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Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years
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The Helen Clark we see today is a carefully manufactured, airbrushed political brand. She's also New Zealand's most powerful politician, ever. Absolute Power strips away the facade to find what makes the real Helen Clark tick, and explores the track record of a government that boasted it would bring a new age of "frugality and integrity", and an end to "cronyism, sleaze and dishonesty". Absolute Power is not just about what happened publicly and what played out on the news each night. It is much more about what was going on behind the scenes - the power plays, the dirty tricks, the Machiavellian maneuvers. The bits the daily media missed. Lord Acton once wrote that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that the great "are almost always bad". Is Helen Clark the exception to that rule?
Helen Clark 1st speech: Reporting on UNDP actual outcomes is a complex matter, and in many areas may well take a decade or generation to assess fully
Statement by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme On the Occasion of the Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark addresses the members of the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board at the annual session held at UN headquarters in New York. The current Executive Board President, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee (Islamic Republic of Iran), is at her left.
Members of the Executive Board,
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is a great privilege and honour for me to have joined UNDP as the new Administrator.
At the outset, let me thank the Secretary-General for nominating me to this position, and for the support he has provided me. He is a strong ally for UNDP’s development work.
I also thank Ad Melkert, Associate Administrator, for his dedication and commitment to UNDP, and for holding the fort as Acting Administrator before my arrival five weeks ago.
I would like to thank the General Assembly and you, the members of the UNDP Executive Board, for the confidence you have placed in me.
I am grateful to His Excellency Mr. Mohammad Khazaee, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, for his role in guiding the Board as its President since his election.
I am also appreciative of the hard work of the Vice-Presidents: for the group of African States, Mr. Omary Mjenga from the United Republic of Tanzania; for the Eastern European group, Mr. Dragan Mićić from Serbia; for the group of Western Europe and other States, Mr. Jeroen Steeghs from the Netherlands; and for the group of Latin America and Caribbean states, Mr. William Exantus from Haiti.
I would also like to extend a warm welcome to two of my colleagues: Tegegnework Gettu, the new Director for the Regional Bureau for Africa, and Jordan Ryan, the new Director for the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. This is the first Board meeting since they assumed their new roles.
This is also the first time I myself have attended the Executive Board. I look forward to being present at as many sessions of the Board as possible, this time around and in the future. The Board plays a critical role in guiding UNDP, and I want to engage directly with you.
Over the past few weeks I have been at our New York headquarters, meeting with many staff of the organisation. I have also had the pleasure of meeting with many of you here today in other settings, as well as with a wide range of other partners and stakeholders in the UN system and beyond.
In June I will depart on my first trip as Administrator, to Africa where many of our development challenges loom largest. I will visit governments, UNDP and UN country teams at large, other development partners, and some of those supported by our work in Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.
I come from a background of working on economic and social justice in my own country, New Zealand. I know what a huge difference strong and accountable institutions, a resilient economy, good health and education systems, better social safety nets, and economic and social inclusion and participation make to the prospects of our peoples. These issues are very important to me, and have been throughout my time in public life.
Globally, the resources, the technology, and the knowledge exist now to improve the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. Our challenge is to muster up the political will and the resources, and to support the strategies and actions required, to make the much needed improvements a reality.
Where we are today; where we should go
This is a difficult time to be pursuing our development mission, as our world experiences the deepest global economic recession it has faced in decades. Alas, those least responsible for the crisis stand to bear the brunt of its impact over the longer term.
The recession is adding to the stress which very high food and energy prices had already imposed on many countries, pushing as many as 200 million people into extreme poverty between 2005 and 2008. At the same time, we face the huge climate change challenge, related to the world’s current unsustainable use of natural resources.
These global problems reflect our interdependence, and they require global solutions. That is why we need a multilateral system which reflects the realities of the 21st century. That system should not only help deliver improved living standards for the poorest and most vulnerable, but also should ensure that their voices are heard at decision-making tables.
The United Nations family should be the vehicle which drives that action and provides that voice. UNDP can be a leading contributor to making that happen.
How we collectively handle the global recession is a case in point.
Developed countries have been impacted, some severely, but for the most part they have had tools at their disposal to address the crisis. The longer term effect of the recession on developing countries is potentially much more devastating.
With families facing shrinking livelihoods and job losses, and with governments confronting slumping revenue, and consequently cutting back on spending, many fear that there will be a reversal of gains which had been made towards meeting the MDGs.
UNDP has been responding to requests from programme countries for support in analyzing the impact of the crisis; designing policy responses – including on how to protect the most vulnerable; and facilitating resource mobilization. It is critical that we work especially closely with the Bretton Woods Institutions at this time.
At the top of my overall priorities is sharpening UNDP’s focus on poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In today’s circumstances, this is challenging, but it is also critical that we keep this focus on the near medium term. The MDGs are at the very heart of UNDP’s mission, and are clearly central to the strategic plan approved by the Executive Board.
Based on current trends, while some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa will meet some MDGs, they are unlikely to meet them all by 2015. As a result of the global recession, it is estimated that about three-quarters of Sub-Saharan countries could see an increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty during this year.
I came to New York in 2000 as New Zealand Prime Minister to sign the Millennium Declaration, along with the leaders of most other Member States. 2015 seemed a long way away then – but now there are only six years left to the date set for achieving the MDGs. So, we need concerted action. When our global community sets goals and targets, we have a duty to work together to meet them.
