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UNDP Is Important For The Poor, and Therefore Must Be Made Transparent

Tenth Installment in Inner City Press' Ongoing UNDP Series, Reported by Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- The UN Development Program, a $5 billion agency whose Administrator Kemal Dervis has not held a press conference in UN Headquarters for over 14 months, on December 8 issued a press release attacking Inner City Press by name. The same day, UNDP informed Inner City Press that it would no longer respond to any requests for comments about seeming violations of UN recruitment, hiring and promotion rules, and that it does not disclose to the press or to the public its internal audits.

            Given that it appears, at least for the short term, that UNDP will not be providing even this basic information, despite its status as an international agency funded by the publics of member states, Inner City Press has decided to recapitulate the reasons that it began this series about UNDP on November 29, and why it will continue. This brief overview inevitably may mention UNDP's press release. But since UNDP did not contact Inner City Press for comment before distributing its press release, and only provided the subject of its statement with a copy six hours after it was released.

UNDP's Kemal Dervis, at left - holding secret audits?

            UNDP has an important role, including enabling development to benefit poor people. It is therefore important that UNDP be transparent, both in its finances and its hiring and promotion practices. UNDP often preaches to the governments of developing countries that they must become more transparent. For example, only last week Neil Buhne, UNPD's representative in Bulgaria and previously Belarus, preached in Sofia on the topic of transparent administrative services, saying that a lack of transparency can intensity existing inequalities. But this preaching must be applied all the more to UNDP itself.  It is particularly inappropriate for UNDP to now say that it will not release its audits of its spending, nor comment on seeming violations of its own stated rules against cronyism  and sham competition in hiring and promotion.

            There are many, many serious and well-meaning people within UNDP. Some of them clearly see a need for improvements in how UNDP is run, and feel the threat of retaliation if they make their views known in a way in which their supervisors and other high UNDP officials could identify them. For this reason, Inner City Press has been willing where necessary to use anonymous sources in the course of this series. Inner City Press follows accepted rules of journalism, explaining the reasons for which a source has requested anonymity. As one employee said, "You will not get any on the record sources on this story. But everyone in this workplace knows this is true."

            This last quote was concerned widely-alleged sexual harassment by an individual whom UNDP selected to head up its entire Europe and CIS States operation. It is time, then, to explain why Inner City Press in this series has at time mentioned sexual harassment. While this has provided a pretext for UNDP's Communications Office, and also former UNDP Administrator, to try to portray the entire series as salacious and as a violation of privacy, this aspect of harassment is integral to the story. First, the incidents took place in the workplace. But also, the fact that the incidents were allow to go on for so long, due to connections to high officials of the UN and rich UN supporters, shows inappropriate favoritism and lawlessness within this organization which so impacts the world's poor.

            A UN source generally respected by Inner City Press has explained that the UN is "like a village," leading to upset at overly-personal investigative reporting. This village analogy seems apt, not only among the press corps and members of Security Council members' missions, but among the UN staff as a whole, for example in the Headquarters cafeteria, or during this past summer's World Cup. There is another aspect, though: some of the UN, particularly UNDP, is like a *feudal* village, in which a small group and some courtiers who feel they are protected are left outside of otherwise-applicable rules, and bristle if this is ever reported.

            To do such reporting, one must be in the village, but not entirely of it. UNDP has asked Inner City Press, "Who is telling you these things?"  But Inner City Press will not sell out its sources. UNDP has demanded to speak with editors or, it would seem, corporate owners amenable to pressure. It is a dynamic well sketched by one of the paragon American journalists, I.F. Stone, and it is not a demand to which Inner City Press will acquiesce.

            UNDP, even after declaring that is will not respond to questions about seeming violations of applicable rules on hiring and promotion, has sent Inner City Press a ludicrous list of supposedly required corrections. These include demands that a headline, "UNDP Spent $567,000 on a Book to Praise Itself," be modified since it is UNDP's position that despite the payments, the book is a work of independent scholarship. Perhaps UNDP deserves this repetition of the argument. But reasonable minds can and do disagree with UNDP.

            We have waited to the near-end of this column to sketch the history and motives of Inner City Press. First, Inner City Press has long reported on and been immersed in community development efforts. Among other things, Inner City Press has investigated and reported on redlining by banks: their failure to lend fairly to low income people. In connection with this reporting, Inner City Press vindicated the rights to information of the wider press corps, for example in a Freedom of Information Act win in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, reported in the New York Times earlier this year. Click here for a more detailed write-up by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

            Inner City Press' investigative series on Citigroup, which like this series included reporting on the nitty-gritty of employment practices, resulted in Citigroup being held accountable to its overseer, the Federal Reserve Board, which imposed a fine of $75 million and required detailed reforms. But where are the overseers of UNDP?

