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As Kim Tapped for World Bank, Tales of Ocampo, Rice & Sachs, Ban Switch

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- Two weeks ago at the UN there were two reported candidates to head the World Bank: Jeffrey Sachs and US Ambassador Susan Rice.

   Now there are none, what with the Obama administration nominating Jim Yong Kim. There is only as one of two competitors to Kim among with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a former UN official, Jose Antonio Ocampo, who left the UN five years ago amid charges he's turned a blind eye to corruption by Guido Bertucci, who he supervised. Such lack of accountability has continued with Ban Ki-moon.

  Back in 2009, two of Ban's closest advisers told Inner City Press they were worried that a potential triple switch could cost Ban a second term at the UN. China would take over the World Bank from the US in 2012, the theory went, and because Asia could not control both the UN and World Bank, Ban would have to go, perhaps back to South Korea as a politician.

  The Europeans would give up the IMF -- this was before the final DSK scandal -- in order to take over the UN, under this theory.

  Nearly all mainstream media reports of today's Obama nomination note the Kim was born in Korea. So much for Ban's advisers fears. At the UN on Friday, several diplomats complained (despite Kim being an American) that "South Korea is getting too much, the UN and the World Bank." Sort of.

  One anti-American diplomat ascribe Seoul's double play to it being "a US lackey." But the Wall Street Journal and others touted Sakong Il as a possible replacement for DSK.

  Two weeks ago Inner City Press asked Susan Rice if she was World Bank bound. "C'mon," she replied, "I have a great job."

  Sachs on the other hand refused to answer if he should be viewed as an "inside the UN" candidate, and declined to answer questions about Senegal and Malawi. (One wonders what he'd say of this week's coup d'etat in Mali).

Both Rice and Sachs tweeted congratulations to Kim, with Sachs essentially standing down. Perhaps he'll say he only ran to block Larry Summers. Perhaps in the triple switch theory above, Summers would have gotten the IMF, to play DSK there. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

As Jose Antonio Ocampo left the UN in December 2006 -- in fact at the reception of Ban Ki-moon, who replaced Ocampo with Sha Zukang on China -- Inner City Press asked Ocampo about the Bertucci scandal, and "is he staying?"

  "How can I say?" Ocampo said, in Spanish.

  "Who makes the decision?"

  "You're right that I do. But so far I haven't seen any serious accusations," Ocampo said.

  After mentioning some, Inner City Press asked Ocampo to comment on rumors that the Chinese want DESA. "There are many rumors about posts," Ocampo answered.

Now he's running for the World Bank. But here's a summary of l'affaire Bertucci:

   Inner City Press in 2007 asked Sha Zukang, Ocampo's replacement whose now himself slated to leave in June, for an update on the Office of Internal Oversight Services investigations of DESA: Guido Bertucci, the Thessaloniki Center for "Public Service Professionalism," and consultants' contracts. Sha Zukang pulled out a piece of paper and read out from it. "My colleague provided this, anticipating some questions from you," he said. "Don't ask further questions, I don't know the details."

            In sum, OIOS released its audit of the Thessaloniki Center on August 2, 2007. While Sha Zukang said that DESA has fully implemented Recommendations 3 and 4, and part of the first recommendation, it is significant to consider the one still unacted upon:

"The Department should establish accountability for the inefficient use of consultants, including the irregular sign-off of a consultant's contract indicating that deliverables had been provided when no such deliverables had actually been received."

            This is as good a definition of corruption as any. But where was the accountability? Perhaps now. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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