Since the Millennium Declaration was signed, many significant aid commitments have been made. Notably, the G8 at its Gleneagles Summit in 2005 agreed to a set of landmark pledges. That included a promise to increase annual ODA by US$50 billion by 2010, with half of it earmarked for African countries. Those pledges were reconfirmed by the G8 in 2007 and 2008. Yet, at this time, the pledge to Africa remains unfulfilled.
It was indicated to the Executive Board last year that concrete proposals were being developed to show how the extra ODA pledged at Gleneagles could be applied to help reach the MDGs. UNDP has worked with partner governments in Africa, the African Development Bank, the IMF and the World Bank, to develop specific “Gleneagles Scenarios”. These “worked scenarios” demonstrate that the scaling up of action in these countries towards achieving the MDGs is feasible, from both developmental and macroeconomic perspectives. This approach has been approved by the MDG Africa Steering Group and by the African Union.
The Scenarios have now been completed with and for an initial set of six African countries, and are almost complete for a further four. Their publication is imminent.
It is to be hoped that this year’s G8 Summit in July could now mobilize the resources, which were previously pledged, to support the implementation of the Gleneagles Scenarios which have already been developed and will be developed. UNDP will continue working with its partners to develop Scenarios for all African countries. It is vital for the credibility of pledges made that action follows the availability of serious and credible scenarios for scaling up ODA as Gleneagles envisaged.
I also believe it is critical to draw the work being done on addressing the climate change challenge into the centre of the way in which we think about development. The truth is that the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change will be borne by some of the poorest countries and people in the world.
We need a new deal for development which is sustainable in every sense and tackles both energy poverty and poverty overall. To this end, UNDP must step up its work this year to support developing countries achieving an outcome at Copenhagen in December which is consistent with designing a sustainable path out of poverty and for achieving the MDGs. The deal to be sealed at Copenhagen must be a development deal too.
What could be achieved at Copenhagen, including through finance mechanisms being worked on, has significant implications for development. These mechanisms could become a major new and additional source of development financing, complementing, and at some point possibly even surpassing the significance of ODA. A new development paradigm could be in the making.
The Annual Report
UNDP’s core strengths lie in its strong presence around the globe; the leading edge it brings to development thinking; the capacity building, capacity development, and upstream policy advice it can provide in support of national development strategies; the resource mobilization it can support around those strategies; and the co-ordinating role it plays on behalf of the UN’s development family.
The spirit and substance of our work is captured in the document before you: the first Annual Report on the new Strategic Plan. It is a reflection of the work of UNDP together with that of our associated funds and programmes, the UN Capital Development Fund, UNIFEM, and UN Volunteers, which all provide valuable complementary expertise.
The annual report process is an important accountability mechanism. All members of the Board want to be well informed about how we have performed against the goals and targets which you have set for us.
The Board last year requested UNDP to include in its reports analytical information about strategic results, including programme and project results. Inevitably at this early stage what you have before you are largely reports on process and on inputs into development.
In terms of accountability, I believe we should be able to be very clear to the Board in the future about what we do, how much of it we do, what actions we have taken, and what those activities cost.
Because the core of our contribution to development lies in capacity building and capacity development, however, reporting on its actual outcomes is a much more complex matter, and in many areas may well take a decade or generation to assess more fully. UNDP is not a super-NGO, and our Strategic Plan specifically directs us away from small scale projects without country wide impact and also away from infrastructure projects which do not support capacity building.
Over time, however, with well designed interventions in support of programme countries’ national development plans, there will be measurable indicators of achievement in country. But of course the progress that is made depends on many actors working together – the programme countries and the wide range of other organizations contributing to development.
Capacity development aims at long term and sustainable transformation. UNDP’s investments in it will pay huge dividends over time. Our job in the administration of UNDP is to demonstrate to you, our Executive Board, that the resources mobilized for UNDP are well directed and accounted for, and oriented to achieving the very best results for development. Over the next few months, UNDP will continue to refine the outcome indicators on which it is realistic for us to report.
This annual report shows what our levels of activity were with programme countries in each area of the four key goals established in the Strategic Plan. It reveals that two-thirds of UNDP expenditure occurred in the areas of poverty reduction and the MDGs, and democratic governance.
Drilling deeper, we see that of the 34 outcome areas in which we work, there were ten where we had both very high demand and high expenditure. They accounted for just over $2.6 billion, or 64%, of expenditure in 2008, and included:
• strengthening capacities for MDG-based planning and monitoring;
• support for justice system reform and the rule of law.
• strengthening capacities to reduce, mitigate, and cope with the impact of violent conflict and natural hazards; and
• enhancing national capacities to mainstream environmental priorities into development planning.
These areas will be prioritized for future reporting on the actual impact of what we do. In these and so many other areas, UNDP is engaged in work which is potentially game-changing for programme countries.
Let me now comment briefly on some of our activities in 2008 within each of the four key goals of the Strategic Plan.
