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On UN Pension Fund Budget Committee Demands Changes After SG Guterres On Murky Succession Refused to Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, follow up

UNITED NATIONS GATE, December 23 – At the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, top jobs are doled out to unqualified people based on favoritism and corruption is covered up with confidentiality agreements. Such practices are the subject of extensive media coverage a mere three hour train ride south, but at the UN the Press which reports on them is roughed up by Guterres UN Security and has been banned from entering the UN for 172 days and counting. But the UN's self-regulating mechanisms have become more corrupted under Guterres. Last week Inner City Press published and asked Guterres and his spokesman without answer about about the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, and the letter Guterres - who has taken to refusing Inner City Press questions despite a promise to the contrary by his USG DPI Alison Smale - has gotten from unions, after even UN OIOS issued a devastating audit of the Pension Fund, see below. Now, with Guterres refusing basic questions and having left town before the UN Budget Committee and General Assembly votes, they have passed a Pension Fund resolution including Notes the current dual role of the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of theBoard; and decides to replace the existing post by two distinct and independent positions as“Pension Benefits Administrator” and “Secretary of the Board” no later than January 2020;
14. Notes that the Board established a working group, which should adhere to the
Tripartite Structure of the Board, with the latter considering the issues of participation, rotation andequitable representation on the Board in fulfilling the mandate of the working group in order toreview the following elements:
(a) The terms of reference, and self-evaluation methodology of Boardmembers;
(b) The composition and size of the Board, including the role of retiree
representatives and modalities to directly elect retiree representatives to
the Board;
(c) Allocation of seats on the Pension Board;
(d) Implementation of a review and rotation scheme for the adjustment of the composition of the Pension Board on a regular basis, to allow eligible member organizations to share the rotating seats in a fair and equitable
(e) Including a regular review mechanism for the adjustment of the composition of the Pension Board;
(f) The usage of the Standing Committee;
(g) The need for the Assets and Liability Monitoring Committee;
15. Requests the Board to submit the key findings of this review to the General
Assembly at the main part of its seventy-fourth session;
16. Urges the Pension Board to ensure timely and proper succession planning for the positions of Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer to allow adequate time
for their competitive selection based on pre-established procedures that ensures integrity and fairness." Still silence from absentee SG Guterres including on his conflicts of interest, reported here, asked about here. On the morning of December 18, Inner City Press in writing asked Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, "December 18-4: Please immediately confirm the SG's receipt of, and state the SG's action on, the Dec 14 letter from staff unions for more transparency in choosing the next CEO of the UNJSPF Pension Fund. I reiterate Inner City Press' unanswered question on transparency in the replacement of Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore." Five hours later at close of UN business, no answer to this question or any other from Inner City Press. The UN of Guterres and Dujarric is corrupt. Here's the letter: "Friday 14 December 2018
Dear Secretary-General,
As you may be aware, the current CEO of the Pension Fund will retire on disability at the start of 2019.
In anticipation, the Pension Board established the Succession Planning Committee at its 65th session in order to identify a candidate for Acting CEO pending the search for a full replacement.
At the time the Board asked that the Succession Planning Committee’s proposal be sent directly to you by the Bureau (an entity that is not explained in the Fund Regulations and Rules and whose existence has also been questioned by OIOS on legal grounds). However, as you will be aware, the Fund’s Regulations, as promulgated by the General Assembly, actually require that the Board first agree that proposal, and then in turn submit it to you as its recommendation.
Article 7(a) The Chief Executive Officer of the Fund and a Deputy shall be appointed by the Secretary-General on the recommendation of the Board.
The rationale for Article 7 is that the Board, rather than the Succession Planning Committee, is ultimately responsible for the performance of the Fund’s senior leadership.
A number of Board members have noticed this discrepancy with the Regulations and have officially requested, since November, that the Board hold either a special session to review and officially approve the proposal of the Succession Planning Committee, or alternatively for reasons of expediency and cost, call a meeting of the Standing Committee, which in between Board sessions, can legally do the same.
Mr. Antonio Guterres Secretary-General United Nations
We agree with this request and to this end have also asked both the Chair of the Board, Mr John Levins, and Chair of the Standing Committee to convene a meeting in a timely manner. We regret that to-date, these requests have not been answered, and at this stage the majority of the Board has no idea who is under consideration nor who the Succession Planning Committee might propose; in keeping with usual Board practice, the Committee’s members have been sworn to secrecy.
In order to ensure compliance with the Fund’s Regulations and uphold the values of transparency and accountability, we therefore ask that any proposal submitted to you by the Bureau, be returned with a request that approval first be sought by either the Board or Standing Committee.
At a time when OIOS has drawn attention to the repeated failures by the Pension Fund to follow its own Regulations and at a time when the Board’s compliance with the Regulations is under close scrutiny by the General Assembly, we urge you to ensure that these same Regulations be followed. It is essential that the Acting CEO you appoint is one that is known by the Board and one that enjoys the Board’s full confidence and support. Only in this manner can the Acting CEO also enjoy the confidence of the General Assembly and Fund participants and can the appointment process be considered clean." Will Guterres and is spokesman answer when Inner City Press asks in writing about it on December 18? The Pension Fund Board met in Rome from July 26 to August 3. (The Rome-based publication Italian Insider has covered Guterres' censorship of Inner City Press, here, but those in charge of the UN Pension Funds' billions seems quite pleased or acquiescent to it. Guterres is overseeing and allowing UN litigation against Italian Insider.) On the Pension Fund corruption and cover up front, a recent audit, of the type Guterres has refused to start about the CEFC UN bribery scandal, showed that the Fund’s management used a $400,000 contract with a "Big Four consulting firm" - Inner City Press exclusively identified it as PWC before being roughed up and ousted from Guterres' UN -- to then procure an additional $1.8 million of unrelated services, which Inner City Press reported to be outside UN procurement rules. As the $1.8 million had not been subject to competitive bidding, the consulting firm billed extensively on hours for senior partners. But in Rome, this audit was not shared with UN Pension Board members. The Board’s audit committee, which was aware of the audits, chose not to disclose its views on these audits. The Audit Committee also withheld from the Board that the Fund’s management had not accepted recommendations from the Office of Internal Oversight Services, to which Inner City Press has repeatedly written throughout this summer of censorship, that would prevent such events from happening again. Those impacted say that audit committee members were required to sign a confidentiality agreement - echoes from 200 miles south.

