At UN, Unlicensed Doctors Give and Take Valium,
Agwai's Wife Moonlights for NGO
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press
the UN: Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, April
23, updated May 16 with UN demand
that evidence be removed from the public record, and May 26 --
group of largely unlicensed doctors and nurses are dispensing and in
taking and self-medicating with Valium, Diazepam, Demerol, Ambien and
While anywhere else in
the U.S. this would be a
straight forward felony case, since it is taking place within the
Nations' compound on 42nd Street east of First Avenue, technically
international territory, American authorities have yet to take action.
Ethics Office, Ombudsman and Office of Internal Oversight Services have
informed, and even provided with photographs, but have done nothing.
Sources inside the UN
have painted for Inner City
Press a detailed picture of the operations of the UN Medical Service,
the 5th floor of UN headquarters, just above the Press floor. Deputy
Oleinikov, these sources say, is both unlicensed and outside of the
recently signed off on the “disposal” of dozens of Valium tablets which
to reach the expiration date. Click here for a photo
of a sample sign-out
sheet, and see below. [May 16,
2009 update - evidence removed from public record at demand of
UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, see below]
one of the unlicensed nurses is the wife of the Force
Commander of the UN -
African Union Hybrid Force in Darfur, Martin Luther Agwai, a
Ruth Martin Agwai, sources and documents say, spends some of her time
non-governmental organization, the Nigerian Army Officers Wives
(NAOWA). Click here for Mrs.
Agwai's letter about NAOWA. In March
2008 a formal complaint was filed with the UN Ethics Office alleging
that Ms. Agwai has used the diplomatic pouch and
privileges of the Nigerian
Mission to the UN in order to spirit out of the
country Accutech medical equipment.
Update of May 1,
2009: Inner City Press has received a phone call from Kio
[Amieyeofori, apparently] the Nigerian Mission, asserting that while
the Mission is entitled under the Vienna Convention to use the
diplomatic pouch, it rarely does, and asserting the Ms. Agwai does not
have access. It is said that a more formal communication is in the
works. We will continue to follow this issue, but note again our
sourcing: we said that a complain filed with the UN Ethics Office made
the allegations, and that is true.
irregularities were brought to Inner City
Press' attention after its reporting on the death of UN staff member
Navoa last month. Mr. Navoa had a stroke while working at 6:45 p.m. in
publishing shop in the third sub-basement. New York's emergency
was not called in a timely manner, and it took an hour for a New York
ambulance to arrive. There was no doctor on duty in the UN medical
none of the staff present had been trained in appropriate Life Support
technique. Click here for
Inner City Press' exclusive story.
director of the Medical Service, Brian Davey, held a staff meeting this
which he referred to the Inner City Press story, and belatedly sought
staff in how and when to call 911.
link the UN medical service to other deaths in the UN on which we will
reporting again in the future.
At UN, Diazepam and Ambien, controls not shown
predecessor Sudershan Narula was Kofi Annan's private doctor, was kept
retirement age and left when Annan did. Click
here for a
previous Inner City Press story about Dr. Narula. Mr. Oleinikov's
a Dr. Salam, was a relative of the previous Secretary-General, Boutros
Ghali, and was alleged to have mis-treated UN staff members in Africa.
Currently, talk at the UN is of a tourniquet mis-applied such that a
member has faced losing a foot to amputation. Such are the dangers of
combined with unlicensed and under-supervised practice.
nepotism of the UN Medical Service is not limited to hiring, but
referral. Recently a relative, Dr. Ma, was belated taken off the UN's
list. Previously, the husband of Kofi Annan's top aide Elizabeth
was said to be a doctor on the UN's referral list.
The UN Medical Service is not supposed to be
anyone's primary care giver. But despite this, controlled substances
are given out, sometimes by nurses without a UN "doctor's" orders.
Additionally, these UN "doctors" receive and sometimes keep sample
medicines and sexual aids from pharmaceutical companies. Recently, as
the US Drug Enforcement Agency has been informed of these
irregularities, some forms of inventory control have belated been
implemented. But well placed sources describe this as a cover-up, not a
medical service is part of the Office of
Human Resources Management, headed by Catherine Pollard, which in turn
of the Department of Management, headed by Angela Kane. Inner City
a pattern in which the UN Pension Fund sent staff members
who complained against management for mandatory mental check-ups in the
medical service. There is a counter-trend in which staff members
supporters in high places are given Long Term Disability letters, to be
without working, and these ruling are never put into a date base that
of the Medical Service would, of course, be contrary to the Hippocratic
These issues, including the unlicensed practice of medicine and
controlled narcotics go further, and are crimes.