Goal One: Poverty Reduction and the MDGs:
In many countries across our five regions, we contributed to the design of MDG-based national development strategies, macroeconomic policies, debt sustainability frameworks, and public financing strategies. Two examples:
UNDP supported the Government of Ecuador to develop a national development strategy which not only aims to meet the MDGs, but also additional development targets. The MDGs have also been reflected in other planning processes in Ecuador, like that for sustainable tourism.
In Niger, UNDP has been partnering with stakeholders to help local authorities meet the MDGs. Some of those authorities as a result have already taken measures to boost primary education enrolment.
Goal One in the Strategic Plan also requires us to work to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on human development, which we do in many ways together with our partners. The Plan directs us to support integrating responses to HIV/AIDS into poverty reduction strategies, MDG-based national development plans, and macroeconomic processes. Last year, only eleven programme countries requested our support in this area. I would think there is considerable potential to do more.
It is a particular concern that where MDG attainment is lagging most is in the area of maternal health. At the global level, maternal mortality decreased by less than 1 per cent per year between 1990 and 2005 – far below the 5.5 per cent annual improvement needed to reach the MDG target. It is critical that we in UNDP in our co-ordinating role in countries and through UNDG work with governments and other organizations within and beyond the UN family to improve the health of women.
Goal Two: Fostering Democratic Governance:
The report outlines UNDP’s considerable activity on electoral support in nineteen countries. In Bangladesh, for example, UNDP supported the registration of over 81 million voters, 51 per cent of them female, in an election which achieved 87 per cent voter turnout. Our work supporting the Bangladesh Election Commission was important in helping to bring about this very high level of participation.
I am pleased to say that UN Volunteers have been helping our election work. Hundreds of them are right now working in sixteen countries - from Afghanistan to Timor Leste - providing advice to local electoral authorities, and helping with voter registration and civic education at the community level.
In Burundi, UNDP’s programme to strengthen the justice sector is helping reduce the average processing time for cases awaiting trial, thereby enhancing local accountability. A strengthened justice sector plays a critical role in enabling the peace to be upheld.
In the coming months and years, effective delivery of basic services will become even more important in alleviating the effects of current crises. As indicated in this report, in 2008 UNDP supported 89 countries to strengthen national, regional, and local governance and service delivery capacities. But we can do more to enhance local governance in particular. This is so important for making poverty reduction sustainable.
Goal Three: Supporting Crisis Prevention and Recovery:
With demand from sixty countries and expenditures of over $227 million in 2008, UNDP is a leader in the area of conflict prevention, disaster risk reduction and recovery. Overall, this work aims to support foundations being laid for longer term development.
Last year technical support was provided by more than forty UNDP offices in high disaster-prone countries, including Armenia, Belize, China, Haiti, Jordan, Malawi, and Pakistan.
Early recovery co-ordination mechanisms were established in 28 countries. In Myanmar, which was heavily hit by Cyclone Nargis, more than 150,000 people benefited from emergency relief and early recovery support for livelihoods, shelter, water, and sanitation.
In Kosovo and Timor-Leste, UNDP programmes supporting recovery from crisis also aim to improve gender equality and to protect and empower women. In Somalia, UNDP launched a sustainable livelihoods programme last year which, in its first five months, provided 12,000 beneficiaries with short-term employment opportunities, working on projects like rural access roads. Combined with skills development training, these activities can contribute to building stability there.
Goal Four: Managing Energy and the Environment for Sustainable Development:
UNDP works to support the scaling up of assistance to countries dealing with a range of environmental threats, including that of climate change. For example, using financial support from the Global Environment Facility and associated co-financing, UNDP manages a biodiversity portfolio of projects worth $2 billion. These have, for instance, helped establish 127 newly protected areas covering ten million hectares in fifty countries. This is roughly equivalent to two and a half times the total surface area of Switzerland. Because land and livelihoods are so intimately connected, ninety per cent of these projects have significant components focusing on poverty reduction.
UNDP has also been working with officials from a cross-section of ministries in twenty countries on the implications of the Bali Road Map negotiations for a new international climate change agreement on their countries’ future development. In the remaining months leading up to the Copenhagen Conference, we will need to reach out even more widely to support a development agenda being articulated there.
UNDP’s activities across the Strategic Plan’s four goals all have in common a strong focus on capacity development. This is what we do best: under the principle of national ownership, we support countries to articulate development priorities, and we invest in the abilities of their people, institutions, and communities to advance human development and achieve results.
Gender Equality Work
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are very important goals in their own right, and also as a means for realizing all the other MDGs.
More of UNDP’s programmes now reflect gender dimensions. We provided support to the governments of 22 African countries to incorporate gender needs assessments as planning and costing tools. We have also helped increased women’s political participation. Working with women leaders and government counterparts, UNDP supported the establishment by Turkey’s Parliament of a “Woman-Man Equal Opportunities Commission”. This national body is charged with reviewing and ensuring that all laws are gender equitable, and that women have legal recourse when their rights are violated.
Together with other partners, including UNIFEM, UNDP is supporting a number of initiatives on sexual-based violence. For instance, UNDP’s work in the eastern DRC has helped give women survivors of sexual violence access to free legal aid.
Our corporate Eight Point Agenda for Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality in Crisis includes providing justice and security for women, involving women in all peace processes, and promoting women as leaders of recovery.
But there is a long way to go in this work. Empowered by Security Council Resolution 1820, which states that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide”, we and the whole UN family have a strong mandate to combat sexual violence against women in conflict zones.