            In its UN reporting, Inner City Press most often focuses on human rights. In fact, Inner City Press' first stories on UNDP involved the agency's funding of disarmament programs in Uganda, where civilians have ended up killed in the name of disarmament, as now confirmed by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. UNDP's Communications Office repeatedly misstated and tried to downplay UNDP's enabling of the Ugandan People's Defense Forces' disarmament programs, and despite having quietly announced a suspension of funding in June, has most recently reverted to entire denial. The issue will continue to be pursued so that it is not repeated.

            To avoid any misunderstanding, which some have tried to cause, that Inner City Press is part of the so-called vast right wing conspiracy, we simply state that Inner City Press has most often be placed in the public record on the left wing side of the equation. That does not mean that lack of transparency and lack of accountability in programs to benefit to the poor should be excused -- in fact, quite the contrary, in fact. That is the motive and justification for this ongoing series.

            Some have asked, why UNDP and not (yet) other UN agencies. Only a few months ago, Inner City Press inquired closely into the process for selecting Josette Sheeran Shiner as the new head of the World Food Program. But the range of issues at UNDP, from a lack of oversight on disarmament programs it funded in Uganda, to allowing its head of European and CIS states to run wild (to choose only two examples), may indicate that UNDP's amorphous mandate combined with a lack of transparency and of independent press coverage have resulted a fiefdom whose only response to questions is to attack the questioner. How UNDP's December 8 press release comports with the UN System's exhortations for journalistic freedom, or with UNDP's own purported attempts to encourage governments in the developing world to allow for media independence, remains to be seen.

            Since we cannot resist further reporting, we feel that the following UNDP staff email, the identity of whose sender we will protect due to fear of retaliation, may show why we use anonymous sources and why UNDP's arbitrary employment practices are a legitimate journalistic subject. This extended quote precisely illustrated the reality of UNDP conduct in connection with the Millennium Development Goals project.

Dear Matthew, thanks for your recent coverage of UNDP HR policies. I would like to reconfirm your information regarding the integration of the Millennium Project (MP) in UNDP Bureau for Development Policy Poverty Group, directed by Nora Lustig.

The evidence gathered in the adopted project document regarding Dr. Sachs' remuneration shows that over 200,000 US Dollars are supposed to cover his services. I believe you already have this document in your possession.

The problems associated with the Millennium Project's integration go far beyond Dr. Sachs' charity fees. Ms. Chandrika Bahadur and M. Guido Schmidt-Traub, who have been working for the MP over the last years have benefited from the different breaches of procedures during the merger. Their "new" positions with UNDP have only been advertised for a week on a limited basis. There has not been a formal panel interview process but a mere "desk review" of the different candidates. Following that fast-track process, MM. Melkert and Gleeson recommended the appointment of Ms. Bahadur and M. Schmidt-Traub as policy advisors and, for the latter, head of the MDG support team. While both candidates show limited professional and managerial experience, they have furthermore benefited from promotions that are not linked with their background. Ms. Bahadur has been hired as P4 though she does not have the minimum professional required for that level (7 years). M Schmidt Traub has been appointed as P5 and head of MDG support team though he has very limited managerial experience (this position involves managing a team of 25 professional staff) no background in economics or development (M. Schmidt Traub has a degree in Chemistry).... At the junior level, some Research Associate staff do not even have master's degrees, which is mandatory to be considered even for an internship.

Following growing tensions among UNDP staff, M. Melkert, UNDP Associate Administrator, met the extended Poverty group team on December 1. He took full responsibility for the decisions made regarding the merger between the MP and the Poverty Group, including HR management decisions. The Associate Administrator considers that it is the role of UNDP's top management to make strategic decisions, including breaking UNDP HR policies in the name of necessity and higher interests. This approach is not acceptable within an international organization accountable to member countries and publicly funded.

Hopefully member states will take the opportunity of UNDP Executive Board meeting to ask UNDP Senior management for clarification on these matters."

            We share that final hope, and trust that this series will play some small role in cleaning up UNDP, for the benefit of the poor. And so this series will continue.

Here is / was UNDP's position on the above-described:

From: cassandra.waldon [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 6:27 PM
Subject: RE: Additional Qs re UNDP, response to your Q re deadlines, thank you in advance

Dear Matthew,

For the record, Jeffrey Sachs will continue to be involved with the UN’s effort on the Millennium Development Goals. As of 1 January, he will serve as Special Adviser to UNDP on the Millennium Development Goals. His salary will continue to be $75,000 per year.... we have decided to merge the work of the Millennium Project into UNDP. To this end, UNDP has set up a new sub-unit in our poverty group, which will consist of some 20 positions.

To complete the integration by the end of the year, UNDP management is using an expedited competitive recruiting process for five lead positions. These five positions have been advertised and are in the process of being filled.

Five other positions do not require a competitive process under UNDP recruitment procedures and will be filled with people currently working for the Millennium Project.

