Ban Expects Nepotism Report Aug. 18, As Son
Promotion and His
Daughter's Placement Are Questioned
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 14, updated August 23 below -- Questions about nepotism
at the UN have
multiplied this summer, now leading directly to the top. The efforts
by Alan Doss, the Special Representative to the Democratic Republic
of the Congo of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to procure a
his daughter Rebecca with the UN Development Program, documented by
an e-mail obtained and first published by Inner City Press in which
Mr. Doss requested "leeway" from applicable hiring rules,
has triggered an investigation on which a report is now expected on
August 14, Mr.
Ban's Spokesperson's Office in a message to Inner City Press disputed
that they have been dodging questions and said that Ban "takes
this matter very seriously, and expects to see a report upon his
return to New York" on August 18. This was reiterated on camera in
response to follow-up questions from Inner City Press, here.
himself has been subject to nepotism related questions. His son in
law Siddath Chatterjee, already given a promotion by another SRSG
Staffan de Mistura, in May obtained an even higher job with the UN
Office of Project Services in Copenhagen. Inner City Press, which happened on
the story while in Copenhagen covering Mr. Ban's trip to
Sri Lanka, asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office to confirm the rank
hiring. The Office refused until, four days later, Inner City Press published
refused to state how high a promotion Ban's son in law was given.
Internal UNOPS e-mails subsequently obtained by Inner City Press and
published below show that it is at the D-2 level, the rank
immediately below Assistant Secretary General. Also below is a
detailed message concerning Ban's son in law's work in Iraq which
calls the promotion into question.
Spokesperson's Office referring the question to yet another UN
agency, UNICEF, Inner City Press has obtained confirmation that Ban's
daughter in late June was given a Temporary Fixed Term contract by
UNICEF, in Copenhagen where her husband in May got the promotion.
Throughout the UN system, Inner City Press has met spouses who are
unable to obtain jobs in the same city, country or even continent.
some ask, how
seriously can or will Ban take the Doss affair?
UN's Ban and and his DRC envoy Alan Doss shaking
hands: sharing a POV?
When last month Inner City Press asked a senior Ban
advisor to confirm UNOPS' hiring and promotion of Ban's son in law, the
response was that it is a "sensitive" matter but that Ban's
Spokesperson should answer. After posing the question, no response was
given for four days.
Similarly, when Inner City Press from July 31 on asked about
Ban's envoy Alan Doss' e-mail asking for leeway in the hiring of his
daughter, Mr. Ban's Spokesperson's Office repeatedly referred all
questions to UNDP, even though Doss works for Mr. Ban and the
briefing on August 14, before publishing this story, Inner City Press
asked Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe to respond to those who
question if how Ban views and deals with the Doss matter may be
impacted by Ban's own "sensitivity," as the Ban advisor
put it, to questions about the UN system hirings of his daughter and
son in law. "Absolutely no connection between the two," Ms.
Okabe said. Video here,
from Minute 10:48. Watch this site.
Ban's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee, first from a whistleblowing
source anonymous due to fear of retaliation, and then
official but internal UNOPS e-mails:
Inner City Press
in drawing this level of nepotism to the attention of all, both
within and without the UN system. The Iraqis deserved better. UNOPS,
for all its faults, deserves better.
of Sid Chatterjee:
was a junior MOVCON officer in northern Iraq during the 986 (Oil for
Food) program. Staffan de Mistura was with WFP in northern Iraq, and
this is where they met. Sid went on to become a security officer for
UNICEF (Somalia), ending up as P4. When de Mistura was appointed
SRSG Iraq, apparently Sid called, asked if he could work for him as
Chief of Staff, and was immediately given the job. The COS post is a D2
appointment, but Sid was brought in, and ‘performed’ the role, as
a D1. He has moved to Regional Director with UNOPS as D2 (see
decision as COS in Baghdad – never did anything which might be used
against him in some way in the future. Kept a clean slate throughout
– the problem being, of course, that the mission virtually ground
to a halt, as no decisions were made, and no direction given.... In
essence, an over-promoted, under qualified, totally ineffective
individual, concerned only with getting as high as possible within
the system, while conditions are in his favor. (That may seem very
subjective, but I can assure you it is the opinion of the vast
majority of people in Iraq, especially those working in UNAMI itself.