Real shifts in gender equality and women’s empowerment will only come about when there is a critical mass of supportive policy makers and appropriate legal frameworks. I come as the first female Administrator of UNDP. It goes without saying that gender equality is important to me and must be pursued as a core value across our organization.
I am pleased that within UNDP all managers are now having a portion of their performance assessed against their efforts on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Following your request, we are also taking steps to improve our tracking of gender equality initiatives. We have already successfully piloted the OECD DAC tracking approach in 17 countries; the next step is to apply it across the board.
A series of steps have also been taken to strengthen South-South cooperation. An Electoral Knowledge Network, for instance, allows institutions from the South to engage with their peers elsewhere on questions related to the administration of elections. The UN Capital Development Fund is helping expand access to financial services to 525,000 low-income people by providing incentives for southern-based microfinance institutions to enter underserved markets.
Developing countries have many lessons learned and useful technologies which can assist other developing countries meet their challenges. It is important that these are shared more widely.
UN Reform and why it matters
The global recession makes this a difficult time for development. But out of crisis also comes opportunity to look at fresh ways of doing things and to innovate. That is what we at UNDP must do as we pursue the goals set down in our Strategic Plan and as we support the ongoing process of UN reform so that we truly can deliver as one.
Since our ability to support governments may be impacted by the international recession and constrained resources, there is an even greater imperative for the UN family to work together.
UNDP has heard the calls of Executive Board members and Member States for a more coherent, effective, and efficient UN development system.
Such a system can better support national partners to address the many challenges they face. We cannot be effective working as a disparate set of agencies, without a coherent programmatic and operational approach.
So we must keep our eye on the end game – better delivery and better results – not co-ordination and reform for their own sake.
As Chair of the UN Development Group, I pledge UNDP’s full commitment to working constructively with all our partners in the UN family, and also to building the very best relationships we can with the widest possible range of stakeholders in development – civil society, donors, the IFIs, and all other contributors. And, of course, our most important partnerships must be with the governments and peoples of the countries in which we work.
The UNDP Strategic Plan reflects our dual role. We are a programmatic and operational development agency. We also manage the Resident Co-ordinator system on behalf of the UN system as a whole.
The UNDG’s Management and Accountability System, and its corresponding Implementation Plan, are the first written agreements on how the integrated UN development system should function. They outline a concept of accountability for the UN development system overall and for the Resident Co-ordinator system more specifically, so that we can better fulfill our commitments to national partners.
Within the UNDG we are now working to ensure that all agencies implement their commitments under the agreements. We need your continued support to ensure progress.
I recently had the opportunity to meet with the Resident Co-ordinators and Resident Representatives from the eight Delivering as One Pilot countries, and also from Papua New Guinea, a “self-starter”. I was impressed with the progress that the governments and UN Country Teams of these countries have made in delivering as one. I also want to acknowledge the importance of the MDG Achievement Fund supported by Spain as a major catalyst for promoting coherence and joint programming at the country level.
Through the 2008 stocktaking reports of the pilot Governments and UN Country Teams, we are seeing the UN playing a stronger role, working together, to provide policy advice and help meet national development priorities. We are also capturing the positive lessons emerging from the Pilots, with a view to adapting them elsewhere. The UN Development Assistance Frameworks being rolled out over the next years present an opportunity to do just that.
Managing for Results
Without secure funding UNDP cannot be effective. To deliver on its goals and achieve real results, UNDP needs an adequate and predictable base of core resources. I will speak briefly on this important topic when I open the agenda item on Funding Commitments later this afternoon.
For now, I am delighted that the $1.1 billion core income target set for 2008 was met, thanks to the generous support of many of you. It is critically important that, despite very tough economic projections, we can also meet our income targets for 2009 and beyond.
The current economic circumstances are placing huge pressure on the most vulnerable populations, and UNDP assistance is needed more than ever. In this environment, we need our committed donors to continue, and even strengthen, their current commitments. We also need to consider how our donor base could be extended. Major geopolitical shifts are underway in our world. These could be reflected not only in the multilateral decision-making architecture, but also in the support structures of agencies like UNDP.
With all of your support, I am confident that we will have the resources necessary to meet the development needs of those we serve.
I also appreciate that in these difficult times UNDP must spare no effort to make the best use of the resources available to it. We will continue to pursue efficiencies and make decisions about what to prioritise. Stakeholders must have confidence that all resources are being used appropriately. Accountability and transparency must be our guiding principles.
Our budget must be looked at carefully. To make sure we get this right, to fully address your concerns, and to reflect the results of the on-going cost classification exercise, we are requesting the postponement of the Executive Board’s consideration of the 2010-2011 biennial support budget and mid-term review of the 2008-2011 programming arrangements until the January 2010 session. While delay is not usually desirable, I believe in this instance a better outcome will be achieved if this is agreed.
I am pleased to report that the UN Board of Auditors awarded UNDP with an “unqualified” audit opinion for the financial report for the biennium 2006-2007. It is also worth noting that One World Trust, a UK-based international NGO, ranked UNDP top out of thirty participating organizations on dimensions of organisational accountability.