   One recommendation coming out of the Rome UN Pension Board meeting is to give the UNJSPF Deputy CEO job to an under-qualified French candidate, Thibaud Beroud. The Deputy CEO post is important: the CEO of the Pension Fund has been out on extended sick leave, like Heidi Mendoza the head of OIOS. Beroud has worked at the French Senate's 3000 member pension fund for nine years -- but even the UN's job notice for the Deputy CEO position at the UNJSPF, with 200,000 members, requires a full 15 years of such experience. (Inner City Press is publishing the job notice and Beroud's French Linked in resume on Patreon, here.) But this is how the UN works, under Guterres. His Jan Beagle, who under the changes Guterres managed to get through the UN Budget Committee by remaining silent on killings by Committee Chair Tommo Monthe's Cameroon, will be responsible for see that (or if) Human Resources rules are followed, has been made aware of the problems but it is UNclear what she is doing about it. Ultimately as with the expanding UN sexual abuse and harassment scandals, the rot is due to Guterres, and his response has been... censorship.

Because the initial pretext of Guterres and his "Global Communication" ex-NYT bureau chief Alison Smale to rough up and ban Inner City Press, that it was prohibited from covering the UN Budget Committee meetings as it has for ten years, fell apart, Guterres' spokesman Farhan Haq told Fox News: “there have been a number of allegations from fellow journalists that Lee has harassed them over the years. 'A lot of journalists have not just been harassed but threatened by him and that’s a problem,' Haq said.”

   That last line is extraordinary. Without identifying a single one of these "lot of journalists," Haq declares their anonymous allegations to be true: "HAVE not just been harassed but threatened me him." This stands in contrast to the UN not accepting - in the case of Alison Smale and Stephane Dujarric, trying to not even acknowledge receiving - Inner City Press' written, on the record allegations complete with exhibits. It's called favoritism, and censorship.

  This same Farhan Haq recently answered one of Inner City Press' written questions, about why Guterres had taken no action on its documented exclusive May 24 report for which it received threats (and subsequent letter to Guterres and Smale) that through presumptive nepotism, management of the UN Security Council's website had been given to John van Rosendaal, the photographer husband of Kyoko Shiotani, the chief of staff of Guterres' Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, previously US Deputy Ambassador to the UN under Susan Rice and Samantha Power. Haq responded, "If there are allegations of misconduct they should be taken to the internal oversight offices and mechanisms. Unfounded allegations do not constitute a formal complaint." So how does Haq for the UN now deem anonymous allegations against Inner City Press not only as formal complaints, and as true?

