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At UN, Complaint of Hiring of Mistress at WTO, Tricks in UNCTAD Election Battle

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

UNITED NATIONS, June 22 -- The seamy underbelly of UN system politicking is laid bare in a filing to the UN's top investigator Inga-Britt Ahlenius from the Officer in Charge of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Division on Management Khaililur Rahman.

   Describing the campaign by UNCTAD's senior advisor against a Ivory Coast diplomat competing to head UNCTAD or to beat out Patrick Lamy for the next term at the World Trade Organization, Rahman quotes that Lamy "has campaign funds from the French" and hired the Ivorian diplomat's "mistress at the WTO."

  Inner City Press has obtained a copy of the UN document, and places it online here.  On June 4, Rahman asked Ahlenius' Office of Internal Oversight Services to take action. But UN Spokesperson Michele Montas on June 19 told Inner City Press she and the UN are unaware of the complaint.

    In the memo, Rahman recounts how pressure was brought to bear on UN staff to lobby for the incumbent at UNCTAD Supachai Panitchpakdi to get a second term. Mr. Supachai's special advisor Kobsak Chutikul wrote a "Game Plan e-mail" which identified the Permanent Representatives to the UN of Sudan, Cuba, Libya and Nicaragua as "undermining the practice / tradition of two consecutive terms" for the top job at UNCTAD.

   Rahman recounts to the Office of Internal Oversight Services that "Mr. Chutikul also mentioned he would 'continue to press the Executive Office of Secretary General' [Ban Ki-moon] while noting that 'we can't just wait for them to act.'"

   The African Group was pushing as a candidate Ambassador Gauze of Cote d'Ivoire to replace Mr. Supachai. That campaign appears to have ended. On June 19, Inner City Press was shown by one of the above-mentioned Permanent Representatives a message from Ban Ki-moon's senior advisor, leading to the dropping of the competing African candidacy. Ban and his advisor previously moved to cut the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, a decision the General Assembly has ordered Ban to reverse.

   The seamy side is contained in Paragraph 6 of Rahman's memo to OIOS, in which he writes -- in a UN document about which Inner City Press asked the UN spokesperson on June 19 -- that

"an email from Mr. Chutikul dated 29 May 2009... made a number of allegations against Mr. Gauze, a former Minister of Trade of Cote d'Ivoire and currently Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire in Geneva as a contender for the post of SG of UNCTAD along with Mr. Supachai, as well as against Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization. Mr. Chutikul alleged in this email that Mr. Gauze 'in fact last year offered to be on Lamy's campaign team.' Mr Chutukul also alleged that Mr. Lamy 'had campaign funds from the French' and got Mr. Gauze's 'mistress in the mission hired by WTO.'

 He alleged further that Mr. Gauze 'is now facing a paternity suit for child born to another Ivorian mistress. The woman is married to a white man but the baby was born completely black.' He adds: 'Seems Gauze in desperate need of source of income to settle the suit and pay upkeep.'"

   Mr. Rahman's memo refers all of the above -- beyond the UN's total denial, let us take item by item denials for granted and at face value -- "to OIOS for appropriate action." But is OIOS the right venue?


  Copies of the complaint were alsosent to Department of Management chief Angela Kane and her Human Resources Assistant Catherine Pollard, as well as UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson, Jan Beagle in Geneva, Ms. A. Djermakoye and Mr. I Koulov.

   Despite all this, the UN in New York, through its spokesperson Michele Montas, purports to know nothing about this formal complaint. Inner City Press asked at the June 19 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: there’s this controversy about UNCTAD, about reappointing or not reappointing Mr. Supachai. And it said that the G-77 there has written in support of him, but the African Group within that has said they didn’t support the recommendation, that they have other candidates from the Ivory Coast and Kenya, and finally, it’s been written to miscellaneous of OIOS that there’s been pressure put on staff to support the current head to be reappointed. One -- has the Secretary-General gotten this letter from G-77, and does he acknowledge it as the position of the full group, or does he know of this African Group counter-position?

