Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Exclusive: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Demands UN Reform – Where Does the President Stand?


September 28, 2009

The Editors

There has long been an effort – many efforts, in fact – to reform the United Nations, but apparently to no avail. There has been pressure to reform the UN Security Council, to reform global governance at the UN, to reform the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Development Program and the UN Relief and Works Agency and much, much more. To date, nothing has been reformed.
Things are so bad at the UN that, back in July, member states were even unable to reach consensus during a session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Comprehensive Convention onInternational Terrorism. On what were they trying to agree? The definition of terrorism and “terrorist acts,” “state terrorism” as a form of terrorism, activities of armed forcesof the state during armed conflict, the title of the convention, and the timing of the conference on terrorism.
We kid you not.
An example of such glaring incompetence is the question of the unresolved issues at the UN Human Rights Council. According to Foreign Policy magazine:
The task of reforming the United Nations Human Rights Council is a daunting one. Since the council was set up in 2006 to replace the discredited U.N. Commission on Human Rights, it has achieved little to cheer about. Human rights pariahs such as China, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, and Saudi Arabia have been easily elected to the council and have so far achieved great success in making sure it doesn't do its real job. Israel gets pummeled time and again, while countries like Zimbabwe, Belarus, and Uzbekistan escape serious attention. Even the situation in Sudan has received only a weak and mostly ineffective response. A newly released Freedom House ‘Report Card on the Human Rights Council’ gives the council a passing grade in only one of 11 criteria.
With this litany of failures, it is understandable when critics claim that the council is unsalvageable and that no amount of resources can fix its inherent problems. But these critics overlook the fundamental reason why it has failed to date. The council's primary weakness is not that the world's most repressive societies manage to get themselves elected and then run roughshod over the council's other members, but rather that the majority of the world's democracies let them do it. There are more democracies than dictatorships in the world today; yet curiously, it is the despots who focus their diplomatic energies on the council.
The United States is perhaps the only democracy with the clout needed to move the council in the right direction. At a time when Freedom House has tracked three straight years of global backsliding in fundamental political rights and civil liberties, it is all the more urgent to try to shore up the world's only global body dedicated to protecting and advancing human rights.
In spite of pinning virtually all hopes on “the only democracy with the clout needed,” experts say that the Obama administration, evidently lacking both courage and backbone, is unlikely to push such despotic countries as those who sully the Human Rights Council by their membership on it for much-needed UN reforms in any area or at any council at the United Nations.
Luckily, there are others in Washington who disagree with the apparent Obama strategy and bravely say so out loud. One such leader is U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who this past week delivered a special address on the Floor of the House calling for sweeping reform at the United Nations.
The statement by Ros-Lehtinen is as follows:
UN agencies have proven time and again to be corrupt, ineffective, biased, and hijacked by enemies of freedom. Yet, the U.S. continues to send billions to the UN – no strings attached.
The UN Human Rights Council, dominated by human rights abusers like China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, recently released a report accusing Israel of ‘war crimes’ and ‘possibly, crimes against humanity’ for defending its citizens against rocket and mortar fire from Islamist militants in Gaza.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) still refuses to vet its staff and aid recipients for ties to violent extremist groups.
The UN Development Program (UNDP) is accused of misusing funds in Zimbabwe,Afghanistan, and North Korea, to name a few.
The list goes on and on. It is time to bring real reform to the troubled United Nations, and to put U.S. taxpayer dollars to work for the American people, and not for the UN, where the inmates run the asylum.
It should be noted that Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 557), which conditions U.S. contributions to the UN on sweeping, meaningful reform of the UN system. This measure has the support of nearly 100 co-sponsors.
Let your Congressional representatives know what you think about such an important topic. We can guarantee they will want to hear from you.
- Brought to you by the editors and research staff of FamilySecurityMatters.org.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Doss Nepotism Scandal, UNDP Denies Whistleblower Status, No Appeal Possible, It Says

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- In another showing of the UN system's weak or non-existent protections for whistleblowers, Inner City Press learned Wednesday that the UN Development Program has ruled against Nicolas Baroncini, whose job was given to the daughter of the UN's top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss after Doss asked for "leeway" so she could be hired.

