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UN's Syria Prober Kane Was Under Investigation for UMOJA, Until Quashed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNdisclosed Location, March 23 -- A top UN official now central to the Syria chemical weapons investigation, Angela Kane, was the subject of a corruption probe that got quashed for political reasons, according to a leaked formal complaint exclusively obtained and published by Inner City Press.

  It involved the UN's delayed and over-budget technology upgrade called UMOJA, which Kane oversaw for a time while she was Under Secretary General for Management.

  Now, in a charade of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's “mobility” policy, Kane has stayed in New York but moved laterally to become Under Secretary General in charge of Disarmament.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky this week said that it will not be envoy Lakhdar Brahimi who will negotiate the chemical weapons investigation, but UN Disarmament, headed by Kane.

  So while some chose not to cover internal complaints and corruption in the UN in favor of canned quotes about the hot topic of the day -- once Sudan, now forgotten, then Libya and now Syria -- the two beats come together.

  The UN's Syria investigator was herself under investigation -- until it was quashed.

The memo, which we've 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?

  Monday at the UN Ban will unveil an “UMOJA Countdown Clock.” Countdown to corruption? Watch this site.

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