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UN Assembly President Treki Hires Daughter and Cousin, For Family Values

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- While the occupant of the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly changes each year, the same cannot be said for practices like nepotism and lack of transparency. Under the previous President, Nicaragua's Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, Inner City Press found and reported the hiring of two of his relatives, nephew Michael Clark and niece Sofia Clark, in the Office.

  Now, new President Ali Treki of Libya lists on the web site of his Cabinet a relative named Ali Mohamed Treki. When Inner City Press asked the Office's spokesman and chief of staff for the precise familial relation, the talk got vague and went off the record.

  Then Inner City Press discovered that Ali Treki's daughter Amal Ali Treki is working in the Office, and got this confirmed by Treki's thus far fair spokesman Jean-Victor Nkolo. Several other questions remain outstanding; the responses will be reported upon receipt.

  The post of President of the General Assembly is the highest, at least technically, in the UN system. But it is run like a family business.

  Inner City Press has also asked by whom and how much President Treki gets paid. This seems like a basic and fair question, but it has yet to be answered. It has been implied that Inner City Press should assume that Treki is paid by his government, Libya, but it has also been argued that he is and will be independent from Libya and its leader, Colonel Gaddafi. Which is it?

  Two presidencies ago, Srgjan Kerim left unanswered who paid him -- a private company called WAZ Media -- and how much (reputed at $400,000). Inner City Press was asked, how many should Treki be paid, without being told by whom.

  Treki has been embroiled in controversies, some by choice and some by happenstance. He did not write Gaddafi's disjointed General Debate speech: perhaps no one did. And continued reporting by Inner City Press about the Assembly's overruling of Treki's decision to give the floor to Madagascar's coup leader find that Treki was misled, to some degree, by those who called the question and the vote.

  But Treki's decision on September 18 to answer a stray question about gay rights by calling homosexuality "not acceptable," not only by him but by "two billion Muslims and... Buddists and Jews," was his own choice. Inner City Press reported the comments, then asked Treki about the resulting condemnation by Congressman Barney Frank and counterparts of his in the UK and Australia. Treki stood by his comments, which Inner City Press understand that many of his own staff counseled him against.

UN PGA Ali Treki, a man of family values, other answers not yet shown

  To his credit, Treki has attracted some savvy UN staffers, using the professional level UN-paid posts available to him. His chief of staff Jamal Benomar, an expert on the rule of law, has his work cut out for him. His economic adviser Yasser Elnaggar has been around the UN block. Some say that Treki's daughter is among his best staff members. That's what every small businessman says...

Footnote: Inner City Press held publication of this article for several days seeking additional answers and comments from PGA Treki's office. If and when these are received, they will be published in future articles on Dr. Treki, his Office and the General Assembly.

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Nepotism May Threaten UN Economic Crisis Summit, Role of Nephew of GA President d'Escoto Questioned

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, June 9 -- As industrialized countries' public skepticism has grown at the UN General Assembly's summit on the global economic crisis, postponed until later this month, analysts have focused on General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann's refusal to simply accept the proposed outcome document drafted by member states.

  Inner City Press is told by well-placed sources that a major reason for the so-called Draft-Gate which threatens to undermine the crisis summit is the presence among the PGA's paid staff of at least two d'Escoto relatives, and the freedom that he gives them.

   Michael Clark is an American staff member who has given numerous lengthly press conferences about the summit, most recently speaking so extensively about his views of a world without money that Inner City Press was not permitted a single question, about some countries' critique of the draft. At the time, Inner City Press reported that Michael Clark previously served with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and trying to open India to U.S. commercial firms.

    Now it can be told, confirmed by d'Escoto Brockmann's spokesman to his credit on June 9: Michael Clark is d'Escoto Brockmann's nephew. Another niece, Sophia Clark, is d'Escoto Brockmann's Deputy Chief of Staff.

  These two family connections were confirmed by spokesman Enrique Yeves on Tuesday. He noted that out of twenty cabinet members, only two are relatives of the President, and that these are "freely designated posts" not subject to competition or qualifications. They are, however, paid from the UN budget.

Chilean president Michele Bachelet, previously scheduled to attend the summit, has as Inner City Press heard recently canceled, Yeves confirmed on Tuesday. Few high level officials from industrialized countries are slated to come.

   It is becoming, as one well placed source put it, a wasted opportunity. When the UN General Assembly had a chance to come out with innovative ideas to regulate the global financial system, he asked, "who did they turn to? Father Miguel's nephew."

Michael Clark, with UNPGA one of two Clarks -- or three?

   Within those parts of the General Assembly not related to Escoto Brockmann by blood or marriage, one can find dissatisfaction with Michael Clark and the way d'Escoto has "let him run wild," as one source put it. This source states that Clark has been trying to find this next job after d'Escoto Brockmann's year as PGA expires, and that this has included trying to find some European jobs.

   The source traces changes that Clark made to what was ostensibly d'Escoto Brockmann's personal draft to subsequent criticism of the draft. "Father Miguel is taking heat for a problem Michael created," the source says, calling it misplaced loyalty.

    Yeves said for the record that Michael Clark is by no means the only adviser on the summit, and argued that Clark's appearance at three press conferences in a row about the summit was not, as one source put it, a "try out," but simply a product of the travel schedule of d'Escoto Brockmann and his other advisers. Inner City Press asked to interview Michael Clark for this story.

   Yeves said all such requests to the PGA's advisers go through him, and that answer would be given by Tuesday at 5 p.m.. Inner City Press hours before that time also made the request directly to Mr. Clark. After that deadline, this story is being published, and will be updated. Watch this site.

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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