Baroncini, who was aware of Doss' request for leeway from an e-mail Baroncini opened in the course of his work, was told to leave UNDP. When he asked to speak to his consulate, he says, he was tackled and maced, after which Security Officer Peter Kolonias emerged with bite marks requiring medical attention. There is no doubt, however, that Baroncini was asked to leave after he complained and showed evidence about nepotism. That is retaliation, and makes Baroncini a whistleblower.

UNDP, however, seems to have an insurmountably high definition of whistleblowers. Baroncini was informed that there has only been one whistleblower acknowledged in UNDP in the past two years. When UNDP refused even to follow the findings of the UN's Ethics Office with respect to a whistleblower, then UNDP chief Kemal Dervis argued that UNDP was independent from the UN Ethics system. Dervis set up his own ethics system, and Ban Ki-moon and his spokespeople said that those adversely ruled on could appeal to UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson.

But Baroncini has been informed that there is no appeal of UNDP's ruling that he is not a whistleblower. It seems to give an agency like UNDP an incentive to fire before a person files a formal complaint, and then internally deny whistleblower status to avoid any appeal across the street to the UN Ethics Office.

UNDP's Helen Clark and "her" PM, Key of N Zealand, answers to wider press not shown

It is a system in need of near total reform, and we will follow up on this.

Footnote: While Rebecca Doss remains in place in UNDP's Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, sources speak to Inner City Press about an annual leave, a failure to yet pay, an attempt to find job(s) outside of New York to relieve the pressure, including across the street on the Secretariat. Meanwhile, UNDP's Admininistrator Helen Clark has yet to answer any questions about the scandal, or even to hold any press availability in UN headquarters, despite routinely making herself available to the New Zealand press. Who, some ask, is she working for? Watch this site.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Expose UNDP Corruption !

UNDP's Parking lot for Labour around the world - from Herfkens to Mike Williams


Salute to a 'fairly good bastard'

Labour's ex-President Mike Williams had some of the best lines at the Labour Party conference in Rotorua.

He drove down there on Saturday to receive a gold badge for his service - the second longest serving president after Big Jim Roberts who held the post from 1937 to 1950.

In his brief acceptance speech, Mike said he had a weird feeling driving down from Auckland that something was strangely different.

He finally worked out at about Tirau what it was . "I had written a speech to give to the conference and I haven't got Heather Simpson trying to get it out of me in advance."

That got a big laugh from the audience - in the safety of knowing that Simpson was not in the room. The scary former chief of staff for Helen Clark is now working for her in New York at the UN Development Programme.

Mike also thanked the media -"you gave me a fair go,'' he said simply.

I assume that by that he meant that when he got bad press, he thought he deserved it. He got plenty of good press too, especially in the first two terms, including this profile I did of him in 2004 where he talked about an out-of-body experience in 1977 after almost being electrocuted.

I like the Matt McCarten quote, too, where he said of Williams: "He'll hold your hand while Helen cuts your throat and you don't blame Mike. If you are going to get shafted, you don't feel so bad getting shafted by Mike."

McCarten recalled in his Herald on Sunday column yesterday meeting Williams for the first time: "He was dressed completely in black, seated in the back of a cafe, chain-smoking over black coffee while wheeling and dealing on a cellphone attached to his ear.''

"He really was a working-class party boss right out of central casting. He's always great fun, a consummate story teller and a political spinner from way back. It's an end of an era."

Mike got plenty of bad press over his presidency from 2000 to 2008.

Sometimes he stuffed up, but often it was because he said what he thought when he shouldn't have said it or thought it. Either way, he has always been a popular figure with the media.

Most of the bad press was in the last term - pledge card, paying it back, the Electoral Finance Act, that trip to Melbourne.

Pete Hodgson delivered the tribute to Mike. He said that after last year's loss, Mike was inconsolable and went into a deep funk for months.

