Tuesday, August 11, 2009

U.N.D.P. Biting Incident Sparks Probe Of Daughter's Hire

The New York Times

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former U.N. employee charged with biting a security officer rejected a plea deal on Monday saying he wanted to go to trial instead so he could expose nepotism at the United Nations.

Nicola Baroncini, 35, is charged with third-degree assault in the June 22 incident. His lawyer told a New York judge he would not plead guilty to a lesser charge of harassment.

"I want the case to go to trial so I can have my say and show how people are hired at the U.N.," Baroncini told Reuters later, adding that it was "blatant nepotism."

Baroncini is accused of biting a U.N. security officer who tried to escort him out of an office where he had gone to complain about being passed over for a position in favour of the daughter of a high-level U.N. official.

The Italian says he was defending himself from three U.N. guards who used pepper spray on him and beat him.

Baroncini said he had been complaining about nepotism involving Alan Doss, a U.N. under-secretary-general and special envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He said he was showing another U.N. official an e-mail from Doss in which he used his influence to smooth the employment of his daughter.

U.N. Development Program spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the hiring of Doss' daughter was being investigated.

Doss was a long-time UNDP employee but has been on loan to the department of peacekeeping, a separate U.N. division, since 2001. He was transferred out of the UNDP to the peacekeeping department on July 1, the day his daughter, Rebecca, took up her new post as a special assistant at UNDP.

Baroncini, who worked at UNDP and had access to his boss' e-mails, saw one from Doss referring to Rebecca's application to work at that agency, which does not normally employ members of the same family.

"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," Doss wrote in the e-mail, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Doss said he had no comment pending the UNDP review.

(Editing by Patrick Worsnip and Doina Chiacu)

No comments: