make decisions on his own.  He has already shown this tendency by going as far as reversing an offer that had already been made to a staff member after the regular recruitment procedures had been followed and completed.  Staff members claim that the evidence of corruption under the new organization structure is also provided by the way the Chief, Supply Chain has handled the filling of the various units now under him.  The staff members allege that he has brought in his own cronies to fill most of the available posts under the re-structured Service. In one case, he asked for a staff member to be recruited from the roster, and when it transpired that his preferred candidate was not on the roster, he asked HR to bring him on under a TJO arrangement etc. A number of other staff members of the restructured Service have been brought in from other missions with promises for instant promotions.”

   This type of favoritism and retaliation, which OIOS is supposed to be countering, is rife within OIOS. In the UN Dispute Tribunal case of Nouinou v Secretary General, for example, it is recounted that Ms. Fatimazohra Nouinou was the Assistant of the Director of Investigations Michael Stefanovic who raised issues of corruption; she has been retaliated against by the new director of investigations who abolished her post and decided not to renew her fixed-term contract. From the new Administration? Silence to day. We'll have more on both of these case.

A connection to the Ng Lap Seng case, in which a U.S. jury rendered in less than one day six guilty verdicts under the Foreign Corruption Practices Act, money laundering and UN bribery: since then President of the UN General Assembly couldn't have given Ng a doctored General Assembly resolution with out the help of Ion Botnaru of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, why was Botnaru and others still in the UN never held to account? The investigator in charge within OIOS was Vlad Dzuro, who let it go. Applying the perverse UN logic that cleared Michael Dudley of any wrongdoing in the Nguyen-Kropp & Postica case, the UN seems to argue that Botnaru could not be guilty of misconduct because there is no written procedure that required him to conduct any sort of ‘due diligence’ on Ng Lap Seng before getting involved with the guy. Or, in an even more perverse logic echoed this weekend in Virginia, it is enough in the UN to say one was just following orders.

    Coming full circle, when Inner City Press was pursuing the Ng Lap Seng and South South News bribery scandals and after asking Under Secretary General of the Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach about her role in Ng's South South Awards (she also did no due diligence on Ng funded events in the UN, even the buying of the UN slavery memorial) was evicted by Gallach without any hearing by Gallach, OIOS was informed of Gallach's obvious conflict of interest. David Kanja acknowledged receipt, calling it "OIOS Log: OUSG-16-00114;" still OIOS head Heidi Mendoza was informed. And after 18 months, nothing, nothing at all. Inner City Press is still restricted to minders in its UN coverage, a former president of the UN Correspondent Association, which took Ng's South South News' money and provided the venue for Ng's photo op with Ban Ki-moon, has been assigned Inner City Press' workspace but rarely comes in, never asks questions.

The top post in DPI has been renamed “Global Communication” and will be filled by Alison Smale; the conflict of interest of the UN department in charge of pro-UN propaganda also having unfettered discretion in controlling media accreditation and access remains. We'll have more on all this.


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