I am not surprised. Williams became a scapegoat for Labour's defeat because the trip to Melbourne to search historic records he had been led to believe directly linked John Key to the unlawful H-Fee deals of the 1980s.

It turned out to be a dud lead and it was ill-judged of Williams to have buried himself in such business, especially in the closing weeks of the election.

But the search by someone was justified given that Labour had reason to believe it had a genuine tip-off - as opposed to just trawling for dirt. You would have thought, however, that someone further down the food chain could have been dispatched for the purpose.

The mea culpa exercise being undertaken by Goff is putting some perspective on Williams' role in the defeat. But Phil Goff is trying to distance himself from the failure of 2008 and maybe that is why he confined himself to pinning the gold badge on Mike rather than paying tribute himself.

"We think you are a fairly good bastard,'' Hodgson said in suitably fitting way that Goff could not have.

Much of the good heart that the party finds itself in despite defeat - not to mention three previous election wins - is because of the organizational strength it developed under Williams. Goff has a lot to be grateful for.

In such good heart is the party that it accepted in a very generous spirit in which it was given the offer by the sole Progressive MP Jim Anderton to help Labour with future campaigns. While it is true he has held his own seat since 1984, parties he has led have netted the following number of MPs:

1990 - 1

1993 - 2

1996 - 13

1999 -10

2002 - 2

2005 - 1

2008 - 1

Anderton was interview by Paul Holmes yesterday on Q and A, and David Farrar on Kiwiblog takes issue with some of Anderton's claims of campaigning prowess.

"I probably hold the Guinness Book of Records for representing the largest number of parties in the same electorate, increasing my majorities most of the time. The people of Sydenham have the right to say that and that's what they've been saying,'' Anderton said.

Farrar points out the actual majorities:

1996: 10,039
1999: 9,885
2002: 3,176
2005: 8,548
2008: 4,767

- Audrey Young

Photo: Former Labour Party president Mike Williams. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey

Monday, September 14, 2009

UNDP Zimbabwe report said to be missing

by The Insider

The report on a special investigation of the operations of the Harare office of the United Nations Development Programme carried out last year is alleged to have disappeared.

UNDP Director of Communications Stephane Dujarric, however, brushed off the claim but insisted that the report could not be released to the public.

The UNDP headquarters in New York ordered the special investigation into the operations of the Harare office from July to December last year following allegations that UNDP registered vehicles had been used to smuggle diamonds from River Ranch Mine near Beitbridge.

The investigation is believed to have been much wider focussing on the operations of the UNDP because of the alleged closeness of the resident representative Agostinho Zacarias to ZANU-PF.

The investigation was carried out by Frank Dutton, a former South African police officer. Dutton 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.

Dutton completed his report at the end of January but the UNDP has refused to release it saying it does not share investigation reports, regardless of the outcome.

"We do not share investigation reports, regardless of their outcome," the UNDP said in response to queries fromThe Insider.

"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."

The investigation, however, established that UNDP registered vehicles were used by River Ranch but these vehicles were "fraudulently registered". The UNDP declined to say who had fraudulently registered the vehicles adding that any action that needed to be taken had to be taken by the government of Zimbabwe.

A letter from the then Secretary of Transport, George Mlilo, which The Insider believes was part of the evidence given to Dutton, blamed the error in the registration to two junior officers at the Central Vehicle Registry.

The letter, however, leaves even more questions unanswered. It does not say, for example, how the name of the UNDP came up because it must have appeared in some of the papers for the vehicles for the junior officers to believe that the organisation was the owner of the civilian registered vehicles because they could not just dream this up.

The UNDP was involved at River Ranch through a company called African Management Services Company (AMSCO) which it owns jointly with the International Finance Corporation, the commercial arm of the World Bank.

AMSO is registered in the Netherlands but its operations head office is in Johannesburg. It is supposed to help small to medium sized African companies.

River Ranch is owned by Saudi Arabian billionaire Adel Aujan with former army commander Solomon Mujuru as a junior partner.

The investigation into the operations of the UNDP office in Harare was ordered after complaints from Bubye Minerals, which claims to own River Ranch Mine, that the mine was smuggling diamonds to South Africa using UNDP registered vehicles because there was no way the mine could be operating without selling its product.

River Ranch was barred from selling its diamonds on the open market because of the ownership dispute with Bubye Minerals.

Bubye argued that there was no way the mine, which said it employed more than 300 people and was engaged in various community projects, could survive unless it was smuggling diamonds.

A Kimberley Process Review team that visited the country in May 2007 cleared River Ranch and the UNDP but said in its report, 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 then 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 2008 when River Ranch sued him for US$1 million for defamation.

News about the disappearance of the Dutton report was broken to The Insider when it started probing into what would happen to River Ranch and Murowa diamond mines if Zimbabwe was banned from selling its diamonds as demanded by various human rights organisations.

The civic organisations and representatives of diamond trading organisations have called for Zimbabwe to be banned from selling its diamonds because of its handling of illegal diggers at Chiadzwa in Marange.

Zimbabwe deployed soldiers to clear the area which had been flooded by as many as 40 000 diggers. The soldiers are reported to have indiscriminately killed scores of illegal diggers during the clean-up which was dubbed Operation Hakudzokwe (There is no coming back).

According to a former UNDP employee with connections at the UNDP head office, Dutton's report, which is wanted by several organisations, was nowhere to be found. His "back-to-office" report was also missing.

The back-to-office report is a brief summary of the consultant or investigator's activities and observations. According to the former UNDP employee the back-to-office report "is usually fairly informal and a good place to mention things too controversial or unsubstantiated to put in a formal report".

"BtO (back-to-office) reports are often more informative than official reports," the former employee said.

Contacted for comment about this, Dujarric said: "The assertion that Mr. Dutton's report has disappeared from our offices together with his "back to office" report is completely false."

He did not elaborate.

The alleged disappearance of the report has raised questions as to what is so sensitive in the report that it should not be available even to head office staff.

A UNDP source said it was naïve for The Insider to expect Dujarric to say otherwise. He said even if the report was not available to the public it had to be available on the intranet for staff, but it was not there.

"Dutton's report/s (both with his back-to-office-report) are totally buried and what's most interesting, all parties involved have either been promoted or seconded in other positions away from the 'crime scene'," the source said.

Zacarias has been transferred to South Africa and bade farewell last month.

Though this is a bigger office, the former UNDP employee said he could not say whether this was a promotion or not.

"It is difficult to say if the transfer is a promotion or demotion. Theoretically SA is bigger and is the regional office so it may be a promotion, but internal politics are such that it is difficult to say. Generally in the UN people get promoted out of the way rather than demoted," the former employee said.

This view is supported by UNDP Watch is fighting for accountability within the organisation.

"Our problem is that UN has become a real anti-democratic institution in a sense that you have to have lost an election or be "unpopular" or "under investigation" in your own country to get appointed to a high level UN job," a writer said recently and named several people that fit this criteria who have been given top jobs in the UN.

Zacarias has been in Zimbabwe since 2005 and was at one time accused of being too close to the ruling ZANU-PF.

A member of Britain's House of Lords, Baroness Park of Monmouth, told the house in April last year after Morgan Tsvangirai's parliamentary victory: "Unless the present head of the UNDP is withdrawn, there will not be very much confidence in the UN's role in the future of Zimbabwe. Two successive UNDP leaders have been far too close to Mugabe and indeed, in one case, have taken land from him."

Zacarias took over from Victor da Silva Angelo who was resident representative from 2000 to 2004.

Posted- 12 September 2009

To comment on this story or to send us tip-offs, write to The Insider

Thursday, September 3, 2009

UNICEF's Proliferation-Prone Banker

Claudia Rosett,
09.03.09, 12:01 AM ET

With four sets of sanctions over the past three years, the United Nations is supposed to be leading the charge to stop Iran's drive toward the nuclear bomb. The most recent U.N. move, Security Council Resolution 1803, passed in March 2008, calls upon all U.N. member states "to exercise vigilance over the activities of financial institutions in their territories with all banks domiciled in Iran." This resolution highlights two Iranian state-owned banks as nuclear proliferators: Bank Saderat and Bank Melli.