All other positions will be recruited according to standard UNDP recruitment procedures, and this process is on-going.

and then

In a message dated 12/8/2006 7:14:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

Dear Matthew,
UNDP is working to address the numerous questions you have asked us. As many of your concerns touch upon similar kinds of issues we thought it might be helpful if we were to state, for the record:
--That we will no longer be responding to unsubstantiated allegations about UNDPís recruitment and personnel practices.  We urge you to desist from publishing such allegations...

--That we do not release the reports of our internal audits and investigations. The results of these reports are communicated on an annual basis to the UNDP Executive Board in the form of an annual Administratorís report on Internal Audit and Oversight...

  In this, UNDP lags behind even the rest of the UN System. Compare to Secretariat's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), under General Assembly Resolution 59/272 of December 23, 2004:

-- OIOS provides a summary of all of its reports to all member states as well as the general public in its annual reports; whereas UNDP only provides a summary of its reports to the limited membership of its executive board (with not even summaries provided to the general public).

-- OIOS makes some reports available as public documents; UNDP makes no reports available to the general public.

-- OIOS makes all non-public reports available to all member states at their request; UNDP makes only summaries (and not the full text of reports) available to only 36 out of 192 member states.

  This is not to say that the UN Secretariat is transparent enough -- rather, that UNDP is even less transparency, despite its $5 billion a year budget. Developing.

 Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UNDP 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 UNDP and many of its staff. As they used to say on TV game shows, 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, including but not limited to withheld internal audits, flowing.

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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

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As UN Speechifies, UNDP Audits Are Still Being Withheld, While War in Somalia and Sudan, Pronk Blogs On

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN - 9th in a series

UNITED NATIONS, December 8 at 6 pm, updated below -- With Kofi Annan's Special Representative Jan Pronk back in Sudan for what seems the final time, Annan's spokesman on Friday on noon continued deflecting and stonewalling requests for simple information about an ally of Mark Malloch Brown whom he had extensively defended the previous day. At five p.m. deadline UNDP informed Inner City Press by email that an audit of fraud in UNDP's Russia office, responsive to a December 1 request, would not be released. UNDP states that no such information, nor comments on allegations of violations of UN hiring practices rules, will be released.

    Less than an hour later, Inner City Press found at the UN Spokesman's Office document counter a press release by UNDP, apparently placed there much earlier in the day, which makes a number of claims. Click here to view. Ironically, UNDP did not email a copy to Inner City Press, nor ask any question for comment prior to its "publication."  UNDP tries to argue that individuals named in this series were not contacted prior to publication. In fact, Inner City Press called the direct lines of Brian Gleeson, Nora Lustig, Romesh Muttukumaru and others, as well as directly asking and attempting to ask questions of Kemal Dervis on Nov. 27 and Mark Malloch Brown on December 4.

   Mr. Dervis, the head of a $5 billion UN Program, has not held a press conference in 14 months. There is more that will be said, while not deviating from the substance of this series on UNDP. This is merely an update a half-an-hour after seeing strangely UNDP's blind side press release, just before the festive annual ball of the UN Correspondents Association.

        Earlier on Jan Pronk, the spokesman said he wasn't sure if he was actually in-country. If the Dutch press had it, one might think that the UN would know. The Number Two on story 38, however, is adverse or lacks knowledge about new media. He called workplace reporting about UNDP "irresponsible" and its purveyor a "jerk." Then his spokesman loyally sketched a scenario in which the "personal" material about Brian Gleeson would come down, and apology be offered. Click here for the transcript. The material came down, in the spirit of diplomacy, and the spokesman was so informed. Video here, at Minute 19:40. But the stonewalling continued.

            Question: if at the direction of Mark Malloch Brown the spokesman is so quick to trash a journalist with whom he purports to joke, in robust defense of a friend of Mr. Brown, how can the spokesman the next day refuse to answer any question about the Malloch friend? It is hard to comprehend. Or it is the way that power work, in the late Annan-Brown regime. Everything's genteel until the wrong toes are trodden on. Then the gloves come off. The effect is to stonewall reporting on one of the UN's largest programs. Despite its annual budget of $5 billion, UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis has been allowed to go 14 months without taking questions. Last week, after the UN ruled that even a ritual Memorandum of Understanding signing with the Islamic Development Bank couldn't be attended, an in-house photo came out.

Dervis with press kept at bay

            Today Mr. Dervis is in Vietnam, and so we continue our reporting, from a UNDP volunteer there, an on-the-record source since UNDP cannot retaliate, at least not directly. Pierre De Hanscutter was a computer / IT volunteer with UNDP in Vietnam. He states that while there, he attended a meeting in which UNDP proposed to buy computer equipment and services, from a company managed by the Vietnamese military, TECAPRO, at costs up to 35 times the going rate. Pierre De Hanscutter has provided a document, click here to view [which for now is blocked out by UNDP's Dec. 8 press release]. For example, he says, the purchase of a wireless router for $3500, when it normally priced at $120. His immediate boss Bui Khanh Huong made these arrangement, and Pierre De Hanscutter states that neither the top guy, Neil Reece nor the middleman Koen Van Acoleyn did anything to stop it. Mr. Reece said only that it would be good if it could be 10% cheaper.

