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In Corrupt UN of Guterres UNESCO Governing Body Failure Mirrors Malfunctions of Azoulay

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, Feb March 12UNESCO, like the whole UN system under Antonio Guterres is falling apart in corruption and fraud.

  Inner City Press has been reporting on serious malfeasance by the French Audrey Azoulay administration at UNESCO in Paris, almost as bad as Antonio Guterres' corruption in and of the UN in New York. A fish rots from the head.

   Since the beginning of Azoulay's mandate, following a totally unexpected election, the French DG and her team have treated the organization as if it were her private store or her family property.   The reason why this continues to happen has a simple and direct explanation. At UNESCO, the governing bodies are inaudibly observing, instead of governing or administering.

 Sometimes, as at the last Executive Board session, an ambassador dares to raise an unpleasant issue, as witnessed by the memorable speech of the Turkish ambassador, H.E. Ms. Gülnur Aybet, at the opening session of the Executive Board.

She reminded DG Azoulay that "intergovernmental organizations like UNESCO are made up of Member States and the Secretariat is accountable to the Member States".  Finally, the word accountability was thrown in the face of Audrey Azoulay who barely hid her rage at the applause that followed the Turkish intervention. But this is precisely where the problem lies. The applause only underlined the absence of other strong voices demanding accountability. And this is a problem of governance. Not Azoulay's.

 If member states decide to let corruption flourish, it will. They do, and it does.  It is also a question of leadership at the head of the governing bodies. The Brazilian Ambassador, who is the President of the General Conference, the highest governing body, will be leaving his post at the end of this month. Of course, being a close supporter of DG Azoulay, she may well find opportunities and use UNESCO's public money to bring him back to Paris on various occasions, in addition to his regular participation in the Executive Board sessions. 

The scarcity and vacuum of governance is perfected by the very weak Chair of the Executive Board, Serbian Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili. Inner City Press has already revealed her petty political maneuvering behind the scenes to appoint her fellow Serbian Uros Mijuskovic to the strategic position of Secretary of the Appeals Board (here)

  After the exposure, Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili begged DG Azoulay not to name him, as this would have generated problems for her in Belgrade. The problem for Tamara and Audrey is that by deciding not to appoint Uros Mijuskovic, they simply confirmed the plot that was aborted following our publication. In any case, it was a lose-lose situation, and obviously it was considered that the political price to be paid would be less if the Serbian was simply ignored despite his first place in the shortlist of candidates eligible for the position.

 Thus, the close friend of those in power could not, this time, get a comfortable job at UNESCO, where family and mistress affairs are the most prosperous branch of the organization.  As collateral damage to the press leak of this maneuver, the director of human resources at UNESCO, Japanese Kazumi Ogawa, has lost her chance to stay at the agency and her contract will end next September. That's the way life is.

 After having served the interests of Azoulay’s clique and not those of UNESCO, the swindler Ogawa will return to Nairobi and will just leave a bad taste in the mouths of those who crossed her path in Paris. 

In addition, this week Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili went on a mission to Cairo, Egypt. This is one of the most unusual and bizarre missions ever undertaken by a Chair of the Executive Board. After self-inviting her and being refused funding by the Egyptian authorities for the trip, Tamara used UNESCO funds to go and meet with ministers, which is usually the prerogative of UNESCO's DG Azoulay.

It is therefore tricky to understand the reasons for her relentlessness to make the visit and the journey, and thus usurp the functions of the head of the agency.  In fact, the two unpleasant occurrences outlined above, are closely related. The disastrous episode for her image in Belgrade with the appointment and then removal of her Serbian friend Uros Mijuskovic had to be compensated by at least one major activity that could erase the bad impression left by her despicable trickery with the assets of her current high level political function.

A visit to Cairo, while campaigning for a seat on the Executive Board, could satisfy the Serbian authorities and cast a positive light on her ambassadorial duties.  The question is why member states would allow Serbian Tamara Rastovac Siamashvili to campaign with taxpayers' money and consent to such trips until the end of the campaign period next September.   The open influence peddling between the DG and the Chair of the Executive Board takes the existing corrupt practices to another level. It escapes any form of control and goes against established rules and governance practices.

 This is where UNESCO stands today, a UN Agency propitious to the flourishing of corruption, embezzlement, abuse of power and nepotism.

We will have more on that. Watch this site



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