The first ever Report of the Ethics Office of UNDP has been distributed, and will be discussed at this meeting as part of the segment on internal audit and oversight. We are serious about advancing work in this area, including by maintaining a harassment free environment in UNDP.
The most valuable resource UNDP has is our committed staff. Our new Human Resources Strategy recognises that for staff to be effective, they need to have opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Moving ahead, we will build on efforts to date to achieve a balanced and diverse workforce which reflects UNDP’s commitment to geographical distribution and gender equality.
We will aim to improve inter-regional mobility of staff and their exposure to different types of country offices.
We will also continue to enhance staff capacity at all levels, and make better use of the knowledge we have and continue to accumulate.
I want to thank all UNDP staff for their work in making this organisation the leader that it is. We are fortunate to have very dedicated and committed staff. They provide the very foundation on which our achievements rest.
One of the biggest human resources issues facing us this year is the implementation of contractual reform. Mandated by the General Assembly, contractual reform has significant implications for the way UNDP manages its workforce and for our budget. Unlike the UN Secretariat which is financed through assessed contributions, UNDP must raise its funding from voluntary contributions. The financial implications of this reform will need to be reflected in future budgets.
The safety and security of staff - many of whom work in exceptionally challenging circumstances – remains a top priority in all UNDP operations.
UNDP and other agencies face increased threats and risks, and have tragically lost colleagues in different parts of the world. We must do all we can to protect our staff who are working to build better lives for the men, women and children whom the UN exists to serve.
The Chief Executives Board recently endorsed a comprehensive plan for an improved system-wide security management system. Its main concept is “no programme without security”. This means that security costs must be mainstreamed into all activities, or covered up-front before a programme is initiated.
The CEB also concluded that there can be “no security without resources”. It approved a statement – circulated to Executive Board members - calling on Member States to recognise that appropriate and sustainable funding for security is needed to match the new reality.
A large part of the resources the Executive Board approved for UN Mandated Security Measures for 2008-2009 is being used to move or upgrade UNDP premises in the most vulnerable locations. This need will continue through the next biennium.
I thank all Members of the Board for their support in helping to sustain and guide UNDP.
Much hard work and many challenges lie ahead. But I am confident that working together, and alongside others in the UN family and other stakeholders, we can make a difference for the better and meet our common development goals. The poorest and most vulnerable people in our world deserve nothing less.
I will now hand over to Ad Melkert, the UNDP Associate Administrator. Looking ahead, he will address a number of management challenges in more detail.
Monday, May 25, 2009
1) Steered food and other aid into Zanu PF cadres hands rather than to the needy.
2) Laundered foreign currency (donor and aid) through the corrupt reserve bank, and other selected banks at criminal exchange rates against the now defunct Zimbabwe dollar.
3) Failed to monitor food distribution that actually went to Zanu PF solidarity zealots.
4) Repeatedly used UN funds to sponsor, aid and abet evil, and to finance internal or external activities for Zanu PF solidarity comrades. All the time they knew that such activities were immoral or illegal in international law.
5) Have selected and used known human rights abusers, criminals in the Zimbabwe Police force for UN peacekeeping duties.
6) Their alleged publicly available activity reports and expenditures are either fraudulent, a joke, devoid of fabric, or non-existent.
7) Against the rules of the UN they have refused to be honest and transparent on all of these matters.
8) Been involved in illicit diamond dealing.
9) …. And much more.They are an absolute disgrace to the UN Charter, and to what it purportedly stands for.
For more details on the above Contact: - Agostino Zacarias at email@example.com or in Harare on 00 2634 728-691/3
UNDP admits vehicles registered in its name were used to smuggle diamonds
The United Nations Development Programme has finally admitted that vehicles registered in its name were used to smuggle diamonds from River Ranch Mine near Beitbridge into South Africa but claims that the vehicles were fraudulently registered.
It does not say who fraudulently registered the vehicles -UNDP staff in Harare, River Ranch Mine, or UNDP accredited staff seconded to the miningcompany through African Management Services Company (AMSCO), a company that the UNDP jointly owns with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the African Development Bank.
The revelation could have serious repercussions on the credibility of the Kimberley Process Certification System (KPCS) -a system that was introduced to stem the flow of "blood" and illicit diamonds into the world market- because a KP team that visited the country in 2007 ruled that there was no smuggling from River Ranch.
A Bulawayo-based mining company, Bubye Minerals, has insisted over the past three years that UNDP registered vehicles were used to smuggle diamonds from River Ranch Mine, which it claims it still owns, but the UNDP office in Harare has flatly denied the allegations.
Bubye Minerals is involved in an ownership dispute with River Ranch Limited which took over the mine in 2004. The mine was originally owned by Auridium Zimbabwe - a company that was jointly owned by Australian and Canadian investors- but it went into voluntary liquidation in 1998.
Bubye Minerals took over the mine through a Deed of Compromise in 1999, but was kicked out by Saudi Arabian billionaire, Adel Aujan who Bubye had invited to assist in buying out the foreign shareholders of Auridium. Aujan invited Kupukile Resources, which is owned by former army commander Solomon Mujuru and his business associate Tirivanhu Mudariki, to join him.