            Pierre De Hanscutter's check of UNDP computer security found 15% of computers entirely unprotected, including that of the office's director. After raising the over-paying and other irregularities first to UNDP-Vietnam and then by letter to the UN in New York, Pierre De Hanscutter says he was told to no longer work in the office. Now outside the UNDP system, Pierre De Hanscutter has called for an investigation of UNDP in Vietnam, including its relation with TECAPRO. Is Kemal Dervis there to investigate? It doesn't sound like it. And so the questions mount, for his belated December 18 presser.

  Along with two questions posed with a five o'clock deadline (to be further reported out and with the responses to follow in full), and December 6 questions not even responded to, here was a question posed, and the response:

"responsive to earlier still-unanswered question, please provide the investigative report on UNDP's Russian Federation office referred to in the paragraph below, which is in the most recent audit of UNDP, A/61/5/Add.1, at page 22:

"Potential fraud had been detected at the Russian Federation office and reported to it for further investigation. The Office of Audit and Performance Review performed an investigation and released its report on 6 December, 2005. This report concluded that one payment amounting to $190,000 was fraudulent.  Additional payments that could be fraudulent were under further investigation. Two former UNDP staff members were implicated in the perpetration of those transactions (the former Assistant Resident Representative for Operations, who resigned on 20 April, 2005, and a former Project Administrator who resigned on 1 November, 2004). These cases were also reported by the Administrator of UNDP to the authorities of the Russian Federation on 15 September, 2005 for further action."

  And please provide an update." On this the following arrived, twenty minutes after deadline, thus confined to later in this report:
From: [CW at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 5:20 PM
Subject: RE: deadline today 5 p.m.

...we are still working to provide you with a response to your 1 December question on our Russia Country Office (you asked about "any and all investigations undertaken in the past 10 years", not just about the 2005 investigation). In response to your above request for the 2005 investigation report, please note that we do not release the reports of our internal audits and investigations. The results of these reports, however, are communicated on an annual basis to the UNDP Executive Board in the form of an annual Administratorís report on Internal Audit and Oversight (this is the longer document that contains the text you have pasted above). The reports of UNDPís external auditors are available at

  How convenient, this non-release of "the reports of [UNDP] internal audits and investigations." We'll have more on this shortly, including once at least some of the December 6 UNDP questions are answered.

Update of 7:25 p.m. -- More than six hours after UNDP published its naming-names press release, UNDP finally sent Inner City Press a copy, along with a reiteration of the above with a new promise to be even less transparent:

Subject: Your UNDP queries
From: cassandra.waldon [at]
To: Inner City Press
Sent: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 7:13 PM
 UNDP is working to address the numerous questions you have asked us. As many of your concerns touch upon similar kinds of issues we thought it might be helpful if we were to state, for the record:
 That we do not release the reports of our internal audits and investigations. The results of these reports are communicated on an annual basis to the UNDP Executive Board in the form of an annual Administratorís report on Internal Audit and Oversight, which we believe you already have. The reports of UNDPís external audits are available at

 That we will no longer be responding to unsubstantiated allegations about UNDPís recruitment and personnel practices. We urge you to desist from publishing such allegations, however, as doing so can harm the reputations and be personally hurtful to innocent colleagues. As previously communicated to you, UNDP has in place checks and balances to ensure transparency, and mechanisms to allow staff to air their concerns. We also have effective mechanisms for redressing legitimate grievances. Like any organization, we of course could undoubtedly do better. But our 2005 Global Staff Survey indicates that morale at UNDP is at the highest level since the survey began in 1999, with 74 per cent of staff saying they would recommend UNDP as a good place to work.

 Finally, kindly find attached a statement that we issued today.
 Cassandra Waldon

  "Finally" is right - it was six hours after UNDP distributed the press release. The statement that UNDP "will no longer be responding to unsubstantiated allegations about UNDPís recruitment and personnel practices" means, for example, that questions about violations of the UN System's stated hiring practices will simply not be answered by UNDP. Perhaps UNDP sees an opportunity, in the time Secretary-General transition with some key Under-Secretaries General already gone, to declare independence from transparency, the press and the public. We'll see.

            By contrast, fast answers were provided Friday on Sudan and Somalia -- the sides should talk, always a fine thing to say -- and a speech made up on the Congo. Video here, from Minute 14:20.  On Somalia, the spokesman said he hadn't seen reporters of increased shelling by Ethiopia (click here for one) and of Uganda chomping at the bit to send troops against the Islamic Courts Union. "The S-G would call on those who send troops to reach out to all Somalis," the spokesman speechified. Great. Meanwhile what has the UN's envoy Francois Lonseny Fall been doing? He's been to Mogadishu once. And the requested list of the UN's partners in Mogadishu? It has still not been provided, nor a simple list that was promised days ago. This regime is just playing out the string. And the gangsters, in the tent and out, seem to sense it...

