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UN Denies Expanding Kosovo Investigation, of Hard Drives in New York

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 8 -- With the Kosovo status talks stalled and December 10 approaching, it seems important to not leave hanging the investigation which the UN's Number Two, Steven Schook, said is being conducted into him. In Pristina the Express newspaper reports that it has spread beyond Schook, to top envoy Joackim Rucker and UNMIK legal advisor Alexander Borg-Olivier, that both men's computer hard drives have been seized. The reason, as with Schook, is said to involve privatization improprieties, not only the sell-off of power plants and coal through the so-called "Kosovo C," but also jet fuel contracts at the airport.

Steven Schook and flags

  The newspaper reports that Borg Olivier's

"computer has been confiscated few days ago, as a part of a wider investigation of UNMIK chiefs in Kosovo. Borg Olivier is suspected of carrying out illegal actions in the affairs of construction of a new road of the Airport and in giving the land in use out of legal provisions, to Zeka family that has already started to construct a big hotel near the Airport runaway. Airport was an object of intensive interest of Borg Olivier, since Express sources confirm that his decision on giving air control to Island without tender or concession (that costs to Kosovo around  Euros 7 million) has also raised the interest of observers. His name was also mentioned for to favors made to his different friends, by awarding them with contracts. According to Express sources, Borg Olivier was also lately the lawyer of the Greek chief of the company that has a monopoly over the supply of the Airport with" jet fuel.

            With all these scandals swirling, on November 7 in Pristina, UN envoy Joachim Rucker held a press conference. He was asked, "there were some reports in the media that you are under investigation by UNHQ in New York. Are you under investigation?" Rucker replied, "You have to address this question to New York."

            And so Inner City Press in New York on November 8 asked the UN's deputy spokesperson

Inner City Press: In Kosovo, yesterday there was a press conference by Mr. Rucker, Mr. Ban's Special Representative, where he was asked if he's under investigation.  This has to do with Steven Schook, his number two, who said he's under investigation.  Now, Mr. Rucker was asked if he was under investigation and had, I guess, the hard drive of his computer, it's been reported that it was seized by the investigators.  And he said, quote, "You have to address this question to New York." So being in New York, I'm now asking you, is Mr. Rucker, the UN Special Representative in Kosovo, under investigation for...

Spokesperson:  Iíll look into that for you.  It's the first I hear of that.

[The Spokesperson later informed the correspondent that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was not aware of any such investigation.] 

  Insiders say the question might better have been directed to the Department of Field Services...

* * *

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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN 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 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.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540