The UNDP says that three internal investigations it carried out cleared the organisation of the smuggling allegations. A fourth investigation was carried out by an independent expert, Frank Dutton, a former South African police officer who founded the crack Scorpions unit. Dutton was hired by the UNDP head office in New York in July last year to carry out a six month investigation into the operations of the UNDP office in Harare. He completed his report in January but the UNDP has refused to release the report.
"We do not share investigation reports, regardless of their outcome," it says in a statement
obtained through a Capitol Hill staffer. "This is - among other things - to preserve the due process rights and the reputation of a staff member who may have been accused of wrongdoing. Disclosure of investigators' reports could result in irreparable harm to a person accused, but against whom no subsequent disciplinary action may be warranted".
"UNDP has indeed investigated the accusation of collusion in diamond smuggling in Zimbabwe," it said.
"The allegations were found to be unsubstantiated. On the particular accusation that UNDP vehicles were used to smuggle diamonds, the investigation found that those vehicles were fraudulently registered in the name of UNDP."
Bubye Minerals' lawyer Terrence Hussein said the statement by the UNDP, which has been confirmed by another source, was a vindication of what Bubye Minerals had complained about all along.
"We at no time ever said or complained that the UN as an organisation was involved in diamond smuggling or was involved at the mine. Our complaint had two issues: that UN registered vehicles were being used at the mine and that UN accredited staff members were employed at the mine," he said.
River Ranch entered into an agreement with AMSCO in November 2004 under which AMSCO seconded five managers to the mine including Aujan's personal assistant George Kantsouris who was appointed the company's chief executive officer. The other two known officers were Pradipta Susari who was the chief finance officer and Lloyds Dass who was the chief security officer.
AMSCO has so far refused to disclose the names of the other two officers.
Under the agreement, the officers were supposed to offer technical services to River Ranch with River Ranch paying their salaries and an administration fee to AMSCO. The UNDP provided diplomatic accreditation to the officers.
Bubye's initial complaint was made to the Kimberley Process secretariat in December 2006. The company also lodged complaints with the New York-based World Diamond Council, the World Bank which owns the IFC, the UNDP head office in New York, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe at the time Christopher Dell and then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. None of them investigated the complaints apart from the UNDP office in Harare.
Bubye's complaint was that staff seconded to River Ranch, who had diplomatic status, were using UNDP registered vehicles to smuggle diamonds from River Ranch Diamond Mine to South Africa because they were not subject to search.
Bubye's major concern was that it was being prejudiced because River Ranch was not supposed to sell any diamonds because of the ownership dispute between the two. It therefore wanted the KP to make sure that River Ranch was not selling any diamonds because it would lose revenue.
The company also dragged in the World Bank and the US government because AMSCO, a company owned by the IFC and the UNDP and AfDB was funding a business owned by Solomon Mujuru who is on the US sanctions list.
They also wondered why the UN was funding a business that was owned by a billionaire when AMSCO was supposed to fund small and medium enterprises owned by Africans. AMSCO had already been severely criticised for this, by a British company, DFC, that was hired by the IFC to evaluate its operations way before it entered into the agreement with River Ranch.
"AMSCO's client base included too many companies that appeared to have little or no need for its services," the evaluation report said. "These tended to be larger foreign-affiliated companies capable of finding their own managers and likely to provide training on their own. Too many exhibited a modest interest, if any, in the substantive services AMSCO provided and an overwhelming interest in the financial benefits AMSCO confers, particularly the tax exemptions."
Complaints by the directors of Bubye Minerals, Michael and Adele Farquhar, were never addressed. Instead, the two were arrested and detained for stripping the mine of its assets when a KP review team visited the country in May 2007. They were acquitted of the charges last month.
In its report released nearly six months after its visit, the seven-member KP team said it had not been offered any evidence of smuggling yet Bubye Minerals had written the KP secretariat giving them the evidence five months before the team's visit.
"The River Ranch mine has not exported any diamonds under the Kimberley Process scheme, due to the legal dispute referred to above," the team said. "Diamonds produced at the mine have been checked, weighed and sealed by MMCZ (Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe) and are stockpiled in the River Ranch safes."
On the use of UNDP registered vehicles, the report said: "Following up reports received that vehicles allegedly registered with UNDP Number Plates were involved in smuggling of rough diamonds from the River Ranch operation, members of the review visit team held a meeting with the resident representative of the UNDP, accompanied by officials from the UNDP as well as a representative from the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The UNDP representative informed the team that he believes that the UNDP was caught between the two factions that were locked in a legal dispute over ownership of the mine."
The report said the factual link between the UNDP and the River Ranch operation was that the World Bank and the UNDP had established a company called AMSCO, which provided technical assistance to emerging companies in Africa.
"In this regard, UNDP will also facilitate registration of employee permits for the staff of AMSCO in Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwean authorities. If the employee brings in a car, UNDP will also assist in obtaining Zimbabwean license plates that are issued to employees from international governmental organizations in Zimbabwe. Such license plates are white, with the Number 200, identifying the car as belonging to UNDP, UNDP-employees or organizations under the UNDP.
"Regarding the allegations that a UNDP car could have been used for smuggling purposes, the resident representative stated that their own investigation showed that the number plates referred to in these allegations did not belong to the UNDP but to another fund. The lawyer acting on behalf of Bubye Minerals later denied having said that a UNDP vehicle was ever involved," the report said.