Update of 7 p.m. -- Less than an hour after this article was published, and less than two after the emailed response above, Inner City Press found at the UN Spokesman's Office document counter a press release by UNDP, apparently placed there much earlier in the day, which makes a number of claims. Ironically, UNDP did not email a copy to Inner City Press, nor ask any question for comment prior to its "publication."  UNDP tries to argue that individuals named in this series were not contacted prior to publication. In fact, Inner City Press called the direct lines of Brian Gleeson, Nora Lustig, Romesh Muttukumaru and others, as well as directly asking and attempting to ask questions of Kemal Dervis on Nov. 27 and Mark Malloch Brown on December 4.

   Mr. Dervis, the head of a $5 billion UN Program, has not held a press conference in UN Headquarters in 14 months. There is more that will be said, while not deviating from the substance of this series on UNDP. This is merely an update a half-an-hour after seeing strangely UNDP's blind side press release, just before the festive annual ball of the UN Correspondents Association.

Waste, Fraud and Abuse at UNDP in Vietnam, While UN Secretariat Urges Censorship

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN - 8th in a series

UNITED NATIONS, December 7 --  As information continues flowing in following the increasingly mysterious job-shift of the UN Development Program's head of Human Resources Brian Gleeson on November 29, the picture of UNDP is become more detailed, in this interim installment with the on-the-record account of a Belgian volunteer with UNDP in Vietnam. Kemal Dervis, the UNDP Administrator who has not held a press conference in New York in 14 months, is right now in Vietnam speaking of "One UN," triggering this story.

   Monday, Inner City Press covered the plea of a local staffer in UNDP Vietnam, who expressed fear at being retaliated against. Today's correspondent does not have this concern. The picture he paints is below. If UNDP or its ex-Administrator have any response, it too would be published in full. As evidenced at Thursday's UN noon briefing by the Secretariat's spokesman's lengthy lecture about alleged (Inner City) Press defamation of high UN officials, some thing or things in the first seven installments of this series appear to have hit a nerve. As noted in Inner City Press' non-UNDP article today, click here to view, such despots as in Congo - Brazzaville charge their critics with defamation. One might have thought the UN was different. But as the old saw has it, power can corrupt.

            That said, in order to keep the focus on the subject of this series, UNDP, Inner City Press has made modifications to earlier installments in this series, removing details that the Secretariat's spokesman on December 7 said had been the basis for the December 4 comments of the Deputy Secretary-General, ex-Administrator of UNDP. Inner City Press went so far as to excise a paragraph which it reported after the Deputy Secretary General's comments, to avoid further obfuscation. Additionally, because it was requested, Inner City Press has re-inserted into earlier articles the spokesman's November 30 statement that "Mr. Mark Malloch Brown played no role in Mr. Gleasonís transfer from one job to another," and a UNDP denial of favoritism in hiring at UNDP-Vietnam, appended to our first Vietnam story, click here to view.

            First this bit of reporting, which like the below does not require pre-publication vetting by UNDP: on Thursday morning Inner City Press interviewed Joakim Stymne, who has been Sweden's State Secretary for International Development Cooperation for only six weeks now.  Inner City Press asked Joakim Stymne for Sweden's thinking on the UNDP Program having funded disarmament in Karamoja, which programs veered into attacks upon civilians, and having spent over $500,000 in core funds to publish the laudatory book, "UNDP: A Better Way?"  Mr. Stymne opined that such expenditures should be closely examined, to see if they are within the strategy and within the budget. Afterwards one of Mr. Stymne staffers said it was good that the UNDP vanity press issue had been raised. Outside, 46 stories down and across the shining East River, the tenements streets of Central Brooklyn were gleaming.

            For those interested in numbers -- and we are, as you'll soon see -- the Swedish mission disclosed that at an exchange rate of seven kroner to the dollar, Sweden annually gives UNDP 1.3 billion kroner, 800 million of which constitute core funding. UNDP takes over one-quarter of Sweden's total funding to the UN System. How such funding is used is a question for another day, quite soon.

Vietnam: compare and contrast

            We turn now to Vietnam, and present as we will continue to do a voice from the field, one that this time can speak freely, without fear of retaliation:

Subject: UNDP Vietnam

From: Pierre De Hanscutter
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Sent: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 1:44 PM
Dear Mr. Matthew Russell Lee,

I read with a lot of interest your article about UNDP Vietnam. I was working there during two years with UN Volunteers (until July 2006), and I hear and saw many stories like those that you published. When I was in UNDP Vietnam I discovered a case of corruption (the IT manager, [   ], senior manager under the direct supervision of Mr. Neill Reece-Evans), I wrote a report to Neil Reece-Evans and spoke about this problem many time to my UNV supervisor Mr. Koen Van Acoleyen.... The only answer that I got was that I don't understand the "global politics," "it is not my business" and "you can do nothing against UN"... It was quite
funny to hear that from people who want to promote a better citizenship and to fight against corruption... From this report saying that I believe that corruption, even internal, is not acceptable,  I got only troubles and everything has been done to push me out during two years. At the end, they even cut my telephone line, internet connection and my office... I am sure that if I didn't give a copy of this report to my embassy, I was immediately out of UNDP without any explanation.