When one international member of UNAMI staff heard Sid had been
recruited as Regional Director for UNOPS, he shouted: “D2? D2? He’s not
even a f***ing P2!)
of Jan Mattsson:
to UNOPS, from UNDP, in 2006... Not field
orientated, which is a shame for a UN entity which is predominantly
field based. Built a huge empire in Copenhagen, with ludicrous
senior staff levels (at P5 and above level). UNOPS, of course, is
unique in the UN system, as it is the only entity which is entirely
project funded (no core funds whatsoever). Those in the field now
have to work harder to fund the bureaucracy which has been
established in Copenhagen. Has very weak interpersonal skills, and
is utterly hopeless (embarrassingly so) when engaging in conversation
with others (including donors, national government representatives
etc). His only concern, it is felt by many, is to
achieve USG rank before he retires. Of course, only the Secretary
General can appoint USGs. Hence Sid to Copenhagen, on promotion.
01 May 2009 06:49
UNOPS - ALL STAFF
Appointment of Siddharth Chatterjee as Regional Director for Europe
and the Middle East (EMO)
is pleased to announce the appointment of Siddharth Chatterjee as
Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East (EMO), stationed in
Copenhagen. Starting today Sid will be responsible for UNOPS
operations in this new regional office set-up, developing business
and delivering a full range of quality services to clients. He will
explore partnerships within and outside the UN, including the private
sector. And as part of UNOPS senior management team Sid will, like
the other Regional Directors, help shape the future direction of the
organization. Sid will report directly to Vitaly and myself.
national of India, Sid is a graduate of the National Defence Academy
of India and obtained a certificate in Social Policy from the
University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. For more than 12 years
he has held positions of increasing responsibility in UN peacekeeping
missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Iraq, and with UNICEF in
Sudan, Indonesia and Somalia. Previously he served 12 years with
distinction in the Indian Army Special Forces, rising to the rank of
familiarity with multi-sector programmes in emergency, transition and
development environments, combined with leadership experience in the
military and the UN will be a real asset to UNOPS.
is a poet, a keen golfer, enjoys long distance running and scuba
diving, and when time allows he willingly jumps out of perfectly good
give Sid your strong support in our shared efforts to strengthen
UNOPS for the benefit of our partners and the people we ultimately
Mattsson | Executive Director | Copenhagen, Denmark |
Inner City Press' well placed source] Several things are of note
about the recruitment. Was it transparent? Nobody thinks so. Is he
qualified for a D2 post? Certainly not. His previous experience
within the UN was mostly as a junior international staff. The e-mail
refers to him having gained a ‘certificate’ in Social Policy from
the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands – which is a weak
attempt to cover up the fact that he does not have a degree (I don’t
think he has a first degree, and certainly hasn’t got a Masters
degree – a usual requirement for any Professional (P) post, whether
junior or senior (and certainly Masters required for D level posts).
essence, he is officially totally under-qualified for a D2 post. Not
only under-qualified, but his qualifications would, in normal
circumstances, actually preclude him from even being short-listed.
the record, here is what UNOPS, to which Ban's Office of the
Spokesperson referred Inner City Press when weeks ago Inner City
Press first raised the issue, said in response to a request to know
whether the S-G's son in law's post was at the D-1 or D-2 level:
response from UNOPS to your question
From: [Deputy Spokespeson at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 7/24/2009 11:48:20 A.M.
Eastern Standard Time
from UNOPS on the selection of Siddharth Chatterjee as UNOPS Regional
Director for Europe and Middle East
Chatterjee, was appointed in May 2009 as UNOPS Regional Director for
Europe and the Middle East (EMO). He was awarded the position after
competing successfully in a routine and transparent recruitment
process independently managed by UNOPS.
Chatterjee met or exceeded all the criteria for the post. UNOPS
totally rejects any suggestion that he gained the position due to
12 years Mr. Chatterjee held positions of increasing responsibility
in UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Iraq,
and working for UNICEF in Sudan, Indonesia and Somalia. Earlier he
served 12 years with distinction in the Indian Army Special Forces,
including duty as a military observer for the UN, rising to the rank
of senior Major. During the recruitment process he impressed the
selection panel with his 24 years of leadership and experience
handling UN tasks in conflict and post-conflict settings.
post of regional director was advertised on UNOPS website and in
prominent international media. UNOPS received 121 applications, and
short listed five candidates based on their specific experience and
their match to the competencies sought for the position. UNOPS
conducted a formal panel interview with these five, asking identical
questions of each. The candidates were ranked based on their
interview scores. References were checked and the successful
candidate offered the position.
response does not state Mr. Ban's son in law's new rank nor
compensation, nor describe "any safeguards in place" nor
"confirm that the spouses of the Secretary General and Mr.
