Wolfowitz Totters, Lying in Wait Is Mark Malloch Brown As Well As UNDP's New Duo
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, April
22 -- As calls for Paul Wolfowitz to resign from the World Bank gather steam,
joined Sunday by
Germany's minister for development,
names for a successor begun to be floated. The
Washington Post and
opine that Kemal Dervis, currently the Administrator of the UN Development
Program, would be a "solid candidate," assuming that for once the post could go
to a non-American. (Given the Iraq-weakened condition of the Bush
administration, that seems possible -- the non-American part, not necessarily
Dervis. UNDP insiders continue to say that Dervis is more interested in politics
in his native Turkey than anything else (except for his health, which is
reportedly in shape not much better than Iraq or Wolfowitz).
hiding in plain site is Dervis' predecessor at UNDP, Mark Malloch Brown, native
of Britain, now in waiting at Yale. The UK has argued in recent World Bank board
meetings that it is time for a non-American. And who better than the soon to be
propounding this theory point to the role of UNDP Associate Administrator Ad
Melkert Wolfowitz's downfall. Click
for that story. Melkert had competed with Dervis for the top spot at UNDP; both
were on the "short list" composed by Kofi Annan and his Number Two, MMB.
How and why Dervis was selected is a topic for another day. But, although it is
rare for a person who ran hard for the top spot to accept play second fiddle --
witness the recent comments by Barak Obama to the suggest he run as Hilary
Clinton's vice president -- Melkert accepted it, and now lies in the wings.
still been no response, from Mr. Melkert or this spokespeople, to the hiring of
Eelco Keij, who just happens to be the New York secretary of the Dutch Labor
for that, and
Mr. Keij's Labor Party blog. It was raised to Inner City Press by UNDP staff
that there are ethical issues with Mr. Melkert hiring with UNDP money, and
outside of the normal, competitive channels, the New York secretary of the
political party he used to serve. In March, Inner City Press directed an e-mail
requesting an explanation to Mr. Melkert, Mr. Keij, UNDP's spokesman David
Morrison, Administrator Kemal Dervis, and others, stating that the question was
on deadline. There was no response, even after the question was reiterated, now
twice, to Mr. Melkert and Mr. Keij.
In a December 15, 2006, press
conference at the UN, Melkert answered Inner City Press that "I'd like to bring
our transparency in line with the UN procedure." This answer came after UNDP had
refused to provide copies or even summaries of audits of its admittedly
troubled Russian Federation office,
and after Inner City Press
that the UN Secretariat at least provides full copies to any of the 192 member
states which make a request. Mr. Melkert added, "That should be normal...
Talking about transparency, the best criteria for me is my own transparency..
I'm looking into that right now." Video
from Minute 45:46.
Inner City Press inquired into a meeting
Mr. Melkert held on December 1 with the staff of UNDP's Poverty Group, then
headed by ex-World Banker Nora Lustig, concerning steps taken to bend or break
UNDP hiring rules. Having just referred to transparency, Mr. Melkert
nevertheless began with the "hope you are not going to ask me about all the
meeting that I've had." He continued that "for this exception case, yes, this
First December meeting, I was... It was a managerial decision to merge, it's my
responsibility, everybody can and should work with that. With respect to staff
rules, we have tried to make the best out of that."
UNDP's hiring of Eelco Keij of the
Dutch Labor Party is another example of Melkert "making the best" of the UNDP
rules -- that is, bending or breaking them, as is alleged of Wolfowitz at the
World Bank. While on December 15 confirming much of what Inner City Press
sources have said
about the December 1 meeting, Melkert denied that he has told staff not to speak
to the press. Now he himself avoids the press, while dissembling through a
spokesman about his role in human resources irregularities at his previous
employer. Will it work? Time will tell.
years, World Bank staffers have cashed out to UNDP: MMB and Dervis, Ad Melkert,
and down a rung Nora Lustig, until recently the head of the UNDP Poverty Group,
and even now a consultant, in a second tier echo of Shaha Riza's trajectory.
late 2006 strutted around UNDP saying that he would be back to compete with the
agency. The idea then was a private firm. But why not the World Bank? This
should be a developing story this week.
Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UN
and World Bank sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the
poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to
conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated
goals of the UN system agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards,
letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag,
but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.
UN Office: S-453A,
UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439
(and weekends): 718-716-3540
World Bank, Corruption-Fighting Claims Not Fully Matched by Actions, Though
Better than UNDP
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
February 6 -- The World Bank is self-referential about its self-investigation.
Most recent is a 64-page report, with multiple quotes from and photos of Paul
Wolfowitz, discussing two years of inquiries by the Bank's Institutional
Integrity Department, called INT. Notably, the head of INT is selected directly
by, and reports only to, Wolfowitz. Unlike even the head of the UN Secretariat's
Office of Internal Oversight Services, who is selected by the General Assembly
as well as Secretary-General, the World Bank's investigative arm is entirely
controlled by the agency's head. Structurally, then, any possible corruption at
the highest levels would go undetected.
Bank makes referrals, though, including in the UN to
UNHCR, the agency for refugees. The report does not say what the referrals were
about. While the World Bank's INT report names the names of sanctioned companies
in an appendix, the circumstances of the infractions are not disclosed. Some can
be found in the public record. For example,
Thales Engineering and Consulting SA was
disbarred for a year, since expired,
fraudulent practices in relation to the Cambodia Demobilization and
Reintegration Project. Still, given that a high percentage of those disbarred
are companies in Indonesia which most of the report's reader will never have
heard of, sometimes merely "naming names" is not enough.
Bank's INT is better, however, than the non-existent process at the UN
Development Program. This is a comparison worth making, not only due to the two
organization's overlapping mandates of top-down development, but also due to the
railroad between the Bank and UNDP: Mark Malloch Brown, Kermal Dervis, and now
Director of UNDPís Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS, Kori Udovicki. Ms.
Udovicki replaces the legendarily out-of-control Kalman Mizsei, and UNDP has
told Inner City Press that "Dervis did not know her prior to her appointment...
Please contact the World Bank for details on the supervisory relationships
during any time Ms. Udovicki spent there." If as they claim it's "One
UN," perhaps now some answers
will be forthcoming.
City Press has
Kalman Mizsei was a traveling -- and Daily Sustenance Allowance receiving --
embodiment of sexual harassment. Perhaps understandably, UNDP nowhere publishes
figures on sexual harassment, but rather requires reporters to ask and remind
and wait weeks for a response. The World Bank's report, which will be published
on the agency's
as a public document, brags that the two year period reported-on, it "terminated
three staff members for sexual harassment; disciplined two for failure to comply
with personal obligations; and disciplined four others for conflict of interest
or other violations."
the other hand, provided the following only in belated response to requests from
Inner City Press:
harassment: In 2005, there were 14 formal complaints of harassment, and 28
requests for information and/or support, from UNDP staff. In 2006, there were 22
formal complaints of harassment and 16 requests for information and/or support
from UNDP staff. These figures encompass all forms of harassment, not only
Beyond noting that complaints at UNDP
rose by over 50% from 2005 to 2006, it is difficult to compare the two agencies,
given the different definitions. Both are part of the UN system, but each goes
its own way; each implicitly brags that it is the best. But it is a competition
in laxity. UNDP, for example, does not publish any listing of corruption in its
programs. As evidenced by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - UNDP
scandal which has led new Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to call for urgent
audits of all UN funds, programs and specialized agencies -- not, apparently,
including the World Bank or IMF -- UNDP does not even provide copies of its
internal audits to the member states which fund its operations.