When I came back I decided to send a report to New York with a copy of the document that I had. They took it seriously and they decided to organize an audit inside UNDP. At the beginning, I had contacts with the person responsible for this audit who called me few times. One day he told me that he found that more or less 100 % of Microsoft software installed at UNDP were illegal copies (but UNDP has no problem advising the Vietnamese authorities that they should fight against illegal software copies)  and few days after that, the information became "confidential". I never got any result about this audit.... I joined UNDP because I believed in the "official" goals of this organization... Big illusion.... Very often, I think that I did a mistake by writing this report. The right attitude in UNDP is to meet the guy that you accuse and to ask a percentage...

I will give you a copy of this report that I sent to New York, it is in French. But you can easily understand the problem with the document that I got one day during a working meeting  [Note: both to be re-purposed by Inner City Press, watch this site.]

Beside this corruption problem, each year the UNDP staff goes to "retreat" for "team building" on the beach for few days. The years where I was there, each time it was in very luxurious hostel (4 stars) so far from Hanoi that all the staff had to take plane (a few planes had to be booked!). And because these "holiday-retreats" were so far from the normal working place, each employee has to receive pocket (to have good time). In few days, UNDP spends more that one month of their average salary...

Another day, to inaugurate a new balcony on the roof UNDP buildings, UNDP organized a private fashion show inside the office. Until now, I am wondering what was doing these young models and this fashion show in the office of a development organization....

It could be also interesting for you to study the difference of salary between local and international staffs. In my case my salary was around 2000 euro / month but for a Vietnamese (speaking Vietnamese and knowing his county) doing the same job and with the same qualification it is around 350$. Why so big difference? You can easily imagine the atmosphere in the office at lunch time: Vietnamese staff eating in front of their computers and the internationals going to restaurants (it is 'so cheap' only 5 $).... One day, I asked why there is a so big difference between the local and international staff and someone told that it is because "everything is more expensive when you are foreigner".... Maybe the first months.... But when I asked if when the Vietnamese people go to work in New York or Geneva, if they also receive a salary six times bigger that the local people (they are foreigners, everything is also more expensive for them...), the answer was "it is not the same"....
UNDP complains about companies moving to developing countries only to get cheap and flexible workers... but they do the same....The salary are done for Occidental people and to have cheap local employees doing the real work....

When I had these problems, I suddenly realize that you can do nothing.... only to smile and to accept your situation... If not, they will destroy you... - Pierre De Hanscutter

            On the topic of audits never provided, on Thursday Inner City Press against asked, this time the General Assembly spokeswoman, for UNDP's report on fraud in the UNDP Russian Federation Office, which the most recent audit of UNDP refers to. We have much (more) to report about this Office, but will await receiving the documents and comments on incidents in this office, which have been requested from UNDP. Developing.

 Again, because a number of Inner City Press' UNDP 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 UNDP and many of its staff. As they used to say on TV game shows, 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.

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

At the UN, Indigenous Rights Get Deferred, As U.S. Abstains, Deftly or Deceptively

At the UN, Threat and Possible Statement on Fiji Spotlights Selection and Payment of UN Peacekeepers

At the UN, China and Islamic Dev't Bank Oppose Soros and World Bank On How to Fight Poverty

At the UN, Misdirection on Somalia and Myanmar, No Answers from UNDP's Kemal Dervis

UNDP Dodges Questions of Disarmament Abuse in Uganda and of Loss of Togo AIDS Grant, Dhaka Snafu

At the UN, The Swan Song of Jan Egeland and the Third Committee Loop, Somalia Echoes Congo

UN Silent As Protesters Tear Gassed in Ivory Coast, As UNMOVIC Plods On and War Spreads in Somalia

In the UN, Uzbekistan Gets a Pass on Human Rights As Opposition to U.S. Grows and War's On in Somalia

At the UN, Cluster Bombs Unremembered, Uighurs Disappeared and Jay-Z Returns with Water -- for Life

From the UN, Silence on War Crimes Enforcement and Conflicts of Interest on Complaint from Bahrain

En Route to Deutsche Bank, the UN's Door Revolves, While Ban Ki-moon Arrives and Moldova Spins

As Two UN Peacekeepers Are Killed, UN Says Haiti's Improving, Ban Ki-moon on Zimbabwe?