  How corrupt has Guterres' UN become? Even the Security Council's website is a prize to quietly be given to a top official's spouse, with no competition or transparency. In May prior to being banned from the UN in July by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Inner City Press was exclusively informed by whistleblowers that Department of Political Affairs chief of staff Kyoko Shiotani's husband John van Rosendaal has been brought in to run the Council's website, as if the UN and its Security Council were a small business suffused in nepotism. After its reporting, Inner City Press was approached by a senior UN person and told to drop the story, or else. Then, in the middle of a speech by Guterres on June 22, Inner City Press was pushed out of the UN by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins and four UN Emergency Response Unit officers who, equipped with automatic weapons, refused to give their names. On July 3, after a written alert by Inner City Press to Guterres and his team including about "irregularities in even how the UNSC's website is run," a more violent ouster and 23 day ban since. In the interim, more information from sources about the UN website corruption: "Further to your article, let me inform you that van Rosendaal was hired at a P5 level (something that takes a lifetime for career UN staff to accomplish). And that he won't be even making the web site, that will be done by another department, he will just show up to meetings from time to time. He has absolutely no expertise in design or development of web sites and will not make any contribution to the actual web site. His contract was again extended, and will probably get another extension after the new year. Similar sites done by DPI in the past were done with internal resources, no extra cost and usually by lower P level staff or G level staff. In addition to this he is asking for additional money to hire external contractors that are suppose to do some of the actual work." Inner City Press, from the bus stop in front of the UN Delegates Entrance where is it working since banned by Guterres, asked a follow up question, as it cannot due to UN Spokespeople given Guterres ban: "what has USG Rosemary DiCarlo (or anyone else) done about this, since it was exposed?" The reply: "Nothing much was changed. I believe only you reported it and they don't consider that as much negative exposure. So pretty much business as usual. This project is financially supported by the Dutch government and John is Dutch so... The total cost with his P5, the other offices involved and external contractors that John is hiring could reach probably close to half million dollars" or, we're told, double that. So it was simple for Guterres' (and it seems DiCarlo's) UN: do nothing about the blatant corruption, just rough up and ban the Press which alone reported on it. Finally on July 30, with Inner City Press still banned from the UN by Guterres for the 27th day in a row, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq after the noon briefing Inner City Press could not attend emailed this, which we publish in full: "If there are allegations of misconduct they should be taken to the internal oversight offices and mechanisms. Unfounded allegations do not constitute a formal complaint. Mr. Van Rosendaal was hired via proper channels in accordance with standard procedures. He is fully qualified for the job. The Security Council website has not been “given” to anybody. Mr. Van Rosendaal is the project manager for SCAD. Other UN offices are also involved in this project.  We will leave it up to the Member State to announce its involvement, but Mr. Van Rosendaal’s position is outside the budget provided by the Member State. His nationality had nothing to do with his hiring." So it seems that the information provided to Guterres and his team on July 25 was not even passed on by him or his team to OIOS. We'll have more on this OIOS - watch this site. Back on May 24, before it was banned from the UN noon briefing by Guterres,  Inner City Press asked his spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: people that work in your UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) have been confused and surprised to see, according to them, that the husband of the Chief of Staff, Kyoko Shiotani, a John van Rosendaal, has been designated to run the Security Council's website.  They… they found it kind of strange because there was… there was no need for it.  He was brought in without any competition, according to them, and it seemed like a classic case of nepotism and affecting the Security Council itself.  So, I'm wondering… maybe you don't have the information at your fingertips, but can you find out how it is that… that it's… I've seen this thing.  He's now called a senior programme officer after being a self-employed consultant.

Spokesman:  I'm not aware of the case, and I'm sure all the rules were followed.  Carole?

Inner City Press:  How are you so sure?" This was not answered. On LinkedIn, van Rosendaal lists himself as “Strategic Communications Consultant at United Nations” as well as Self-Employed, Photographic Wanderings.

   Here is van Rosendaal's website, Photographic Wanderings dot com: “Professionally, I’ve worked as a journalist, media company manager and communications consultant. I plan to combine my passion and my expertise to build this site into something interesting, useful and entertaining. I’m originally Dutch but left Holland in 1989. Since then I’ve mostly lived in or close to New York, with stints in Switzerland, Cyprus and Austria.”

 He's a communications strategist with 39 Twitter followers. Now he's to run the Security Council's website. Why not?

  Inner City Press asks, how did this "self employed communications consultant" (with 39 Twitter followers) become, as his signature block now says, "Senior Program Officer, Security Council Affairs Division"?

  This is the UN of Antonio Guterres. Rosemary DiCarlo has just taken over at DPA. Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric banned Inner City Press from covering the ceremony where Dicarlo presumably pledged to serve the public. It is impossible to know since UNTV did not film it and Inner City Press was then and now banned from its own livestream Periscope broadcast on Guterres' 38th floor.

Now what will DiCarlo, or perhaps despite his spokesman's knee-jerk defenses of and evictions for anything the UN does Guterres who is already charged with overseeing cover ups of sexual harassment in the IAEA, do? Watch this site.


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