Hussein raised a complaint with the KP secretariat and threatened to sue individual members of the team over this statement saying he had never retracted the allegations since they had been made by his clients and not by him.
Only one of the three AMSCO seconded employees Pradipta Susari was using a UNDP registered vehicle, 200TCE664. This was even confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
There were two other vehicles which had civilian number plates; AAQ9041 and AAQ9042 were registered in the name of the UNDP.
AAQ9041, a Toyota Hilux ranchwagon was supposedly owned by UNDP but kept at River Ranch Mine according to its registration book. AAQ9042 was a Toyota Hilux Surf. It was also registered in the name of the UNDP and kept at Beitbridge.
It is these two vehicles that were allegedly being used to smuggle diamonds to South Africa hence the claim by the UNDP that they were fraudulently registered.
AAQ9041 was reportedly stolen in South Africa on 26 October 2006, but there is wide speculation that it was dumped to destroy evidence of smuggling. South African police have confirmed that the vehicle was reported stolen and their records show that it has not been recovered up to now.
The smuggling allegations are also supported by the findings in the KP review team's report.
It said: "Not without effort, the mine has been brought back into operation although an ownership conflict seems to prevent rapid improvement of the decrepit state in which it finds itself today. Since June 2006 approximately 59 000ct has been produced that has been sealed in tamper resistant containers by MMCZ valuators that estimate the average value at 30 US$/ct."
Bubye Minerals complained that this statement had two contradicting points. One was that the mine was in a "decrepit state" and the other was that only 59 000 carats had been produced.
It said the mine could not be in a decrepit state because AMSCO chief executive officer Ayisi Makatiani had said in a statement in March 2007 that it had managed to turn the mine "into a commercially viable operation". Makatiani also said the mine had been "fully operational since 20 June 2006 and employs some 300 people".
Bubye also disputed the quantity of diamonds that had allegedly been mined arguing that River Ranch itself had pointed out that it was producing about 20 000 carats a month. At the time of the KP review team's visit the mine had been in full production for almost a year.
Another issue was that though Makatiani said the mine had been fully operational since June 2006, Kantsouris had told the state-owned Herald on 28 April 2006 that the mine was negotiating with the MMCZ, the authorised KPCS agent, to sell 22 000 carats of diamonds worth US$1.5 million that it was sitting on.
"In the concentrates currently being held at the mine, we estimate that [there] could be about 22 000 carats of diamonds and we have a capacity to produce at least 60 000 tonnes of ore per month from which we can extract about 20 000 carats worth about US$1.4 million per month," Kantsouris said.
The mine manager, Munashe Shava was quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent on 12 January 2007 as saying that production was 80 000 tonnes of ore per month but the company was planning to double that after settling the ownership dispute.
Bubye Minerals argued that on the figures provided by River Ranch there should have been at least 262 000 carats of diamonds in the River Ranch safes when the KP review team visited and not just 59 000 carats.
"At a gross yield of 59 000 carats, their average grade is 6.14 ct per 100 tonnes. This is sub-economic and no rational company would continue to operate at this level," Bubye argued.
The mine was said to have a capacity to produce 500 000 carats a year when it was opened in 1995. It produced 474 134 carats in its first full year of production in 1996. It produced 39 000 carats in January 1998 alone, a month before it closed.
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The executive Bernd Hagemann, the head of Firstar Europe, a commodities trading company based in Warrington in the United Kingdom, said Mujuru phoned him after the company had blacklisted her, her husband Solomon Mujuru who is Zimbabwe’s former army commander, her daughter Nyasha, Nyasha's husband Pedro Del Campo and their South African agent Dancor Spies.
The Mujurus are on both the United States and the European Union sanctions lists.
Nyasha had tried to sell the company diamonds without a Kimberley Process certificate and said if they accepted, she could give the company generous discounts. The diamonds were allegedly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
Nyasha currently lives in Spain, her husband's home country, but her husband does most of the business in Africa
She had tried to sell the same company 3,700 kg of gold which she said was from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When the company told her that it could not handle “blood” gold, she said she could have the origin changed to another country such as Kenya.
Though he could not remember the exact date Hagemann said Mrs Mujuru had phoned him in late December last year demanding that his company should remove her name and that of her daughter from their blacklist otherwise she would send people to visit his company and "see what happens".
“It was not a long call," Hagemann said. "She didn’t say she would kill me or something like that. But her tone did not sound good at all.”
Nyasha had offered the company 13 two-carat diamonds valued at $381,437.80. The package also included five three-carat diamonds valued at $626,710.40, thirteen four-carat diamonds valued at $3,904,356.20 and twenty five-carat diamonds valued at $10,961,842.20.
Hagemann said the negotiations were done by Felix Eimer who had to use a pseudonym for “security reasons” because when Nyasha contacted the company they knew very little about Zimbabwe. They had only been offered one manifest because they did not deal in diamonds without a Kimberley certificate.
“My understanding was that Nyasha was doing the business but her mother was the financier,” Hagemann said.
Hagemann said the company was now talking about the deal openly because they now had adequate police protection in all the countries where they operated.
Firstar International Group was founded 1986 in Atlanta, Georgia, by Former Governor of Florida, Wayne Mixson, E.Lamar Bailey and Mr.Muhsin Al-Hashimi. Firstar Europe Ltd. was founded in Warrington, United Kingdom, for trading in raw materials. It has offices in Europe, Ecuador, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Dubai.