Nagorno-Karabakh President Disputes Fires and Numbers, Oil and UN, in Exclusive Interview with Inner City Press

Inside the UN, Blaming Uganda's Victims, Excusing Annan on Mugabe, and U.S. Blocked Darfur Trip

U.S. Blocked Council's Trip to Darfur Meeting, Brazzaville Envoy Explains After U.S. Casts a Veto

At the UN, Council Works Overtime To Cancel Its Trip About Darfur, While DC Muses on John Bolton

UN Panel's "Coherence" Plan Urges More Power to UNDP, Despite Its Silence on Human Rights

On Water, UNDP Talks Human Rights, While Enabling Violations in Africa and Asia, With Shell and Coca-Cola

Will UN's Revolving Door Keep Human Rights Lost, Like Bush's Call and WFP Confirmation Questions?

On Somalia, We Are All Ill-Informed, Says the UN, Same on Uganda, Lurching Toward UNDP Power Grab

On WFP, Annan and Ban Ki-Moon Hear and See No Evil, While Resume of Josette Sheeran Shiner Is Edited

Would Moon Followers Trail Josette Sheeran Shiner into WFP, As to U.S. State Dep't?

At the UN, Positions Are Up For the Grabbing, Sun's Silence on Censorship, Advisor Grabs for Gun

In WFP Race, Josette Sheeran Shiner Praises Mega Corporations from Cornfield While State Spins

At the UN, Housing Subsidy Spin, Puntland Mysteries of UNDP and the Panama Solution

In Campaign to Head UN WFP, A Race to Precedents' Depths, A Murky Lame Duck Appointment

At the UN, Gbagbo and his Gbaggage, Toxic Waste and Congolese Sanctions

WFP Brochure-Gate? John Bolton Has Not Seen Brochure of "Official" U.S. Candidate to Head World Food Program

Ivory Coast Stand-Off Shows Security Council Fault Lines: News Analysis

At the UN, It's Groundhog's Day on Western Sahara, Despite Fishing Deals and Flaunting of the Law

"Official" U.S. Candidate to Head WFP Circulates Brochure With Pulitzer Claim, UN Staff Rules Ignored

Senegal's President Claims Peace in Casamance and Habre Trial to Come, A Tale of Two Lamines

A Tale of Two Americans Vying to Head the World Food Program, Banbury and Sheeran Shiner

At the UN, the Unrepentant Blogger Pronk, a Wink on 14 North Korean Days and Silence on Somalia

At the UN, Literacy Losses in Chad, Blogless Pronk and Toothless Iran Resolution, How Our World Turns

Sudan Pans Pronk While Praising Natsios, UN Silent on Haiti and WFP, Ivorian Fingers Crossed

UN Shy on North Korea, Effusive on Bird Flu and Torture, UNDP Cyprus Runaround, Pronk is Summoned Home

At the UN, Silence from UNDP on Cyprus, from France on the Chad-Bomb, Jan Pronk's Sudan Blog

Russia's Vostok Battalion in Lebanon Despite Resolution 1701, Assembly Stays Deadlocked and UNDP Stays Missing

As Turkmenistan Cracks Down on Journalists, Hospitals and Romance, UNDP Works With the Niyazov Regime

At the UN, Darfur Discussed, Annan Eulogized and Oil For Food Confined to a Documentary Footnote

With All Eyes on Council Seat, UN is Distracted from Myanmar Absolution and Congo Conflagration

As Venezuela and Guatemala Square Off, Dominicans In Default and F.C. Barcelona De-Listed

At the UN, North Korea Sanctions Agreed On, Naval Searches and Murky Weapons Sales

At the UN, Georgia Speaks of Ethnic Cleansing While Russia Complains of Visas Denied by the U.S.

At the UN, Deference to the Congo's Kabila and Tank-Sales to North Korea, of Slippery Eels and Sun Microsystems

At the UN, Annan's Africa Advisor Welcome Chinese Investment, Dodges Zimbabwe, Nods to Darfur

At the UN, Richard Goldstone Presses Enforcement on Joseph Kony, Reflecting Back on Karadzic

UN Defers on Anti-Terror Safeguards to Member States, Even in Pakistan and Somalia

Afghanistan as Black Hole for Info and Torture Tales, Photos and Talk Mogadishu, the UN Afterhours

Amid UN's Korean Uproar, Russia Silent on Murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Chechnya Exposer

UN Envoy Makes Excuses for Gambian Strongman, Whitewashing Fraud- and Threat-Filled Election

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

At the UN, As Next S-G is Chosen, Annan Claims Power to Make 5-Year Appointments, Quiet Filing and Ivory Coast Concessions

Chaos in UN's Somalia Policy, Working With Islamists Under Sanctions While Meeting with Private Military Contractors

U.S. Candidate for UN's World Food Program May Get Lame Duck Appointment, Despite Korean Issues

At the UN, U.S. Versus Axis of Airport, While Serge Brammertz Measures Non-Lebanese Teeth

Exclusion from Water Is Called Progress, of Straw Polls and WFP Succession

William Swing Sings Songs of Congo's Crisis, No Safeguards on Coltan Says Chairman of Intel

Warlord in the Waldorf and Other Congo Questions Dodged by the UN in the Time Between Elections

In Some New Orleans, Questions Echo from the South Bronx and South Lebanon

In New Orleans, While Bone Is Thrown in Superdome, Parishes Still In Distress

At the UN, Tales of Media Muzzled in Yemen, Penned in at the Waldorf on Darfur, While Copters Grounded

US's Frazer Accuses Al-Bashir of Sabotage, Arab League of Stinginess, Chavez of Buying Leaders - Click here for video file by Inner City Press.

