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As Kofi Annan Wins a Double UN Pension, a Roberta Annan at UNDP

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- Former Secretary General Kofi Annan's fight to receive two pension from the UN has been decided in his favor, in a so far unreported ruling that reversed the embattled chief of the UN Pension Fund, Bernard Cocheme.

The UN Administrative Tribunal's Judgment Number 1495, which Inner City Press has obtained and is putting online here, deals with the narrow question of whether the Pension Fund correctly determined that former S-G Annan should not receive the full pension benefits he believes should be afforded to him.

In his filings before the Tribunal, Annan argued that his understanding of the word "suspended" to mean deferred until a later time. But the Pension Fund argued that the word "suspended" meant that Annan "agreed to forfeit his pension benefits during the period he served as Secretary-General."

The judgment explains that Mr. Annan's case represented an "unprecedented situation for the UNJSPF" in that Annan "was the first UN staff member in the history of the Organization to be elected to this high office."

Despite the seeming double-dipping, Annan is found be eligible to receive both his full pension benefits as a result of his career as a UN staffer, in addition to those benefits provided to a former Secretary-General.  (And see Footnote Analysis, below).

The judgment raises a question, in the wake of the UN Justice System's other recent judgment, exclusively reported by Inner City Press, which strongly criticized the current DGACM boss Shaaban M. Shaaban. That decision portends a future decision on whether Shaaban should be held personally accountable for the payment of $20,000 in "compensatory damages" to a DGACM jobseeker. On February 3, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky quietly announced that Ban would appeal the Tribunal's decision, but failed to explain on what basis Judge Adams had erred in his decision.

Nesirky answered Inner City Press' February 3 question by inserting into the "Briefing Highlights" that the UN would appeal. This was not put in the transcript, nor apparently was it conveyed to Inner City Press.

Nevertheless, when Inner City Press on February 4 asked Nesirky about it, he said, you have your answer. But on what basis is Ban appealing? You have your answer, Nesirky said.

Article 12 of the Statute of the UN Administrative Tribunal allows either party to submit a request for revision or correction of judgment. A question is: Will Ban try to request a "revision" or "correction of judgment" in this case?

Speaking of Annan(s), Inner City Press was told by a whistleblower that a relative, Roberta Annan, was given a consultant's contract by UNDP / the Global Environment Fund. Inner City Press asked, and received multiple denials. For example, wehlers [at] replied, "we have no employee by the name of Annan."

UN's Ban and Kofi Annan, 2bl pension, Roberta and Shaaban not shown

Inner City Press returned to its sources, and told UNDP the name of the person under whom Roberta Annan was working: Julia Wolf. Then this admission / denial:

Subject: answers
From: Stephane Dujarric at
To: Inner City Press

Matthew, On Roberta Annan:

There is in fact a "Roberta Annan" working as a UNOPS consultant on a UNDP project on climate change adaptation funded by the GEF. She was hired through a competitive process and her supervisors very much value her work. As for her supposed relationship with Kofi Annan, she has no direct relations with the former Secretary-General and does not know him personally.

Stephane Dujarric
Director of Communications
UN Development Programme

Inner City Press asked , "I want to understand your Roberta Annan answer:

"As for her supposed relationship with Kofi Annan, she has no direct relations with the former Secretary-General and does not know him personally."

As I asked, what IS the family relationship?

"There is in fact a "Roberta Annan" working as a UNOPS consultant on a UNDP project on climate change adaptation funded by the GEF. "

What does the project consist of? Is she based in New York? Why is there a UNOPS consultant on a UNDP project funded by GEF? -- why didn't UNDP hire its own consultant? Please explain.

"She was hired through a competitive process and her supervisors very much value her work."

Please describe the competitive process (by UNOPS?) to hire this consultant: how many applied, how advertised, how many interviewed, etc. Thanks

To which the only reply was

The project in question is . You can all the information you need there. As the project is a multi-agency project, there is nothing surprising to find a UNOPS person working there. As I said previously, she was recruited through the usual competitive process.

Regarding Roberta, I really have nothing else to add except to say that she does not know Mr. Annan personally and has no direct family link with Mr. Annan. I am not in the habit and will not start to ask staff about their family genealogy going back several generations.

Again, feel free to publish my response in full.

Watch this site.

Footnote analysis: a long time UN Pension Fund insider whom Inner City Press respects has this analysis of the Annan decision:

1. Irony that UNAT closes its door with what, most likely, will ne the most famous case in its history - 60 years?.

2. it proves what Inner City Press has been saying about Pension Fund: incompetent because has a management gone wild without control.

3. The Pension Board allows Cocheme to manage incompetently or use the Fund to harm or favor people, as they did with staff and consultants.

4. The UN as a whole allows Cocheme to do the wildest things.

5. This time he was stopped.

6. How can Cocheme say that Kofi Annan is not entitled to his pension when the Regulations says that he is? How can he say that they cut he voluntarily agreed to forfeit his pension when the PF Regulations DO NOT ALLOW it. [This part is not clear in the Judgement 1495], but I know it.

7. Where is the Pension Board oversight?

8. Conclusion: the Board that was mislead by Cocheme has the obligation to ask him to resign.

We'll see

* * *

UN Court Rules Egyptian Official "Not Concerned With Truth," May Pay $20,000

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 2 -- In a little noticed proceeding in the basement of the UN's near empty headquarters building, the Under Secretary General in charge of General Assembly and Conference Management, Egypt's Shaaban Shaaban, is being lambasted by a UN Dispute Tribunal Judge.

  At a hearing last week at which Inner City Press was the only media present, UN Judge Adams demanded to know which UN lawyer was communicating with Shaaban Shaaban. A new hearing was set for this coming week.

  Later in the hallway, Inner City Press asked Shaaban Shaaban about the case. He smiled and said, as his chief of staff earlier had, that it is still in the UN court, still "sub judice."

But the findings and statements in Judge Adams written decision -- which Inner City Press is putting online here -- are scathing, including for example that

I do not go so far, I should say in fairness, as to conclude that he [USG Shaaban] was actively dishonest...I am left with the powerful impression that he was not concerned to tell the the truth…”, “…the proper performance by Mr. Shaaban of his duties was adversely affected by affronted self-importance”, or “Incompetence is an alternative explanation, but I saw no evidence of this”

  The decision, which should have been but was not as of late January put on the UN's website, contemplates a referral to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for discipline.

UN's Ban and Shaaban Shaaban, accountability not yet shown

  It orders a review on whether Shaaban should be held personally accountable for the financial damages: whether Shaaban's paycheck gets docked for the $20,000 being awarded. Shaaban Shaaban is the highest ranking Egyptian in the UN system. A cynic asked Inner City Press, how will they make this one go away? Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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