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At UN Pension Fund, $1.8M in Unauthorized Spending, ICP Asks If SG To Keep Arvizu

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 – With UN Pension Fund problems including late payments and $3.4 billion in foreign exchange costs leading to the departure of Secretary General Antonio Guterres' representative to the Fund Carolyn Boykin, who issued a gag order to staff not to leak to Inner City Press, problems remain. On Halloween we first wrote of Boykin's replaced Sudhir Rajkumar, triggering much feedback into which, despite the restrictions and threats by Guterres' Department of Public Information, we are digging. Now this: a UN Office of Internal Oversight Service audit has found at least $1.8 million in unauthorized spending, and much PCW work being done outside the contours of the agreed contract, at higher cost to the UN. We've put the audit online, here, on Patreon, with these questions: How much pension fund money was overspent on the 75 percent of services that were not bid for? (If there had been bidding for the other services, there may have been less use of $475 an hour partners. Having signed a contract for low-cost accountancy services, how did PWC accept to provide high-cost consultancy services without a new contract being signed? Was there collusion between PWC and Pension Fund staff? Doesn't the buck stop with, or in this case flow from, the CEO? And this: the six UN Participant Representatives have asked Guterres to NOT reappoint the current CEO of the pension fund, Sergio Arvizu. We've published the letter on Patreon, here. Already, the Board has proposed only a three year and not a five year reappoint. The six UN Participant Representatives say it should be zero, based on: "a poorly implemented new IT system with no contingency planning, leaving retirees without income, many for more than nine months; attempts, since blocked by the General Assembly, to remove OIOS as the Fund’s auditor; attempts to remove the Fund from the UN’s administrative oversight by creating new
staff and financial rules; attempts to circumvent rules on procurement and receiving gifts. It should be noted that the current payment backlog to widows, orphans and retirees still numbers in the thousands. For almost three years the CEO has refused to meet with staff representatives at the Fund despite multiple attempts by staff. The CEO has misrepresented good faith and constructive efforts made by the UN’s Department of Management to resolve the situation involving two staff of the Fund’s
Secretariat elected to the Board." On this last, the "UN Appeals Tribunal last week ruled illegal a decision by the pension fund’s board to exclude two of the six members that you, as UN staff, elected back in April.
" We'll have more on this, and on what Guterres does.

 On October 19 Guterres replaced Boykin with Sudhir Rajkumar. Since then staff tell Inner City Press of proposals to make up for bad management, as follows: raise the early retirement age from 55 to 60, raise the general retirement age for the younger staff, and require the staff to put in 20 years instead of 15 before they can recoup what the UN committed to pay for their pension. As noted, despite restrictions continued and new Kafka-esque threats by the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Smale, we are digging more into this. We can be contacted via the encrypted e-mail address on Patreon, here.

  On February 2, when Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Boykins gag order, he claimed UN staff misinterpreted it. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: You'd sent me an answer about the so-called hospitality log at the Pension Fund.  That was fine.  They published it.  Since then, the employees of that unit have all received a, what they call a gag order from Ms. Carolyn Boykin telling, reminding them that only the Secretary-General can speak for the Organization.  And they see it as basically they thought that they…

Spokesman:  I don't… I, you know, people can interpret whatever they want in whatever way they want.  My understanding is that what was circulated are the current, the current media guidelines, which actually say that people should be able to speak in their areas of, their area of competency.

Inner City Press:  So, what level of UN employee is… is authorized to disclose if they think they saw… they see corruption?  They took this as very much a threat to punishment.

Spokesman:  I'm sorry they interpreted it that way.

Inner City Press:  What does it mean?

Spokesman:  Mr. Abbadi.

   We'll stay on this.

  Inner City Press continued its series on January 26 with this from the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, which whistleblowing staff tell Inner City Press maintains a "Hospitality Log" of its wining and dining of brokers, leaving General Service staff to (mis) fill in the information.

  The whistleblowers tell Inner City Press of a directive from Sandhya Peerthum, citing Ban Ki-moon's corrupt boondoggle UMOJA:

"With the implementation of UMOJA, assistance from EO has been drastically reduced. Assistants can help schedule interviews, print PHP, book rooms, take notes, enter guests in workspeed for access etc. They can better support the SIO’s by taking on more administrative roles to free up the SIO’s time so that they can focus on their respective portfolios. Also, trading has been absorbed by Vicky so there is a lot of excess capacity."

  The staff whistleblowers tell Inner City Press there is a problem with "accurate record keeping including the Hospitality Log – Hospitality log is the responsibility of the P-staff (Investment Officers) who wine and dine with brokers, advisers and other investment professionals. So how would a GS staff know when and where a P-staff would be enjoying lunch, dinner and beer (and what else) on any given date or time to update the hospitality log? This is totally illegal"

And needs investigation. The UN's holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric answered only two and a half of Inner City Press' 22 questions, and on January 25 and January 27 left the briefing room as Inner City Press was still asking questions. Then on January 27, this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 12:35 PM
Subject: Your question on the Hospital Log of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at]

We have the following information provided by the UNJSPF:
The purpose of the Hospitality Log is to record events which Investment staff attend as part of their official functions, which may include meetings, conferences, meals or receptions.  These events are to the benefit of the Fund, as they enable investment staff to network and gather information which is helpful to their research.  As most of the Fund is internally managed, attendance at such events is not unusual.
The Investment Management Division (IMD) has a Gift and Hospitality Policy, which was reviewed by the UN Ethics Office and the Pension Fund’s Audit Committee. This policy requires events to be logged and it requires them to be reasonable and customary in cost.  Additionally, the Investment Management Division conducts annual ethics training."

  After this spin, Carolyn Boykin, representative of the Secretary General (that would be, now, Antonio Guterres, "reminded" staff that they have no right to speak to the Press, that everything should be through... Dujarric, who stonewalled Inner City Press on Ban Ki-moon's and Cristina Gallach's corruption, threw it out of the Briefing Room and then the UN.

 There is a need for an entirely different approach, and new officials, at the UN. Watch this site.

 In Washington executive orders are being prepared to cut up to 40% of the US' contributions to the UN, and to fully cut funding to entities blamed for violation of human rights.

  One obvious question is whether the total denial of due process for whistleblowers - already part of US law - and investigative press which covers UN corruption constitutes such a violation. We'll have more on this.


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