Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Procurement Scandal in Burundi: Top Belgium Watchdog at UNDP’s Executive Board offered senior UN job for his "silence"

In a continued saga of scandals, collusions and conspiracies at UNDP, InnercityPress published on Friday a story about how a top Belgium envoy to the UNDP’s Executive Board was lured into a senior job with United Nations, after he raised major concerned about agency’s capacity to perform its duties in Burundi.

According to documents obtained from InnercityPress, Geert Vasintjev the top Belgium Government envoy to UNDP’s executive board has raised many time his concerns about the Agency’s failures in transparently managing the Belgium contribution.

In his latest secretive communication with Darshak Shah, Mr. Vansintjan says:


"The most important asset of UNDP is its reputation. You should be able to project an image of taking procurement seriously. I want this reaction because I want to show my field office that they are not alone and that we can improve on the UNDP. Without falling into the US-trap. "

But everyone questions now Mr. Vansintjan’s “sincere” concerns over UNDP’s behaviours.


Just one month after the above email exchange, Mr. Vansintjan was offered the Nr.2 job at the Office for Project Services in New York. UNDP and OPS personnel files indicate that Vansintjan was recruited out of usual recruitment standard practices and his post was not adervertised. In the cover of the personnel file it's a handwritten note which says:-"Strategic Recruitment".

A source at OPS-New York says:- "it was rather a last moment creation of UNDP and OPS to counterbalance United States disagreement and displeasure on IAPSO's merger. The Belgian vote in September's Executive Board meeting in IAPSO-UNDP-OPS merger was of high importance, therefore Dervis and Mattson had to pay whatever price". UNDP Watch checked and found out that Mr. Vansintjan was the one to represent and cast Belgian vote in the latest Executive Board (Sept 2007).

This top watchdog, who was entrusted by Belgium Government with monitoring and reporting on how UNDP manage the Belgium tax-payers money, might have been playing all along on UNDP’s side. Instead of exposing and holding responsible the agency for its internal miss-mamagement, procurement failures and corruption, in a direct collusion, Mr. Vansintjan was instead preparing the grounds for his transfer to one of the Agency's top jobs in New York.

But was the above a personal choice or is this a sign of a bigger European Conspiracy with United Nations, to save the agency from “falling into US-Trap”?

This latest revelations makes everyone wonder if the words of Geert Vansintjan are his or does those reflect the stand of Belgium Government. Internal sources close to Belgium Mission also indicated that Mr. Vansintjan has continued to receive "benefits" from Belgium mission as latest as December 2007.

Continue to watch UNDP-WATCH, we will be having live updates from internal discussions at Exeutive Board and behind the scenes.

Because a number of UNDP WATCH sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor in a transparent and ethical way, we thank everyone for the support. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

21 comments:

External said...

Heck this beats being a first secretary at the Belgian Mission :rolleyes: now that his country is no longer part of the Exe Board

Since Belgium was a member of the Board until dec 2007, he was representing his country which is part of the Western European and other States group (with their own rotation scheme)

Anonymous said...

Well, everyone knows -- or should know by now -- that Jan Mattson @ UNOPS is no saint... His palmares filled with rather disturbing cases so far is impressive indeed, the Dalberg LTA case signed 30 April 2004 being just the tip of the iceberg, etc, etc, etc...
So what could you expect?

Anonymous said...

UNOPS HRM is rife with corrupt practices under Karsten Bloch - the Dane who was instrumental in the UNOPS committee to select Copenhagen as their new HQ...
Mattsson has secured his own Alberto Gonzales in Mr. Mitchells - their top legal honcho; hell bent on covering up management misdeeds (and also wearing the hat of 'Ethics Officer' - what a joke!).
Such behavior is encouraged by Mattsson's own acts and attitudes. A fish rots from the head...

External said...