The UN Secretariat's OIOS does
provide copies of such audits, which reporters can then get, like the OIOS audit
entitled "Investigation of conflict of interest, favoritism and
mismanagement at the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund,",
which Inner City Press yesterday reported on and quoted from, including that
through the Pension Fund's Paul Dooley, millions of dollars in contacts
were given to a company called Sprig, Ltd, run by Gerald Bodell, who was
previously Dooley's supervisor at Guardian Mortgage Corporation. According to
the OIOS audit,
"OIOS found no evidence that UNJSPF [the
UN Pension Fund] considered candidates other than Sprig for any of these
contracts. Similarly, there is no evidence that UNJSPF made any checks on the
background of Sprig independently (for example by requesting a D&B report on
Spring) or that UNJSPF attempted to independently determine whether Mr. Bodell's
fees were consistent with those charged by other consultants."
The audit reports that Sprig was "operated by Mr. Bodell from the
basement of his home," but nevertheless was given a higher score for "Web
experience" than the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche. Sprig's contract for
"Strategic Information Technology and Management Consulting Study" was signed
for the UN by Sanjaya Bahel, who was since by indicted and most recently had his
bail revoked. A subsequent contract amendment for Sprig was signed for the UN by
Andrew Toh, an Assistant Secretary General who is currently under investigation
and for that reasons has not been asked to resign by new Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon. The audit concludes with the recommendation that "any contracting and
procurement activities undertaken by the CEO of the UNJSPF comply with the
Pension Board's directive that they be limited and only under exceptional
Flash-forward to June of 2006, a period of time regarding which two starkly
different versions were presented at
Monday's UN Pension Fund meeting.
The Staff Council referred to documents which challenge Mr. Sach's presentation
of himself as having opposed an earlier attempt to outsource Pension Fund
business. After the meeting, Inner City Press asked Mr. Sach about these
documents. Mr. Sach showed a copy of a memo from Chieko Okudo to then-Under
Secretary General Christopher B. Burnham, on which was scrawled at the bottom of
the first page an instruction to "do this by the book, -CBB." Such decisive (but
not-followed) scrawling is consistent with the blustery approach of Paul
Wolfowitz, and of this more-style-then-substance integrity report.
INT director Suzanne Rich Folsom and
Chris Burnham are all Americans. But while the U.S. has insisted that the head
of the UN Secretariat's OIOS not be controlled by the Secretary-General, it has
apparently not even suggested that the head of INT should not be entirely
controlled by the head of the World Bank. While clearly the U.S. is more
comfortable with the one-dollar, one-vote structure of the World Bank, as
opposed to the one-country, one-vote system of the UN General Assembly, one
expects some structural consistency. Independence is good, no? And at the World
Bank, who watches the watchers?
example, despite the Wolfowitz-heavy report's near-religious inveighing against
corruption, this fervor did not stop him from hiring Robin Cleveland, despite
reports from the Wall Street Journal on email that "Air
Force Secretary James Roche... sent at a critical point in 2003 as he sought to
win over White House budget officials skeptical of the leasing costs. In the
e-mail, Mr. Roche offered to help land a job for the brother of a senior
official in the OMB who oversees defense acquisitions. ... In the e-mail that
came to light last week, Mr. Roche discussed recommending the brother of OMB
official Robin Cleveland for a job at defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp.,
where the Air Force secretary had been an executive. Northrop says it received a
referral about Peter Cleveland from Mr. Roche."
Soon afterwards, according to Reuters, "White
House officials... asked the Justice Department to probe any conflict of
interest involving Air Force Secretary James Roche and Robin Cleveland,
associate director at the Office of Management and Budget."
Once Wolfowitz arrived at the World Bank, AFP
reported that "Robin Cleveland, Wolfowitz's new counselor, was formerly
associate director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House.
The World Bank's staff association, its de-facto trade union, says Wolfowitz's
appointments risk opening the organization to charges of hypocrisy when it
demands transparency of the poor countries that receive its aid. 'In order to be
effective as an institution, we must exemplify the recommendations we make to
others,' it said in a letter to Wolfowitz that was distributed to all staff
members and obtained by AFP." No glossy 64-page report can replace practicing
what you preach.
Other Inner City Press
reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on
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