Third Day of UN General Debate Gets Surreal, Canapes and Killings, Questions on Iran and Montenegro and Still Somalia

On Darfur, Hugo Chavez Asks for More Time to Study, While Planning West Africa Oil Refinery

At the UN, Ivory Coast Discussed Without Decision on Toxic Politics, the Silence of Somalia

Evo Morales Blames Strike on Mobbed-Up Parasites, Sings Praise of Coca Leaf and Jabs at Coca-Cola

Musharraf Says Unrest in Baluchistan Is Waning, While Dodging Question on Restoring Civilian Rule

At the UN, Cyprus Confirms 'Paramilitary' Investigation, Denies Connection to Def Min Resignation, CBTB Update

A Tale of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN

UN Round-up: Poland's President Says Iraq Is Ever-More Tense While Amb. Bolton Talks Burmese Drugs, Spin on Ivory Coast

As UN's Annan Now Says He Will Disclose, When and Whether It Will Be to the Public and Why It Took So Long Go Unasked

At the UN, Stonewalling Continues on Financial Disclosure and Letter(s) U.S. Mission Has, While Zimbabwe Goes Ignored

At the UN, Financial Disclosure Are Withheld While Freedom of Information Is Promised, Of Hollywood and Dictators' Gift Shops

UN's Annan Says Dig Into Toxic Dumping, While Declining to Discuss Financial Disclosure

A Still-Unnamed Senior UN Official in NY Takes Free Housing from His Government, Contrary to UN Staff Regulations

UN Admits To Errors in its Report on Destruction of Congolese Village of Kazana, Safeguards Not In Place

As UN Checks Toxins in Abidjan, the Dumper Trafigura Figured in Oil for Food Scandal, Funded by RBS and BNP Paribas

Targeting of African Americans For High Cost Mortgages Grew Worse in 2005, While Fed Downplays Its Own Findings

The UN and Nagorno-Karabakh: Flurries of Activity Leave Frozen Conflicts Unchanged; Updates on Gaza, Gavels and Gbagbo

The UN Cries Poor on Lawless Somalia, While Its Ex-Security Chief Does Business Through Ruleless Revolving Door

At the UN, Micro-States Simmer Under the Assembly's Surface, While Incoming Council President Dodges Most Questions

"Horror Struck" is How UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments Would Leave U.S., Referral on Burma But Not Uzbekistan

Security Council President Condemns UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments, While UK "Doesn't Do It Any More"

At the UN, Incomplete Reforms Allow for Gifts of Free Housing to UN Officials by Member States

Rare UN Sunshine From If Not In Chad While Blind on Somalia and Zimbabwe, UNDP With Shell in its Ear on Nigeria

Annan Family Ties With Purchaser from Compass, Embroiled in UN Scandal, Raise Unanswered Ethical Questions

At the UN, from Casamance to Transdniestria, Kosovars to Lezgines, Micro-States as Powerful's Playthings

Inquiry Into Housing Subsidies Contrary to UN Charter Goes Ignored for 8 Weeks, As Head UN Peacekeeper Does Not Respond

On the UN - Corporate Beat, Dow Chemical Luncheon Chickens Come Home to Roost

Stop Bank Branch Closings and Monopolies in the Katrina Zone, Group Says, Challenging Regions- AmSouth Merger

Ship-Breakers Missed by UN's Budget for Travel and Consultants in Bangladesh, Largest UNIFIL Troop Donor

With Somalia on the Brink of Horn-Wide War, UN Avoids Question of Ethiopian Invasion

In UN's Lebanon Frenzy, Darfur Is Ignored As Are the Disabled, "If You Crave UNIFIL, Can't You Make Do With MONUC?"

UN Decries Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL and UNMIS Off-Message

On Lebanon, Russian Gambit Focuses Franco-American Minds, Short Term Resolution Goes Blue Amid Flashes of Lightening

Africa Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views

At the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops, Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement

In the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa Farms Solution?

UN Knew of Child Soldier Use by Two Warlords Whose Entry into Congo Army the UN Facilitated

Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Spinning the Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese Army

At the UN, Dow Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended

Kofi Annan Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers

UN Silent As Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News Analysis

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

Other Inner City Press reports are available in the ProQuest service and some are archived on --

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