You might, then, suppose the U.N. itself would steer clear of at least these two banks.

But in the case of Bank Melli, think again. The U.N. Children's Fund, better known as UNICEF, has been keeping an account at Iran's U.N.-flagged Bank Melli, and using that account not only for funds to be spent inside Iran, but to collect money for transfer to U.N. operations in terrorist-controlled Gaza.

Posted on the English-language Web site of UNICEF's Iran office is an invitation to make donations via Bank Melli. UNICEF includes the account number, 5005, and the location, at Bank Melli's Eskan branch in Tehran.

Nearby, on the same UNICEF site, is a link to an appeal by UNICEF's Iran office for donations for relief to Gaza, through the same Bank Melli Account ("key word: Gaza"). Gaza is controlled by a U.S.-designated terrorist group, Hamas. Dedicated to the destruction of Israel and hostile to the U.S., Hamas in recent years has been receiving training, funding and weapons from Iran.

In sum, UNICEF has been offering itself as a conduit for funds between terrorist-sponsoring, U.N.-sanctions-violating Iran and terrorist-controlled Gaza, via a bank that the U.N. itself has specifically flagged as prone to illicit nuclear proliferation activities.

Bank Melli is under sanctions by both the European Union and the U.S. Its name has emerged in U.S. headlines over the past year in connection with a host of alarming activities. These range from Bank Melli's illicit financing of nuclear proliferation, to its services as a banker to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (which is also under U.S. sanctions), to the forfeiture of an office building on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue that, according to U.S. authorities, was controlled by a front for Bank Melli.

Because the U.N. enjoys diplomatic immunity--and is itself exempt from many of the restrictions it would impose on its member states--none of this is to accuse UNICEF of anything illegal. But the choice of Bank Melli for any U.N. activities at all sets a strange example, particularly in light of the U.N.'s specific warning about the bank's involvement in sanctions-busting nuclear proliferation activities.

This choice is also disturbing in view of the U.N.'s extensive record of administrative slop--which has too often exhibited the opposite of "vigilance." U.N. officials themselves ought to know enough to be wary by now of the ways in which the organization's sprawling, erratically overseen and diplomatically immune global system lends itself to fraud and money laundering across borders.

One recent high-profile example was the 1996-2003 Oil-for-Food program in Iraq. In that case, in the name of good works, the U.N.--UNICEF included--ultimately served as both cover and partner for Saddam Hussein in his sanctions-busting network of illicit finance. Another recent case was the Cash-for-Kim scandal, which flared up in 2007 around evidence that the U.N. Development Program in Pyongyang was dispensing funds to the government of North Korea in ways that violated the U.N.'s own rules.

In what might be taken as a cautionary tale, a U.S. Senate subcommittee investigation reported in 2008 that the UNDP in North Korea had transferred funds to North Korean proliferation-related front companies. The same investigation found that North Korea had exploited accounts opened in connection with the UNDP's name to transfer millions of dollars to its embassies abroad for "housing"--though what kind of "housing" has never been publicly clarified (the UNDP has said it was unaware at the time of any wrong-doing).

But even if we assume that all funds flowing through the UNICEF account with Bank Melli have been for purely benevolent aims, the mere use of this bank by a U.N. agency sends a disturbing message. It signals that the U.N. is oddly casual about its own sanctions resolutions. "An arm of the U.N. utilizing Bank Melli should be inconceivable," says one American former national security official.

At UNICEF headquarters in New York, a spokesman says there is nothing untoward about the agency using Bank Melli. He says the Melli account has been in use since 2004, and serves as a collection point for in-country private donations. Throughput in 2008, he said, involved a relative pittance of $30,000, and donations so far this year have totaled $137,460, which includes $18,500 for the Gaza Appeal.