Mattssson met in late May, describe all use of UN system personnel in
this regard and the cost. Please describe and disclose all
communications between the Bans and the Mattssons, in connection with
the hiring, with S-G's decision to increase UNOPS' autonomy in hiring
and the increase in D-1 and D-2 positions and otherwise."
questions were reiterated to UNOPS and the UN Spokesperson's Office
on July 24, but were never answered. In the interim, Inner City Press
has obtained an internal UNOPS email documenting that Mr. Ban's son
in law's post is at the higher, D-2 level:
03 March 2009 11:09
UNOPS - EMO
Welcome to the new mailgroup
you know, yesterday EUO and MEO formally merged into a new regional
office called EMO (Europe and the Middle East) based in
Copenhagen...I will be acting Regional Director of EMO until we have
recruited a “permanent” replacement. In response to our
advertisement for the D-2 regional
director job, we received some 130
applications. Five candidates were short-listed for interviews: four
were interviewed last Friday and the last interview is scheduled for
Thursday this week. We’d like to make a decision by mid-March.
Deputy Spokesperson at un.org
To: Inner City Press
8/14/2009 7:57:02 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
your latest entry
I said was that queries on the biting incident should be directed to
the NY County DA Office.
the allegations, we take the matter very seriously.
Secretary-General is aware of the situation. He has been assured that
a thorough independent investigation is underway, He takes this
matter very seriously, and expects to see a report upon his return to
14 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked, among other things, "please
confirm that the report you refer to will be the one by UNDP's Office
of Audit and Investigation. As the article you're responding to
reports, sources in UNDP say the investigation is being compromised
by its leadership's long time friendship with Alan Doss. (1) Any
response? More important and on deadline: following up on my
questions about the hiring of the S-G's son in law by UNOPS, which
your Office after not providing any answers about for four days ended
up referring to UNOPS only after publication and public raising, (2)
please confirm this morning that the S-G's daughter has also obtained
a UN system job on a Fixed Term Contract in Copenhagen, and how it
should be viewed as above board given the son in law's getting a
Okabe did not
comment on the credibility of UNDP's investigation, nor the other
matter. Rather, she referred Inner City Press to UNICEF, from which
Answers your queries re: employment
status Ms. Ban
Spokesman at unicef.org
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 8/14/2009 10:25:42 A.M.
Eastern Standard Time
Answers on Ms. Ban.
Ms. Ban commenced
work with UNICEF in January 2003 as a JPO. After completing her
term as a JPO and serving the obligatory period away
from service, she competed for and won a P2 position in our
Sudan office in January 2005.
is employed on a 12-month temporary contract (TFT) with UNICEF (at the
P3 level) based in Copenhagen which started on 29
June 2009. Her title is "Project Manager: Supply Web
Catalogue" in our Supply Division's Knowledge
From Feb 2006 to 2008, she held a
post as a UNICEF staff member based in Nairobi. In 2008,
she requested (and was granted) special leave from her staff position
in Nairobi. After a period on special leave without
pay, she resigned from that post.
this year she applied for the temporary position mentioned above in
Copenhagen. Candidates were reviewed according to our normal
procedures, she was gauged the best candidate and she was offered
The work she is undertaking for
UNICEF has no relationship whatsoever with the position her
husband occupies in UNOPS. It is not uncommon for married couples
to apply for positions that allow them to live in
the same city/country.
after Friday's noon briefing argued that married couples should be
allowed to be posted together. Inner City Press does not disagree,
but has met many couples in the UN system forced to be apart.
Shouldn't all UN staff be treated equally? As one source asked, isn't
preferential treatment for relatives of high officials the definition
of nepotism? Watch this site.
Update of August 21
returned to New York from his South Korea vacation and delivered
prepared remarks at a World Humanitarian Day event in the UN's
visitors' lobby on August 19. He took no questions. On August 21,
after waiting two days, Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe if Ban had
as he expected now received the report on nepotism, and what would he
do about it?
that although Ban had returned to New York, he had gone on leave
again. So finally, what will he do?
Update of August 23
Ban Ki-moon's Son in Law, UNOPS Finally Says His Post Is D-1
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 23 -- Following legal threats made by the son in law
of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to censor reporting of possible
nepotism in his hiring by the UN Office of Project Service,
exclusively reported by Inner City Press, UNOPS wrote to Inner City
Press demanding the publication of five points about its hiring of
Siddarth Chatterjee. Because unlike Mr. Chatterjee Inner City Press
believes is full and permanently available airing of controversies,
UNOPS' email is published below in full, along with necessary replies
to certain of the points.
