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In Corrupt UN of Guterres UNESCO Fraud As US Sends Taxpayer Funds Wozencroft Returns

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, July 22UNESCO, 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.

Despite all that has been said so far, little progress has been made to correct Azoulay's administration, mainly due to the criminal complicity of the member states. They are therefore entirely responsible for UNESCO's unquestionable bankruptcy.

 In the IOS-related revelations that Inner City Press disclosed last February 26, certain member states, in particular those of the European Union and the Nordic countries - the ones who usually lecture the world on the importance of fighting corruption - had a strong chance of leading the rescue.

 Unfortunately, they haven't said a word, and that's no surprise. It's always easier to criticize when the DG doesn't belong to their own electoral Group I, as is the case with France's Audrey Azoulay.  So why not turn a blind eye when DG Azoulay promotes and protects the interests of this Group, as demonstrated by the priority given to Europeans when appointing the Agency's Directors and senior managers over the past two years.

Consider this. The Constitution UNESCO provides that 'subject to the paramount consideration of securing the highest standards of integrity, efficiency and technical competence, appointment to the staff shall be on as wide a geographical basis as possible'. In 1960, following a spurt in the growth of African, Arab and Asian membership, the governing bodies of UNESCO adopted formal criteria for the distribution of posts among all member states with a view to ensuring that more posts would be allocated to developing countries. Statistics on the distribution of posts in the professional category have been supplied in UNESCO documents on the geographical distribution of staff since 1976.

 Under Audrey Azoulay, the vast majority of positions of senior responsibility have gone to Europeans. The latest statistics provided to DG Azoulay's Cabinet by the human resources bureau HRM are blatant in their brutal presentation of the facts. In reality, despite all efforts to hide the truth in the fake documents, HR strategies and power point presentations prepared for member states at each Executive Board session, the truth is this:  Over the last two years, Madam Azoulay has appointed 12 Directors and above from the Group I (Europe); one from Group II (Eastern Europe – but still European Union since it went to a Polish national); three Directors for Group III (Latin America and Caribbean); three for Group IV (Asia/Pacific); three for the Africa Group V – which is pretendedly one of the two big priorities for UNESCO; and only two appointed for the whole Arab Group, with an Egyptian and a Tunisian. 

With the next two appointments in the pipeline - a director's post for HRM to go to the Netherlands and another director's post to go again to France to replace Nicolas Kassianides, who was sacked recently, this will make a total of 15 director's posts for Group I, with the largest share going to the EU, including Poland, compared with 11 senior posts for the entire rest of the world.

Who says there's no equitable geographical distribution at UNESCO, and why should then Group I ambassadors and representatives on the Executive Board criticize DG Azoulay's administration when the whole power is obviously with Group I? 

The new US Ambassador to UNESCO, Mrs Erica Barks-Ruggles, appointed on July 14, may have another immediate problem to deal with. Inner City Press has been informed that DG Azoulay has decided to bring back to Paris headquarters a well-known administrative swindler about whom Inner City Press wrote as long as more than three years ago. By letter of June 29, below, Nutan Wozencroft was transferred to Paris from Canada, where she had been exiled following a major financial scandal.

  In 2019, Inner City Press wrote about her misdeeds, when at UNESCO an internal audit had revealed that more than two million tax payers dollars have been spent over the last few years by UNESCO on the integration of the two main management systems, the programmatic one (SISTER) and the financial one (FABS) with no result or progress achieved whatsoever. Internal sources in the financial office indicated that most of the tax payers money ended in the pockets of IT companies close to the heart of the Chief Financial Officer of UNESCO, Nutan Wozencroft who was a senior Director - UN D2 level (see here

This was not the first time Nutan Wozencroft was under the spotlight. Under the previous UNESCO administration run by Irina Bokova of Bulgaria, she instigated the misuse the 14 million US dollars remaining under the Emergency Fund created for voluntary contributions by member states.

Aspiring for an even higher position in the UN at that time, Nutan Wozencroft assisted Irina Bokova in this failed attempt to use those funds for projects that were to serve as masked bribery to Security Council member states, while running for the UNSG position in 2016. When this scheme was rejected by the Executive Board of UNESCO, DG Bokova then covered the misdeeds that had been duly planned in her favor. Another accomplice in this fraudulent scheme: the then Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Strategic planning, the Brazilian Thompson Flores, benefitted from the same administrative cover-up and despite the overwhelming report by IOS against her, she was sent by Bokova as Director of the Venice office of UNESCO instead of being fired. 

 At that time, in 2019, we asked publicly the question “whether current Director General of UNESCO Azoulay will take any action on CFO Wozencroft or again, in the usual culture of the UN of Guterres, she will be provided with an option to spend some time in a cozy position in one of the Field offices of UNESCO like it happened to Thompson Flores”. Well, the answer is far from the expectations. After a comfortable stint in Canada, Nutan Wozencroft is now back in Paris to be looking after the spending of the 150 million dollars representing the initial US financial contribution to UNESCO. With such a past record of concealment and embezzlement, the U.S. delegation to UNESCO would have a lot to worry about, and may already start to be seriously concerned.

 Nutant Wozencroft's transfer to Paris could in fact trigger a real change in the way member states approach the agency's administrative culture, most of them hoping for support in righting the wrongs with the return of the USA to UNESCO, as no one imagines that Washington will swallow in the same way, as others did, all the Azoulay administration's silly explanations of how taxpayers' money is spent. Most observers expect such a change, given that the US government is often unpredictably firm on unconcealed corruption, especially in the run-up to next year's presidential elections.  One of the USA's Gulf allies is currently in serious trouble with UNESCO's DG.

The World Heritage Committee meeting organized by Saudi Arabia was severely sabotaged by DG Azoulay. It remains to be seen how this meeting will turn out after Azoulay's unacceptable interference in member states' procedures for organizing and holding it.  Furthermore, the UNESCO-Al Fozan International Prize for the Promotion of Young Scientists attracted some attention during the ceremony of its first edition that took place on 19 June 2023 at UNESCO in Paris, but not that much for the advancement and popularization of science and international cooperation, but rather with the protocol imperfections observed during the event. Ministers were not welcomed properly and basic protocol shortcomings were observed everywhere in the preparation and holding arrangements.  The Protocol service, headed by Ricardo de Guimaraes Pinto is continuously suffering his incompetence, about which Inner City Pres already wrote (here)

  Ricardo de Guimaraes Pinto, who was the former chief of cabinet of DG Azoulay, but had to be removed because of Azoulay's decision to hand back the position to the Frenchman Flavio Bonetti. About the ‘achievements’ of Bonetti see here and here. Right after his appointment against any normal recruitment process as per the rules, Ricardo Pinto was tasked by DG Azoulay with bringing UNESCO's protocol closer to that of the Quai d'Orsay, which reflected her constant efforts to increase French grip by strangling all aspects of the organization's operations.

 Failing in most of his tasks is normally a serious enough mistake for Ricardo Pinto to be reprimanded or even dismissed from protocol. With the return of the United States, protocol must live up to normal expectations.

The question therefore remains open as to how, under Ricardo's leadership, the protocol will be able to meet the American administration's supposed demands for high standards and quality, when he is not capable of handling a simple Saudi event. What's becoming even more obvious is that influential member states are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with remaining silent, and their indulgence is fading by the day in the lame-duck period that Azoulay and her team are left with. The deep moral crisis in which UNESCO finds itself today may hopefully soon be resolved, thanks to those who fund the Organization and take responsibility for taxpayers' money.

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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