The spokesman adds that funds for UNICEF accumulated in Bank Melli are transferred to another Iranian bank, Bank Tejarat. It is with Bank Tejarat that UNICEF's Iran office keeps three main accounts, which last year received "total inflows from New York" amounting to $3.1 million (about two-thirds of that in euros).

Unlike Bank Melli, Bank Tejarat has not been highlighted in the U.N.'s own sanctions resolutions. But the use of Bank Tejarat is not entirely reassuring. Like Bank Melli, Bank Tejarat is owned by the Iranian government and is under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury. In a 24-page guide put out by Treasury to clarify how to comply with U.S. sanctions, one of the examples explains how a U.S. bank should treat a payment destined, via London, for a branch of Bank Tejarat in Paris. Treasury explains: "This payment must be rejected by the U.S. bank because Bank Tejarat is owned by the Iranian government, and processing the payment would be facilitating trade with Iran."

For the U.N., which routinely operates in countries that are under U.N. sanctions, there is something of a conundrum here. To bring in funds, there is sometimes no other way than to go through institutions that turn up on U.S. or European blacklists. But that is precisely one of the reasons why particular care on the part of the U.N. would be in order.

In this case, vigilance does not seem high among U.N. priorities. Asked about the account earlier this week, one UNICEF spokesperson in New York initially responded by asking where Bank Melli was listed, because "I can't find it on Google."

A more knowledgeable UNICEF spokesman then e-mailed an explanation that Bank Melli had been initially selected for use in 2004 "because with the most local branches in Iran, it was most accessible to private-sector donors including individuals and corporate entities." But that does not explain why, in the 18 months since the U.N. itself passed a binding sanctions resolution flagging Bank Melli as requiring special vigilance, UNICEF continued doing business there. Bank Tejarat, where UNICEF holds its main accounts for Iran, claims on its English-language Web site to be "maintaining 2010 branches throughout the country." In the already questionable matter of fundraising inside Iran, how many thousands of bank branches does UNICEF require?

The UNICEF spokesman in New York further stated that the Gaza Appeal ran only during March. But according to a press release dated Feb. 1, 2009, from the UNICEF office in Iran, the Gaza Appeal was running as of the beginning of February, advertising that "Iran's citizens can now also help UNICEF's efforts" by donating money via Bank Melli. As of Sept. 2, the appeal was still listed on the UNICEF Web site, still soliciting funds via the same Melli account.

Who has been putting funds into this bank Melli account? That list is not publicly available. Who oversees this scene? UNICEF is guided by a 36-member executive board whose current directors include Iran as well as a number of other countries targeted by U.N. sanctions, such as Sudan, Myanmar and Zimbabwe. According to a UNICEF spokesman in New York, monitoring of UNICEF money in Iran is "done by the UNICEF Iran office," which includes a mix of international and Iranian staff, with no transparency about either the full staff list or who handles the accounts.

There are UNICEF auditors based in New York who "travel as necessary to undertake audits." Their findings are released to the public only in generic form, with no detail about UNICEF's Iran office, let alone details of any bank transactions.

So who's really minding this store? UNICEF's American executive director, Ann Veneman, was not available for comment--though a statement from her about the plight of children in Gaza appears on UNICEF's English-language Iran Web site, alongside the invitation to donate via Bank Melli. The U.S. Treasury did not respond to queries about these matters. And the U.N. Secretary-General's office takes effectively no responsibility for activities of U.N. agencies. It also seems there is no systematic arrangement within the organization to help staffers such as those of UNICEF check transactions in order to screen out individuals and entities named in the U.N.'s own sanctions resolutions.

Behind this looms the question of what else the U.N. is doing in Iran, and with which banks. There are currently at least 11 U.N. agencies operating there--or 17, or 18, depending on which U.N. Web site you want to trust. It is a balkanized system, reporting variously to U.N. offices from New York to Geneva to Vienna and beyond; orbiting around a U.N. "resident coordinator" in Tehran, but fraught with inter-agency rivalries. There is no single desk where the buck stops.That is a weakness all too tempting for Iran to exploit.