In some but not
all cases, the UN medical staff at
issue have kept up licensing in the countries they come from. Even this
not be acceptable anywhere else in New York or the United States. But
tell Inner City Press that several have not even kept up their overseas
licenses, may not even ever have had them. The medical service, they
shot through with nepotism, such as the hiring and lack of supervision
wife of the UN's Darfur General, Martin Luther Agwai. The sources
other questionable behavior by Agwai, in Darfur, that is beyond the
scope of this medical series.
For now the questions are not only how
has the UN
and its medical service gotten away with this for so long, but also why
Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), headed by Inga-Britt
did nothing when told about this. OIOS investigator Florin Postica was
told, in detail, and was even provided with photographs of the
narcotics. Yet no action was taken. Likewise, Susan John of the UN
Office, headed by Robert Benson, was told part of this troubling story,
and has apparently done nothing. Ms. Ahlenius has systematically
refused Press questions and has
not held a briefing in many months. Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office
Q&A on April 20, and resisted taking any range of questions in the
after that. Responses will be reported after they are received.
Even the UN's
Capital Master Plan can be
impacted, as unlicensed staff in the UN medical service are rebelling
planned move to a rented office space on Second Avenue and 42nd Street,
Innovation Luggage and a liquor store. There, the lack of licenses and
dispensing of controlled narcotics could, they fear, subject them to
Attempts are being made to keep them within the UN compound east of
Avenue, beyond the reach of the law. Watch this site.
Update of 5:25 p.m.,
April 24 -- at the day's noon
briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe
story above, i.e., does the UN claim that those dispensing Valium don't
licenses, and to confirm that several script-writing pads and powers
recently revoked, DEA interested, etc. Ms. Okabe said, I have no
Subj: Your questions on the UN Medical Services Division
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 4/24/2009 4:29:35 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
The Medical Services
Division (MSD) provides a comprehensive occupational health service to
system-wide, including health promotion, clinical care, and travel
services, as well as advice to the administration of the UN, its Funds
Programmes, and DPKO/DFS on clinical and medico-administrative issues.
addition, MSD provides medical advice to UN medical facilities across
globe, coordinating implementation of UN policies on medical and health
The overall goal is to improve staff health, lower risk, and ensure
that job demands
The Medical Services Division in New York does not
provide a primary care service to staff, referring staff instead to the
health system for definitive management of any medical conditions
requirement for recruitment of doctors and nurses employed by the
Nations is that they are registered to practice their professions in
country of origin. A limited quantity of medications is maintained on
stock control is rigorously performed, and is verifiable, according to
pharmaceutical control norms.
The recent allegations regarding pharmaceutical
control measures at the United Nations are not new and are in fact
investigated by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The
Services Division has provided its full cooperation to OIOS in that
going to be held accountable, and what will change? Watch this site.
Sample Diazepam sign-out sheet from UN
Note: the evidence above was removed
from the public record on May 16, 2009 in an abundance of caution in
response to the UN demand, below:
Medical record photograph
Media Liaison and Accreditation at] un.org
To: Inner City Press
5/16/2009 11:10:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
see that you have republished a photograph containing confidential
medical records of UN staff on your website. See the link below to
the story and photo of a 'sample sign-out sheet'.
ask that you please remove this photograph out of respect for the
confidentiality of all staff concerned.
Media Liaison and Accreditation,
Nations, S-250, New York, NY 10017
for (related?) Sri Lanka coverage of May 15, 2009. Watch this site.
On May 26, Inner City Press received the following
5/26/2009 1:45:29 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
response to your recent news story on the Medical Service, we are
transmitting the following information provided by OIOS:
response to media reports claiming that ga group of largely
unlicensed doctors and nurses are dispensing and in some cases taking
and self-medicating with Valium, Diazepam, Demerol, Ambien and other
controlled narcoticsh at the UN, the Office for Internal Oversight
Services (OIOS) informed us that the facts need to be correctly
Office informed us that a complainant had reported to OIOS about
possible abuse in the management and dispensation of controlled
substances in the Medical Services Division (MSD) of the United
Nations. OIOS immediately assigned two investigators to conduct
preliminary inquiries into this report.
upon the information obtained, OIOS confirmed that the Medical
Services Division does have a process in place to ensure safe custody
and dispensation of controlled substances.
concluded its preliminary inquiries and determined that the
complainant's claims about the abuse of the dispensation of
controlled substances in the MSD could not be verified. It adds that
a fully conclusive verification can only be obtained upon a full
investigation. This would require review of confidential medical
records, to which OIOS does not have access.
this what the UN means by exonerated -- that it creates "rules"
that preclude its supposedly independent investigative unit from
verifying a whistleblower's allegations which are backed up by
photographic and other evidence?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
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