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At UN, Leaked Memo Complains of Cover Up of Probe of UMOJA, Kane

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – Alongside Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's $100 million budget cut, of which he says 70% should be from personnel costs or workers' salaries, questions are mounting about cost overruns, waste and fraud in the UN's systems upgrade or “UMOJA” project.

  On December 14, 2012 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's three top spokespeople to “please confirm or deny that the director of OIOS stopped an investigation of UMOJA, including of the role of the former Under Secretary General for Management, and on what basis.”

  In two months, the UN has not answered this or another related question. Meanwhile, the Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary General has told Inner City Press it will not confirm or deny documents Inner City Press obtains from whistleblowers or, as OSSG calls them, “leaks.”

   Inner City Press has obtained a memo that was sent to Ban Ki-moon alleging a cover up in the investigation of UMOJA and of “former Under Secretary General for Management” (now USG for Disarmament) Angela Kane.

   The memo, which we are putting online here, recounts that the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services Carman Lapointe at a meeting of Senior Management let it be known that she viewed the UMOJA case, 0303/11, as a “witch hunt” which should be closed.

  On September 17, 2012, according to the memo, Angela Kane was told she was an “implicated staff member” and would be afforded due process -- ironic, since as Inner City Press has found and reported, journalists are afforded no due process by the UN when stealth complaints like those of Voice of America and Reuters are filed against them, and are processed by the UN.

   But two days after notice to Angela Kane, the memo to Ban states, OIOS' director Michael Stefanovic closed the investigation. Then OIOS Assistant Secretary General David Kanja upheld this after a mere two day review of a detailed complaint.

  The head of the UN's “Ethics Office” Joan Dubinsky was informed, according to the memo, which was also cc-ed to Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and Ban's chief of staff (and personal envoy on the Eastern Congo) Susana Malcorra.

   But what has been done? How much money is wasted and lost, as Ban proceeds with $100 million in budget cuts? Where is the claimed accountability framework -- just another buzzword?

  Also on December 14, 2012, Inner City Press asked Ban's three top spokespeople another UMOJA question, about procurement: “What is the contractual status of Joan McDonald, retiree now acting as procurement official for UMOJA? How was she recruited, and how does this comport with the Secretary General's stated reforms on recruitment?”

  This is another question that has not been answered in two months.

  Ban's UN appears shot-thought with favoritism, as we reported last week as well, and also based on an answer that WAS provided, albeit on New Years Eve. The UN should improve, and these are test cases. Watch this site.

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