From "Organisational Strategy 2005-2008: UNDP Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs".
It outlines Danemark main priorities
--------------------------
Leveraging of Danish resources
Context and Performance
The number of Danish personnel above P4 has decreased from 23 (year-end2003) to 20(year-end 2004). Furthermore, 14 Danish nationals currently hold UNDP’s Appointments for Activities of Limited Duration(ALD) at the professional level (A3 and above) both in HQs and in the field. In 2003, 2.5% of UNDP’s procurement was in Denmark. Although this compares unfavorably to 7.2%, the percentage of core resources that Denmark contributes, the picture is different when compared to 2.4%,the percentage of total resources that Denmark contributes.
Denmark and UNDP have worked closely together to place important UNDP functions at the UN center in Copenhagen. Apart from the Nordic Liaison Office headquartered in
Copenhagen, UNDP in Denmark houses the organization’s important global Human Resource functions, and collectively employs over 70 people. Denmark provides significant support to UNDP’s JPO and LEAD programmes and has voiced its concern that less than 16% of Danish JPOs are successful in achieving permanent employment with UNDP after conclusion of their JPO. In addition Denmark has noted with concern that the LEAD programme, in particular the recruitment, does not seem transparent.
Denmark’s specific targets for 2005-08
*Ensure that the number of Danish staff above P4 and A3 is relative to Denmark’s funding of UNDP
*Continue to support the JPO programme, the Special Assistant Programme and the LEAD programme, and ensure transparency in the selection process as well
as proportional absorption on these candidates to further positions in UNDP
*Ensure that the proportion of funds used to purchase Danish goods relative to all goods should be comparable to the relative Danish financial contribution to UNDP’s general resources.

Anonymous said...

Danemark main priorities

Well, apparently there is a secret agreement between UNOPS and Denmark and it stipulates that UNOPS must have a certain number of staff in Copenhagen.
Is the Executive Board aware of this agreement? Does the Board sanction this type of agreement?
In the interest of transparency it should be made public.

External said...

Exec Board Members

2007
Belgium (power to UNOPS)
Canada (environmental funds for IEPF/Francophony anyone)
Denmark
Germany
Greece
Italy
Japan
Norway
Portugal
Spain
United Kingdom
United States

2008
Australia
France
Denmark
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Netherlands
Norway
Sweden
Switzerland
United States

Anonymous said...

BTW Nr.1 at the Office for Project Services in New York leaves the decision of selecting the professionals for hire on JPOs from HR in Copenhaguen (this is laughable to see someone who has no working experience per se, evaluating the core competencies and skills of experienced middle managers). I guess these JPOs must stick to the rules (sic) of the clique if they want a permanent job as an international Civil servant.

Anonymous said...

Is the Executive Board aware of this agreement? Does the Board sanction this type of agreement?

Probably not. Several UNOPS staff contacted their respective missions last year. It was done informally, none of the missions were aware of an agreement.
Maybe a copy could be presented to the EB for review!

Anonymous said...

Is the Executive Board aware of this agreement? Does the Board sanction this type of agreement?
Matthew Russell gives a good description on his blog:
http://www.innercitypress.com/unops012307.html
------------------------
One little add-on:
Here is how one can get hired at UNOPS:

1. Director Human Resources and Organisational Effectiveness UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services)2006-presently

2. Project leader internationalization, Siemens 2003-2006

“Monika is a consummate professional. Very trustworthy.” May 31, 2006

Vitaly Vanshelboim , Director, Office of Administration and Security, UNDP
was with another company when working with Monika at Siemens
----------------------------------
From what I know Vitaly has been with UNDP JPO/ HR / UNOPS at least since 2002
Vitaly Vanshelboim
Deputy Director, Nordic Office and
Chief, Staff Administrative Services
Office of Human Resources/ BOM
UNDP Copenhagen

Other UNOPS issues involve Daily Sustenance Allowance abuse and overpaying of Mattsson's deputy Vitaly Vanshelboim. Mattsson brought Vashelboim to New York, and has now sent him back to Copenhagen (where Mattsson's yet to move). The totals paid to Mr. Vanshelboim for multiple relocations, travel and Daily Sustenance Allowance are the subject of outrage even within UNOPS staff, who says that the Board of Auditors inquiry recently announced by Ban Ki-moon should act on them

Anonymous said...