Spokesperson Montas: He has received the different letters and the different positions and, as you know, he still supports his reappointment.

Inner City Press: And what about this claim that staff are being pressured as a condition of keeping their jobs?

Spokesperson: Pressured by whom?

Inner City Press: Pressured by senior members within UNCTAD.

Spokesperson: I’m not aware of that. I’m not aware of that at all.

   Note that the "miscellaneous" in the transcript is Ms. Ahlenius. And that no update has been provided by the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, including his view on Supachai's future and special advisor's campaigning as reflected in the must-credit exclusive above. Watch this site.

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As De Mistura Leaves UN in Iraq, Melkert Called Sole Candidate, Baghdad Given Only One Choice

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

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- What does the UN do with a candidate twice passed over for the top job at one of its funds and programs? Send him to Iraq, apparently. On June 11 Inner City Press exclusively reported that Ad Melkert, who lost out to Kemal Dervis and then Helen Clark for the job as Administrator of the UN Development Program, was angling to finally head up a part of the UN: its mission in Iraq.

   On June 17 it was confirmed that the current occupant of the position, Stefan de Mistura, is shifting over to become deputy director of the World Food Program. At the UN noon briefing of June 18, Inner City Press asked spokesperson Michele Montas to confirm or deny that Melkert is the Secretary General's nominee to replace de Mistura. Ms. Montas declined to confirm, but said that an announcement would be made shortly.

   Inner City Press asked Iraq's Ambassador to the UN Hamid Al Bayati to comment on Ad Melkert. "It hasn't been decided," Ambassador Al Bayati said. "But it looks as if it is going to be." A well-placed Security Council source told Inner City Press that Melkert is the only candidate. So it looks like the fix is in.

UN's Ban and Melkert, agreement on public financial disclosure not shown

   Who then would replace Melkert at UNDP? Some are saying that post will be used for the lateral move of a current Under Secretary General in Headquarters who many want out of the slot. If Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was got ratings from the Economist of three out of ten, and even two out of ten, and Ban has just been hit with more than 200 staff members at Headquarters casting votes of "No Confidence" in him on Capital Master Plan and management issues, those responsible may have to be shaken up, is the word from upstairs. Watch this site.

Footnote: Melkert, it must be said, openly disagreed with Ban's request that top UN officials make some public financial disclosure, and was central in UNDP's break-away from the UN's Ethics system, including on whistleblower protection. Are these among his qualifications for the UN in Iraq?

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UN Mulls Sending Melkert to Iraq, Local Staff in Pakistan Shortchanged, Owondo's Service

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

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- Inside the UN system, staff were angry Thursday night. First came indications that beyond the international staff killed in the bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan, at least three national staff were killed as well. Not only where they barely spoken of, but the benefits package for them is slated to be a fraction of that offered to the internationals. Also barely mentioned was the UN's evacuation of some but not all staff from Peshawar to Islamabad.

  The UN Mission in Iraq, the staffers said, is slated to receive a new manager from New York. Ad Melkert, the Associate Administrator of UNDP who twice lost out in races for the top job, is reportedly being sent to Baghdad. As such, he would be rewarded for publicly disagreeing with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's call for public financial disclosure, and for breaking away from the UN Secretariat's Ethics Office and what whistleblower protections exist.

UN staffer Solecki returns home, local staff and red flag not shown

   UNDP's staff union head Dmitry Samaras was present Thursday in the Church Center across from the UN, at the funeral for former staff member Joseph Owondo, who died in the crash of the Air France flight from Brazil to Paris. Owondo's death is a loss: if the UN had more whistleblowers like him, it would be a better place. Click here for Inner City Press' previously story on Owondo.

   Speaking at his funeral were Emmanuel Goued, Regis Onanga Ndiaye and Raphael Mbadinga. Samaras knows where many UNDP skeletons are buried, but what is the interest in exposing them? From now on, do it for Owondo. The UN is full of conflicts.

  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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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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