For many Americans, UNICEF evokes childhood memories of foregoing Halloween candy to collect coins for kids less fortunate. UNICEF today is an aid behemoth with a $3 billion annual budget and global presence. Surely there must be ways for UNICEF and its fellow U.N. agencies to provide treats to impoverished children without offering regimes such as Iran's such a wide-open invitation to play tricks.

Claudia Rosett, a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes a weekly column on foreign affairs for Forbes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Trouble in Paradise for Helen Clark - another scandal inside the UNDP - this time in China

In China, Misuse of UNDP for Chief Malik's Family Foundation, Local Staff Complain

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 1 -- In China, the UN Development Program's resident coordinator Khalid Malik's wife Carter runs a non governmental organization which uses the UN connection to raise funds. According to whistleblowing UNDP national staff in China who have contacted Inner City Press, Malik urges donations to his wife's NGO, and some think they are giving to the UN when they give to his wife's NGO. One example of the (intentional) confusion is contained in a Chinese newspaper article, which Inner City Press is putting online here. It is explained below by Inner City Press' sources in UNDP in China.

The local UNDP staff have complained in many forums about Malik, without any improvements. Their staff evaluations have gotten worse each year, including alleging increases in sexual harassment. It is understood that complaints have been filed with UNDP against Malik personally. Here is an account from inside the UNDP in China:

Subject: Nepotism in UNDP China…..poor leadership, bad global staff survey results for fours years….poor staff perception, Mr. Khalid Malik regime continues…..China is awaiting for him to leaving including the government partners….

Dear Mr. Lee, As UNDP China staff, we are so impressed with your serious of articles of Nepotism, stonewall….and we are shocked to see what happened with the whistleblower in RBAP [the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific], however we are not surprised either, as this sounds familiar….It came to our attention of your mention about China, a country full of spirit and inspiration, however UNDP China office is not as pleasant as the bigger China. Here are some examples: UNDP china has stayed at the bottom of global 140s countries from the past four years under Khalid Malik regime….without any improvements, but to him, everybody else is the cause of the problem, but himself. Most importantly, more than a dozen staff, professionalism staff simply have to leave because of Malik's unprofessionalism, unfairness, selfishness, and abuse of authority……..same thing happen when Malik was the head of UNDP Evaluation office….all those professionals had chosen to leave….

The UNDP China staff people’s question is 'how many years of bad Global Staff Survey results it takes to take a senior person out of UNDP China.' There is serious problem of abuse of authority, lack of accountability in those high level post’….and they can do anything they like, recruit people they like, promote people they like, and punish those who tried very hard to maintain their integrity….and all those senior people can do is to ‘get rid of those people’ who did not agree with them through ‘reprofiling’, or ‘restructuring’ and never realize “Leadership” is the biggest problem, their own bad, unprofessional behaviors, selfishness, have resulted in ‘bad staff perception’ as well as ‘bad government partners perception’ of UNDP China. Khalid Malik and Subinay Nandy, are the root cause of problems.

We would like to draw you kind attention to one Human Resources related case on the recently recruitment of a P5 post for Bureau of Development Policy . As we hear that Ms. Wang Xiaojun, the current UNDP China staff was selected, based on her background, it is serious against UNDP HR policy. Concerns were expressed to RBAP, to audit office, and it is like you described in your article, it is ‘stonewall’. We want to raise our concerns on this matter as Ms. Wang does not qualify for this P5 post:

1.She has been in the team leader of HIV/AIDS starting from Sep 17, 2007, so not even TWO year yet. In addition, she being the Team Leader of HIV/AID and Governance starting from Feb 13, 2008. Because of her promotion to this post, in China office we called it ‘incapable leading capable’, all professional staff including Edmund Seattle decided to leave, because it was an ‘insult’ to him. Because all the professionals had choose to leave, Grace Wang inherited all other people’s credit on HIV and Governance because it is all other people, Edmund seattle, Diana Gao, Edward Wu, Li Jing, (all left) laid the ground work.

2.Staff perception about the HR issue can be found very clearly in the four years of BAD GSS results on transparency, management integrity, honesty, trustfulness, HR recruitment, selection, and promotion process, of all these indicators are very slow for Four FULL years.

