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After UN Sold to Ng, UNCA Promotes WOGC With Guterres & Garcia, Laundered For Ng

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video here

UNITED NATIONS, August 23– After the UN was exposed as having been bought and corrupted by Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng, convicted less than a month ago on six counts of UN bribery, money laundering and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, what has changed? Very little: on August 25 new Secretary General Antonio Guterres is listed as a speaker at an event in the ECOSOC Chamber, promoted by the UN Correspondents Association, by a group that had plead-guilty Francis Lorenzo and demonstrated money laundering helper Carlos Garcia at its founding.

While the spokesmen for Guterres evade the questions asked by Inner City Press, for example about the UN rewarding Ng for his South South News' coverage of Ban Ki-moon's Central America trip in 2015, murky uses of the UN and its building, movement inside which Inner City Press is still restricted for its anti-corruption coverage, continue.

 For example, on August 23-24 the UN General Assembly Hall was scheduled be taken over by an NGO named “World Development Foundation” headed by Guo Xiangang. After Inner City Press asked and wrote about it, it was canceled, with the UN ascribing the cancellation entirely to... Suriname, see below. Now on the same day, the UN Correspondents Association sends out an invitation to an August 25 event by the "World Organization of Government and Competitiveness" (WOGC), whose founding event, photo here, featured Francis Lorenzo (pleaded guilty to UN bribery) and is linked with Carlos Garcia (who helped Ng launder money in the Dominican Republic - email here, article here). Here is the video of WOGC's founding, featuring Garcia and other UN people - more on this to follow. UN Spokesman Dujarric has refused to state Garcia's status in the UN, despite clear exhibits in the Ng trial which ICP covered. A whistleblower forwarded this to Inner City Press: "UNCA is extending an invitation from the Permanent Mission of Zambia to the UN and the World Organization of Governance and Competitiveness to a High-level Global Meeting discussing 'Road to the Future of Sustainable Development: Moving from Commitments to Results through Inclusive Innovation,' taking place on Friday, August 25th from 1:30 - 6:00 pm in ECOSOC chamber. Sherwin Bryce-Pease, President, United Nations Correspondents Association." The promotion: "H.E Mr. Lazarous Kapambwe, Permanent Representative of Zambia to the United Nations, Mr. Cary Yan, President of WOGC, Special Guests include: H.E. Mme Marie Chatardová, President of the Economic and Social Council (tbc), H.E. Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General (tbc), H.E. Mme Lorena Herrera, Vice President of Honduras, H.E. Mr. Alvaro Colom, Former President of Guatemala, H.E. Mr. Kessai H. Note, Former President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, H.E. Mr. Francisco Merino, Former Vice President of El Salvador, Hon. Mr. Freidi Torres, Former President of Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Panama." The press release says Antonio Guterres will speak. We'll have more on this. As to the WDF event, Inner City Press was urged to remove its reporting from the Internet - just as then UNCA president Giampaolo Pioli told it to remove an article about his renting of an apartment to Sri Lanka's ambassador from the Internet or get thrown out of the UN, which UNCA "leaders" and the UN in turn did - and to interview Suriname's Ambassador (we DO have questions). But the UN is covering up. The NGOs Dujarric refused to answer about have already been partnered with by the UN Department of Public Information, photos here and here; the now-cancelled event was still promoted in a DPI NGO newsletter sent out on the afternoon of August 23, with a greeting from DPI's Maher Nasser. Again, UNreformed DPI which views its role as pro-UN coverage cannot be allowed to evicted and still restrict the independent Press. We'll continue on this. On the now-canceled event, attendance list and junket offer below; voice mail after UN refused to answer, here, UN Spokesman's one-quarter answer, below; second voicemail here. In a third voicemail, an interview of with the Ambassador of Suriname, just as he was interviewed by South South News in Macau, was offered here. But Inner City Press' questions were and are to the UN, how it vetted the NGOs - UNanswered. Now a fourth voicemail, here, asking that Inner City Press take down article(s) - and, on August 23, the event was not taking place in either the General Assembly Hall, nor Conference Room 4. We'll have more on this. Inner City Press first reported on this group in May 2016, noting that the UN Department of Public Information was partnering with a group that at that time did not even have a website. This came after DPI's then-chief Cristina Gallach did no due diligence of Ng Lap Seng's purchase of events in the UN lobby and even its slavery memorial, then evicted Inner City Press after it asked her about her links to Ng's South South Awards. The UN's holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric has been involved, including in both the eviction and continuing restrictions. On August 22, Inner City Press asked and e-mailed Dujarric about the August 22-24 event. Video here; UN transcript here: Inner City Press: there's an event this week in the General Assembly, and some of the sponsors are those who attended the Macau event sponsored and paid for by Ng Lap Seng in August 2015 just before he was indicted and arrested.  So, I wanted to know — maybe you can find this out today — it's said that it's going to be webcast.

Spokesman:  What's the event?  I don't, what's the event?

Inner City Press:  The event has to do with sustainable tourism.  It's sponsored by an NGO and two Member States, both of whom went to Macau.  So, my question to you is, you've said the things have radically cleaned up…What's the UN's role in the event…  Who's paying for the-

Spokesman:  I need… drop me off a piece of paper with information about the event and I will…

Inner City Press: I'm going to give you the email as well, the one about…

Spokesman:  Perfect.

Inner City Press: …Yiping Zhou and the one that you said you hadn't seen.

Spokesman:  Okay, thank you.

  Inner City Press immediately sent Dujarric as well as his top two deputies the Yiping Zhou email and some questions. Five hours later when he left, Dujarric had not answered nor even, as requested, confirmed receipt. After 8 pm one of the sponsors called Inner City Press, audio here. But the answer should come from the UN Secretariat, which had been asked eight hours previously. Inner City Press called the caller how to ask Dujarric, and Dujarric did respond to this NGO, emailing Inner City Press: "Dear Matthew, The event is sponsored that the Mission of Suriname. They are responsible for the content of the event and we have been assured that no one is being charged for this event. Sincerely, Steph." But this didn't answer the questions that Inner City Press had asked (while showing that Dujarric had received them - we'll have more on this, and this.)

New DPI chief Alison Smale will have to deal with all this - and clean it up. For now, this is how the UN under Guterres remains. Watch this site. Legal footnote: the prosecution of Ng Lap Seng was by Assistant US attorneys Douglas Zolkind, Janis Echenberg and Daniel Richenthal of the US Attorney’s Office, David Last, on detail with the criminal division fraud section's FCPA unit, and Aashna Rao and David Louison. There are (many) further exhibits they are supposed to disclose to the Press, through spokespeople Nicholas Biase and Dawn Dearden and DC. We'll have more on all this.


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