Mrs Mujuru has reportedly been heavily involved in diamonds and had a claim at Marange’s Chiadzwa which was popularly known as “churu chamai Mujuru” (Mrs Mujuru’s antihill).
Her husband is understood to have had a small stake in the concession when it belonged to Africa Consolidated Resources, though the company which is listed on London’s Alternative Market Index denies this.
Mujuru also has a stake in River Ranch Diamond Mine near Beitbridge. The mine received assistance from a United Nations-owned company, Africa Management Services Company (AMSCO), between 2004 and 2007 and there were allegations that United Nations Development Programme vehicles might have been used to smuggle diamonds from the mine to South Africa.
A special UNDP investigation, former South African head of the crack Scorpions police unit, Frank Dutton, was hired by the UNDP to investigate the allegations from July to December last year.
His report has not yet been released.
See this story for supporting documents
A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) special investigator, Frank Dutton, is coming to Harare this week to investigate allegations that UNDP vehicles were used to smuggle diamonds from River Ranch mine near Beitbridge into South Africa nearly two years ago.
The probe could, however, be much wider judging by the calibre of the investigator. Reports say Dutton might be coming to look at the entire operations of the Harare office. Resident representative Agostinho Zacarias’s job may be on the line.
Dutton, a former South African police officer, has impeccable credentials both in South Africa and abroad. He uncovered the Third Force and hit squads in apartheid South Africa and exposed apartheid’s military destabilisation machinery.
He was head of the investigations unit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and set up South Africa’s crack police unit, the Scorpions, before retiring. He worked for the International Court in The Hague where he headed the investigation unit in Sarajevo and was commander of field operations in Kosovo.
The allegations of UNDP involvement in diamond smuggling from River Ranch were first levelled by Bubye Minerals, a company that also claims rights to the diamond mine which is now owned by Saudi Arabian billionaire Adel Aujan and former commander of the Zimbabwe army Solomon Mujuru.
The UNDP was involved with River Ranch through African Management Services Company (AMSCO), a Johannesburg-based company that it jointly owns with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank.
AMSCO started assisting River Ranch in November 2004 by seconding five senior managers to the mine. It pulled out in July last year after the allegations surfaced in the local and international media.
Bubye claimed that officials seconded by AMSCO were using UNDP vehicles to smuggle diamonds to South Africa because the vehicles and the officers had diplomatic immunity and were not subject to search as they were accredited with the UNDP.
It also queried why United Nations companies were assisting River Ranch since it was owned by one of the persons specified under the United States Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) which prohibited international financial institutions like the IFC from trading with the designated persons and wrote secretary of State Condoleezza Rice complaining about this.
Mujuru, a politburo member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), is specified under the United States sanctions that are implemented by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). His wife, vice-president Joyce Mujuru is also specified.
The UNDP has denied the allegations of smuggling and says three investigations so far carried out have come up with nothing.
A Kimberley Process (KP) Review Team that visited Zimbabwe in May last year cleared the UNDP of the smuggling allegations after meeting Zacarias but it admitted that it had not carried out any investigation but had simply been offered no evidence of smuggling.
The KP report also claimed that Bubye Minerals’ lawyer Terrence Hussein had “denied having said that a UNDP vehicle was ever involved”.
Hussein was incensed because the KP team had refused to interview his clients and other people they had lined up when the team visited the country. He wrote KP chairman Karel Kovanda demanding that the report be corrected to indicate that he had never withdrawn the allegations arguing that only his clients could withdraw them.
Kovanda said Hussein’s letter of protest would be attached to the report but Hussein was forced to take the matter up with the UNDP headquarters in New York in January when River Ranch sued him for US$1 million for defamation after the KP team had cleared the company of smuggling.
He argued that the KP Review Team was not an investigating team and had no power to investigate the UNDP.
“Only the UN can investigate itself and that is what we have requested,” he argued. Hussein also said that none of the so-called “investigations” that had been carried out conformed to the United Nations guidelines endorsed in 2003.
It was only in July that Dutton wrote Hussein advising him that the matter had been referred to the Office of Audit and Investigation and he was handling the case. Dutton seems to have been hired specifically to look into the Zimbabwe case because he is on a six-month contract which expires in December.
UNDP spokespersons in Harare, New York and Johannesburg all said they were not aware of Dutton’s planned visit or the investigation.
UNDP head of communications Cassandra Waldon said: “Accusations that UNDP vehicles were involved in diamond smuggling at River Ranch Mine in Zimbabwe have been addressed by different investigations. Three investigations have come to the same conclusion: no evidence has been found that UNDP vehicles have been used in diamond smuggling.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Maureen Mundea, the communications advisor of the UNDP for Eastern and Southern Africa based in Johannesburg. She said the matter was now closed and “if new evidence were to come to light, UNDP would take appropriate measures”.
Zacarias could not be contacted for comment. Executive Associate, Emily Ndawona said Zacarias was away for the week. “Dr Zacarias is away on mission and will be back next week….. On the issue of an investigation, only Dr Zacarias can shed light on this since we have no information to that effect,” she said.
The Insider has irrefutable evidence that Dutton is coming and will be in the country for five days.