Friday, August 14, 2009

In UN Bite-Gate, UNDP's Toothless Investigation of Nepotism and Irregularities in Asia and Africa, Attempts to Moot Out Scandal

UNITED NATIONS, August 13 -- With the UN hoping to put behind it the nepotism and biting scandal brought to light by UN Congo envoy Alan Doss' email to the UN Development Program asking for "leeway" in hiring his daughter Rebecca being published by Inner City Press, spokesperson Marie Okabe on August 12 replied that "all queries should be addressed to the New York County District Attorney’s office." Video here.

But from within UNDP, sources tell Inner City Press of a multi part strategy to try to moot out the scandal. UNDP's investigation, they say, involves one Francois Dubois and long-time associates of Alan Doss. Beyond and reflecting what they call this conflict of interest, they say that the supposed investigation has become an attempt to justify, post facto, the violation of the spirit and letter of UNDP and UN rules by focusing on leave time that Alan Doss had accumulated.

Despite Doss himself having told Inner City Press in writing that he tranferred from UNDP to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on July 1, 2009, after his daughter was short listed for and offered the UNDP job, an attempt is afoot to claim that before his July 1 "arrival" at DPKO, Doss was already not at UNDP at least technically. Doss may have asked in an unseemly way for "leeway," the theory goes, but he didn't need it.

As first reported by Inner City Press, on April 20, 2009 Alan Doss wrote to UNDP's deputy director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific:

"Dear Ligia,

This is just to inform that I have advised UNDP in writing that I will transfer to DPKO effective 1 July 2009. I have also spoken to Martin and advised him that I cannot transfer before that date because the new DPKO contractual arrangements only come into effect on the 1 July. He informed me that the ‘deadline’ for the ALD contracts is 15 May so the period of overlap would only be 6 weeks (assuming Rebecca’s ALD would come into force on the 14th May at the latest). I have asked for some flexibility, which would allow a very long serving and faithful UNDP staff member a little lee-way before he rides off into the sunset.

Becky is very excited about the prospect of going to work for you so I hope that it will work out. With my warm regards and thanks,


Alan Doss
Special Representative of the Secretary-General United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"

Beyond the open request for the bending or breaking of rules, for a UN official as high placed as Alan Doss to write in this way about giving a job to his daughter is inappropriate. Many in the UN express amazement that there have as of yet been no repurcussions.

On August 13, Inner City Press directly asked UNDP's spokesman Stephane Dujarric -- as well as Messrs. Doss and Dubois, and Adminstrator Helen Clark's chief of staff -- to respond to what these UNDP sources are saying, and to confirm or deny Dubois' role in the investigation as well as the matters below. Ignoring the pointed questions, Dujarric twice repeated boilerplate that the investigation is serious, and that Ms. Clark routinely speaks with the press.

Why then has she still not done a press conference after 100 days in office, while UNDP reaches out to particular reporters they think will give her uncritical coverage?

The UNDP sources, disgusted by what they call a cover up, assert that UNDP seeks to moot out the controversy by moving Rebecca Doss from the contested position in New York within the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific to a job in Copenhagen. The sources say that the vacancy announcement for this post, like the one the Dosses took a P-2 position, has mysteriously been taken offline by UNDP, to be used to "solve the problem." Relatedly, to quell the other side of the controversy, some point to a just withdrawn vacancy announcement for a post within the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS States in Bratislava. "This is how things are done in the UN," a source tells Inner City Press. "Especially at UNDP where there is additional dirt not yet revealed."

UNDP's Clark and UN's Ban, nepotism and scandal(s) not shown

While each Regional Bureau within UNDP has skeletons in its closet, RBAP has covered and covered up programs in totalitarian countries like Myanmar and North Korea, and war crime sites like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In Myanmar, for example, sources describe to Inner City Press how UNDP paid inflated prices to the government of General Than Shwe for telephones and license plates, "essentially propping up the regime," the sources say. Inner City Press has asked UNDP directly, how much has it paid in Myanmar for phones and license plates; UNDP's answer will be reported when provided.

In Bangladesh, where UNDP has said it would help set up and advise on an inquiry into actions by Pakistan in the early 1970s, such efforts have reportedly slowed since Helen Clark took the top job earlier this year. She met with representatives of Pakistan, and now progress in setting up the inquiry into alleged Pakistani war crimes has become less clear. Inner City Press has asked UNDP and Ms. Clark's chief of staff to respond to UNDP sources statement that "Ms. Clark met with Pakistan representative(s) and UNDP's commitment to assisting in the investigating possible Pakistani war crimes has since changed." The response, if and when received, will be published on this site.

Perhaps most explosively, RBEP oversaw the closing and now reopening of UNDP's program in North Korea. Sources say that under the name of programs on the books of UNDP in China, actions in North Korea continued even during a supposed lull. One Napoleon Navarro was shifted from covering North Korea to becoming one of four UNDP deputies in China. The UNDP's top man in China, Khalid Malik, is reportedly seeking to shift to the top post at the UN World Tourism Organization based in Spain. Local UNDP staff in China have been complaining about Malik's reign in Beijing.

Regarding Alan Doss himself, questions have arisen about his attempted use of UN Volunteers posts for relatives while he was in Liberia, and about the use of UN Mission resources while in the Congo. At the Augst 12 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe to clarify whether the Congo, including its capital Kinshasa, is or is not a "family post" for UN purposes. Twenty eight hours later, no answer has arrived. Watch this site.

Inner City Press asked UNDP:

"please confirm that investigation involved Francois Dubois, and that he is an acquaintance and more of Mr. Alan Doss. I am cc-ing both gentlemen. Also, I'm told a move is afoot to recalculate / use Mr. Doss' leave time as a solution to the irregularity that has surfaced. On Bangladesh, I am asking about the status of UNDP's previous projection that it would help set up a war crimes inquiry. To help you respond, I have been told by a UNDP source that Ms. Clark met with Pakistan representative(s) and UNDP's commitment to assisting in the investigating possible Pakistani war crimes has since changed. Please comment on this [and] confirm or deny: Rebecca Doss is being considered for a job in Copenhagen.. please state UNDP's jurisdiction over the acts of Alan Doss, no longer with UNDP, and whether his acts are being investigated by UNDP and could be acted on by UNDP."

UNDP's spokesman, for the second time refusing to confirm or deny this and other matters, responded with boiler plate:

"Regarding questions about Miss Doss and the investigation, I can tell you that the allegations suggesting irregularities in the recruitment procedures are serious and are being fully investigated by UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigations, in conjunction with OIOS. The matter is being given top priority. On Bangladesh, I will revert. On Miss Clark’s appearance, she speaks to journalists regularly and looks forward to engaging with journalists in the UN press corps. On Myanmar, I’m trying to see what can be found."

We're still waiting. Watch this site.

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