BTW Nr.1 at the Office for Project Services in New York
madame newels herself was selected after a rigged process. willing tool for mattsson - disposable when the shit hits the fan.

Anonymous said...

for the sake of UNDP OIOS should investigate imemdiately this case.

Anonymous said...

Vansintjan should resign immediately. How on earth does he think he can continue in his contract and be the face of UNOPS in NY? Shame to Belgian Government for allowing this corruptions.

Anonymous said...

Vansintjan is the best example of old europe. If he's the best Belgium have - than forget it UN has no real future.
Go out now Vansintjan!!

Anonymous said...

Ban Ki Moon should order an independent committee to investigate Burundi corruption. It has gone completely out of hand and now both Belgium and UK have been ordered to "cool" it down, because as it seems politicians were involved in this massive lost of public funds.

Anonymous said...

Dimitri Samaras is here in Burundi today with others from Africa Bureau from HQ. They trying to "solve" the matter by burrying even more and destroying all evidence about what really happened.
Ban Ki Moon should move now - because these guys are all the same.

Anonymous said...

resign now Vansintjan!!!

Anonymous said...

Roswitha Newels and Jan Mattsson should also resign over this. They are the mafiosi who hired this scam to enter UNOPS from the window, instead of thru proper personnel hiring.
Corrupt mfckrs!!

Anonymous said...

god bless you UNDP Watch - please continue to unravel the corruption. The shame of these corrupt bureaucrats seem to have no limits.
Don't expect much from Ban Ki Moon, he is worst than Dervis and Melkert.

Anonymous said...

Roswitha Newels and Jan Mattsson should also resign over this. They are the mafiosi who hired this scam to enter UNOPS from the window, instead of thru proper personnel hiring.
Corrupt mfckrs!!


It goes quite deep - there were excellent internal candidates for this post. But they were also much more qualified than ms newels herself. as a PM she was regarded as rather inefficient, she has risen only because she is willing to do management's dirty work.
so therefore a scheme was created to enable her to handpick her team and exclude anyone who could expose her helpless management of the North America Office. that office is unraveling as we speak and staff are abused (also by her new henchman, mr.vansintjan). the staff are exhausted and even most of the 'replacement' staff are frustrated and incredulous to her way of handling affairs.

newels must go, she is a shame for the face of the UN!

Anonymous said...

Follow the bread crumbs from Bruce Jenks to Jan Mattson to the dumb USG nordic at OIOS and corrupt Russian D1s-V. G (look at his track record in Iraq). All are the puppets of MMB.

Where is the petition?? UNDP watch needs to contact the missions, g77, the press back in the donor countries as well as the media networks here in the field.
UNDP Field staff are up-set and feed up with HQ- from the countless useless inexperienced Nordics in BRSP, BOM and OHR- most who have never done a days work in the field- look at the staff in the private sector and foundations departments to the internal management consulting group. Most notably some are P staff with no masters- but with fathers in the field.

Come on- lets think of ways of ridding the UN of corrupt and ill-qualified staff, especially from Russia and the Nordics.

From the 19th flr- watch out for Dalberg's new LTA agreement with UNDP- those of us on the approving committee were shocked how certain members were so PRO-Dalberg.

External said...

Not bad-after 3 yrs at the Belgian Mission-a cosy post with UNOPS.

Par les arrêtés ministériels du 12 janvier 2004 les agents mentionnés ci-après ont été adjoints au poste repris en regard de leur nom :
http://www.staatsbladclip.be/lois/2004/03/23/loi-2004015062.html
Geert Vansintjan, attaché auprès de la Représentation permanente auprès de l'O.N.U. à New York.
Nomination définitive
Par arrêté royal du 12 août 2003, M. Geert Vansintjan a été nommé définitivement dans la troisième classe administrative dans la carrière des attachés de la Coopération internationale à la date du 1erjanvier 2003.