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UK Ambassador Letter Citing Inner City Press Scoops Stonewalled By UNESCO Like Guterres

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, Jan 14 – From the corrupt UN of Antonio Guterres, who is now running for a second mandate, the whole UN system has been totally corrupted, especially UNESCO. The Paris based UN agency is in turmoil after the exposure of a number of administrative transgressions by Inner City Press, which articles led to internal investigations. 

   Yet, advocating for governing control measures by member states yields results, as revealed in the letter by the ambassador of the UK to UNESCO, Matthew Lodge, who denunciated the lack of transparency and financial accountability in the administration of the French DG Audrey Azoulay. This letter was motivated by the article of Inner City Press about the misappropriation of public funds in large proportions (see copy of the UK Ambassador’s letter here). 

   In his letter, the UK ambassador pointed out that the embezzlement allegations that had been rejected at the outset with condescension by Nicholas Jeffreys ADG/ADM and Nikolas Kacyanides Dir/Cabinet, were factual information that and “the Inner City Press allegations of financial impropriety and breach of rules” proved to be “a confirmed financial fraud”. This is the first time when an influent member state of UNESCO, and a member of the Security Council P5, is confirming in writing the veracity of the arraignments by Inner City Pres. In the absence of bold political will to fix the messiness at UNESCO, member states may wish to express their appreciation to the ambassador of the UK for raising the unpleasant questions on their behalf.   

 The timeline proposed by Azoulay for providing her corporate response “by October 2019”, was not considered to be “adequate” and the UK ambassador requested a much faster investigation by IOS. Unfortunately, despite his firm request to “independently investigate” the fraud, since “it is important for UNESCO’s reputation that the Secretariat is seen to be responding to these issues with the utmost seriousness”, the administration of UNESCO slept over it and procrastinated the results of the investigation for one more year.

 In December 2020, this case of fraud was closed and the DG of UNESCO informed verbally few members of the executive board that there is no ground for disciplinary measures in it. This is the UN today. Almost half of a million US dollars evaporating, and it is nobody’s fault or responsibility. Even worse, those concerned were fully protected and rewarded by Azoulay - Sachin Bhatt was moved from the Cabinet to the Secretariat of the Governing bodies with a promotion, Nicholas Jeffreys, ADG/ADM has been given even more leeway to put out of order the administration, and the Head of the financial division at that time, Nutan Wozencroft, was transferred to Canada as Director of Operations at UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics. 

  How many factual examples of fraud have to be exposed before member states and the two Presidents, respectively of the General conference and of the Executive board, decide to act resolutely and enforce accountability and financial order at UNESCO?

Here are two more for their consideration:   1) The personal contributions to UNESCO made by individuals. From an internal source, we hear that the Cabinet of Azoulay, headed by Kacyanides, instructed BFM (the Bureau of financial management) to make sure that the financial contributions provided by individuals be entered in a separate account, without recognizing them publicly, nor making them available for audit by the comptroller or by the external auditor as per the rules. Thus, Madam Azoulay would be able use those funds at here discretion.

The example given to Inner City Press relates to a donation of some 600.000 Euros to UNESCO, made by an Italian citizen that disappeared in one of those undisclosed accounts. The Italian ambassador, Massimo Riccardo, who is one of the biggest supporters of DG Azoulay, may feel shamefully uncomfortable and dare asking for explanations. He may also ask why UNESCO never gave visibility to that contribution.

2)   Another case of fraudulent funds-redirection concerns the internal arrangements by the Cabinet of DG Azoulay granting impunity to those accountable for the unjustifiable and speculative spending of some 2 million dollars by UNESCO. In two separate contracts, one for 1.536.000 EURO, and another one for 180.000 EURO, UNESCO contracted a French company (with the benediction of the French DG) to do the core redesign of the organization’s financial and administrative systems and tools. Subsequently, those amounts had been paid to the French enterprise without getting the expected deliverables and the UNESCO staff was instructed to do the job instead. In spite of those incriminating facts, both the chief officer of the core redesign project Sameer Pise and the initial coordinator of this scheme, Sachin Bhatt, remain fully protected by DG Azoulay.  

When interviewed by Inner City Press last year, a senior UNESCO staff member described the situation as follows: “A disaster. It is simply a disaster that UNESCO is currently experiencing. The word "crisis" is no longer sufficient to define the present situation. Every day, UNESCO staff lives longs hours of disillusionment and stress provoked by mismanagement and by the lost relevance of the organization.

 Since the election of the French Director general, before our eyes, everything positive we knew about the UN is collapsing at an unimaginable speed. We are wasting our time at UNESCO discussing insignificant issues related to the daily caprices of Madam Azoulay. UNESCO is no longer a solid organization, but a petty little agency, puffed up with the vanity, arrogance and pretentiousness of its senior managers”. 

 The intellectual nullity of the top UNESCO leaders, and in particular of those ADGs in charge of the program sectors, combined with the pathetic self-importance of the unexperimented generation of French senior officials at UNESCO, is making the decline of the UN agency even more unavoidable, unless a new Director general is elected next November in order to knock down the current “caste of miniature “chiefs”, imbued with their position and sufficiency".

 Quite inevitably so, a new Director general will have to deal with the five features depicting best the DG Azoulay Administration: incompetence, corruption, disorganization, lack of long-term vision and improvisation. 

  Even for those ambassadors who usually keep their eyes and mouths always closed in front of the political disorder and financial malpractices of Azoulay’s administration, this is may be the  straw that broke the camel's back. The issue of continued daylight larceny of tax-payers money cannot remain unattended anymore unless the representatives of members states are prepared to assume future charges of complicity.     The question is whether the EU and the Nordic countries will finally move on and follow the example of the UK ambassador by starting asking legitimate questions about liability and the embezzlement schemes at UNESCO.

Prior to the DG election later this year, the Presidents of the governing bodies should mobilize support, impose an investigation on the above fraudulent cases and address all the issues related to this orchestrated financial fiasco. 

This is where UNESCO stands today, a UN agency ravaged by greed and financial misappropriations, propitious to the flourishing of abuse of power, corruption and nepotism. Watch this site.


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