UNOPS' demand is that Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesperson to
confirm that UNOPS had hired Ban's son in law, for a high level D-2
post, in May 2009. The Spokesperson said that an answer would be
provided, but for four days there was no answer. Only after Inner
City Press published its story and then re-asked the public in public
did the Office confirm the hiring. Even so, for any details Inner
City Press was directed to UNOPS in Copenhagen.
sent an e-mail to Copenhagen, explicitly asking if Chatterjee had a
D-2 or D-1 post. UNOPS, though Ban's Spokesperson's Office, sent a
reply which strikingly omitted any answer on the question of whether
Chatterjee's was a D-2 or D-1 post. Inner City Press published again,
including an internal UNOPS e-mail describing the post that was given
to Chatterjee as a D-2 post.
after hearing of Chatterjee's legal threats, Inner City Press was
contacted by a Norwegian reporter who recounted that his newspaper,
which has already run hard hitting criticism of Ban, had been told by
UNOPS' Spokesman that Inner City Press' story about Chatterjee and
his D-2 post should not be followed-up on, and the piece was in fact
pulled. After Inner City Press published the first news of the legal
threats for censorship by Ban's son in law, UNOPS sent a message
Chatterjee has not been promoted to the D2 level. In Jan 2008 Mr
Chatterjee became Chief of Staff, UNAMI, Iraq on loan from UNICEF. In
this position he was remunerated at the D1 level. In May 2009 Mr
Chatterjee was appointed UNOPS Regional Director for Europe and the
Middle East. He was taken on a one-year secondment from UNICEF at the
D1 level. All five Regional Director posts in UNOPS were reclassified
in Jan 2009 on the authority of the Executive Board at the D2 level.
In no case has this reclassification been implemented."
one has to
wonder why UNOPS repeatedly refused to answer whether Chatterjee's
post was a D-2 or a D-1. Second, the answer does not mention the
Secretary-General's Bulletin put out by Ban Ki-moon giving UNOPS his
freedom for its human resources practices, not unrelated to the post
then given to Ban's son in law. The claim that UNOPS and the UN have
been transparent is ludicrous. We will have more on this. For now,
UNOPS' full submission:
am writing in relation to the article dated August 14 and entitled
‘UN's Ban Expects Nepotism Report Aug. 18, As His Daughter's and
Son in Law's Promotion Questioned’, that appeared on the Inner City
Press website. UNOPS repeats its total rejection of any suggestion
that Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee gained the position of Regional
Director at UNOPS due to family connections.
would also be grateful if you could correct the following factual
inaccuracies that appear in the story.
The article states that Mr Chatterjee was a security officer for
UNICEF (Somalia) ending up at the P4 level. In fact from November
2004 he was Deputy Representative/Senior Programme Officer, UNICEF,
(Somalia) at the P5 level.
The article states that Mr Chatterjee has been promoted to the D2
level. Mr Chatterjee has not been promoted to the D2 level. In Jan
2008 Mr Chatterjee became Chief of Staff, UNAMI, Iraq on loan from
UNICEF. In this position he was remunerated at the D1 level. In May
2009 Mr Chatterjee was appointed UNOPS Regional Director for Europe
and the Middle East. He was taken on a one-year secondment from
UNICEF at the D1 level. All five Regional Director posts in UNOPS
were reclassified in Jan 2009 on the authority of the Executive Board
at the D2 level. In no case has this reclassification been
The article states that Mr Chatterjee does not have a degree. Mr
Chatterjee has both a BSc and a MSc as well as relevant work
The article states that the appointment was not handled in a
transparent manner. This is not correct. The post of Regional
Director was advertised on the UNOPS website and in prominent
international media. UNOPS received 121 applications, and short
listed five candidates based on their specific experience and their
match to the competencies sought for the position. UNOPS conducted a
formal panel interview. The panel consisted of four senior staff
members. Five candidates were asked identical questions. The
candidates were ranked based on their interview scores. References
were checked and the successful candidate offered the position.
Any suggestion that UNOPS tried to conceal Mr Chatterjee’s
appointment is wrong. UNOPS does not announce appointments
externally; however Mr. Chatterjee’s name, his position, a brief
biography and email address were posted on UNOPS’s public website
in the senior management section on 15 May 2009.
January 1997, Mr Chatterjee has served in some of the most
challenging environments in which the UN operates, taking on
positions of increasing responsibility. There is nothing out of the
ordinary about his career path.