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In Guterres' Corrupt UN Murky UNESCO Job Moves Under Azoulay

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, Oct 3 – 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. Almost - a fish rots from the head.

UNESCO, like the whole UN system under Antonio Guterres is falling apart in corruption and fraud. In recent years, Inner City Press has revealed the alarming situation of the Paris-based UN agency, headed by Frenchwoman Audrey Azoulay since 2017.

 On September 7, we wrote about the sex scandal in the culture sector of UNESCO that has been covered up by DG Azoulay (here) Following this unpleasant revelation for his reputation, Chilean Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, who has been a good friend of Azoulay's for many years, vehemently denied any wrongdoing in closed-door meetings.

In particular, he told some member states that the Inner City Press information was "just a bunch of rumors spread by some of his detractors".     His hypocritical denial resulted in the duty to provide additional information about his Spanish mistress, whose name is Sara Garcia De Ugarte, born on November 16, 1989. For her upcoming birthday, sugar-daddy Ernesto Ottone promised to her a P3 post in the sector he is constantly demolishing. So much for Ottone's ability to assume the consequences of his misdeeds.  

  Opposite to him, Nicolas Kassianides, the Director of Azoulay’s cabinet is openly taking responsibility for his transgression of the rules and procedures in favor of his mistress, Lily Neyestani Hailu. As revealed by Inner City Press last year, she was covertly moved to a P5 post in the education sector, in the division for education 2030, headed by Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa (here)   

   The DG Azoulay usual cronies, Director Human Resources  Kazumi Ogawa and ADG for Management Nicholas Jeffreys, contributed to both irregular appointments and promotions. This time they were assisted as well by Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa, who keenly obeyed the new appointment with promotion of Lily Neyestani Hailu. Those senior officials are a blameworthy for theft of public money with the complicity of some member states who even applaud the mismanagement style of Audrey Azoulay.

Those Ambassadors are therefore accountable as well for the embezzlement of tax-payers funds. It remains to be seen whether some member states will take a position on this issue at the next Executive board meeting this October.     Thus, after illegally promoting Lily Neyestani Hailu to a P5 position last year, Kassianides left his family and his 3 children in order to start a new life with Lily and the two of them now live together in a plush apartment on Avenue Bosquet, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.

 Of course, by doing so, Nicolas Kassianides implicitly and explicitly confirms our information that the promotion was granted to his mistress in total violation of the rules and in a flagrant example of influence peddling and abuse of power.   

 Speaking of abuse of power, Inner City Press wrote on July 30 that, from HR sources, we learn that the director of legal affairs, Santiago Villalpando, is coercing DG Azoulay and trading his full support in exchange for the appointment of his wife to UNESCO. We now have confirmation that the decision to appoint Marina Silberman, the wife of the director of UNESCO's legal office, to the UN agency has been made. She has been given a P5 position in the Financial Management Branch (BFM). This is another major conflict of interest - a reward for impunity in violating the rules - that deserves the full attention of member states.  

  Last week, on September 26, the board of governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) removed the bank’s president, Mauricio Claver-Carone. The move came after the president failed to co-operate into an external investigation into charges that he had a relationship with a colleague he had allegedly favored for promotion and pay rises. The board acted after executive directors voted unanimously to recommend Claver-Carone’s dismissal over sexual misconduct.     These are the same member states we are talking about in the cases of sexual abuse and illegal promotion at the IDB and UNESCO. So, when will UNESCO board members show the same resolute toughness against the corrupt leaders of the UN agency in Paris?  

  In addition to these family and sweetheart appointments, there are a number of political appointments of French nationals that come to the UN agency directly from the ministerial offices of the French government, a practice considered highly illegal by all UN standards requiring political impartiality. Most recently, the former advisor to the French foreign minister landed at UNESCO in Azoulay's cabinet.  

 Last June, Wadid Benaabou left the office of the new head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna, just three days after taking up his post as advisor for North Africa and the Middle East. He was then recruited in total violation of the rules by Audrey Azoulay. Another Frenchman in her cabinet. How many of them there are, only the Quai d'Orsay human resources office can know.  Frenchman Flavio Bonetti also rejoined her cabinet. Exfiltrated last year from UNESCO to the office of French Interior Minister Darmanin, Bonetti was accused of several major errors in security management at UNESCO. About the ‘achievements’ of Bonetti see here and here. But since no member state complained or demanded accountability, and given that his salary at UNESCO is three times what he earned at the Interior Ministry, Bonetti begged Azoulay to take him back and she did.  Staff associations have voiced their big concerns of seeing these alarming practices thriving in the total absence of respect for rules and regulations.

 But only member states can oppose the situation in which top senior managers can exert total abuse of power and control over the staff including by using intimidation and harassment that force staff members into fear and obedience.  This is where UNESCO stands today. We will have more on that. Watch this site.


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