3.It is UNDP HR policy and requirement that ONE has to be in his/her current Post for a minimum of 3 Year to apply for the next…. She has been team leader of governance only ONE YEAR and FOUR Months (starting from Feb 13, 2008). This is AGAINST UNDP policy, there is seriously suspect of abuse of authority in the hiring, selection process….

4.Employing such a person without relevant and solid experiences, knowledge, proven competencies as a practitioner in UNDP HQ of BDP the policy bureau is jeopardizing UNDP’s image and reputation (it has to be the right person and qualified person for the right job).

5.UNDP has the policy of rank in post and even with is and the interview, this should be only part of the consideration as proven performance, knowledge, results and competence to fit in the post should also be considered and are critical. This is the most important thing. She has not demonstrated the necessary and proven results, competencies and knowledge for this high level P5 post which is obvious. Reference check should also be made thoroughly not only with the Resident coordinator Mr. Khalid Malik and Country Director Subinay Nandy, but also with the peers of the UNDP China (all the team leaders and the left ones who used to interact with her), Ms. Wang’s previous supervisees Li Jing left the office because he thinks UNDP does not have ‘governance’ in people selection, only those kisses can get up or get the job, and the selection should be made in a transparent and competitive process.

6.One key factor is that UNDP China Resident coordinator will leave (all government partners are waiting for his departure after Six years in China) and favoritism should be avoided for promotion and international assignment for UNDP HQ and in China Country Office. UNDP China HR function is ONLY an implementer of all those action from Khalid Malik and Subinay Nandy, HR transparency has been of complain of staff for many years. UNDP China has poor GSS results for years and HR related issues has lots of problems and issues on performance assessment, recruitment and promotion in terms of fairness and transparency.

Mr. Khalid Malik, Mr. Subinay Nandy, and Mr. Selim Jaham, all from south Asian countries of Pakistan, the other two all from Bangladesh, want to promote their favorite person Ms. Grace Wang Xiaojun, and export their favorism, nepotism, abuse of authority from Khalid Malik China regime to HQ…

Inner City Press is attaching to this article documentation of the staff's assessment of Malik from 2005 to 2008.

Khalid Malik, at the mic, holds check, wife's foundation and staff anger not shown

Here again is a description from UNDP staff in China of

Conflict of interest between Khalid Malik’s wife private foundation Yunnan Mountain Handicraft Center with Khalid Malik’s using of UN, UNDP, private sector funding and other resources to benefit his wife's foundation.

Khalid Malik has had pretty long interests in Tibet and everybody does. However, his behaviors have made staff suspicious of his real motives whether it is to concentrate on development or using this as an excuse to get benefit for himself or his wife and his family using UN’s name and his position in UN.

1.In 2007 UN Day, using UN resources, most likely private sector resources mobilized (Private sector contribution to RC), an UN Day event was organized by inviting Naxi Guyue (a band from Yunnan Lijiang, headed by Yuan Ke) around 50 people to conduct a performance. This is justified of supporting of culture development in Yuannan.

2.However, Khalid Malik’s wife has a personal foundation in Yunnan called Yunnan Mountain Handicraft Center, www.ymhfshangrila.com

3.This is not the first UN Day in years time….people are discussing whether the choice of each UN day is Mr. Malik’s decision or his wife’s, and what is the real purpose Advocate for UN or using UN or UNDP’s resources to benefit his own personal interests, building connection in both tangible and intangible terms.

4.The news clip proves that right after the Naxi Guyue music performance on Oct 25, 2007 in UN compound, the head of Naxi Guyue Mr. Xuan Ke announced publicly to donate rmb 100,000 ($15,000USD) to his wife’s private foundation. The title of the article in Chinese is ‘Mr. Xuan ke donates rmb 100,000 to UN’, but it actually donated to Carter Malik’s private foundation.

5.There are also two evidences that two workshops had been organized in Ms. Malik’s foundation in Yunnan, with multiple government official been invited….The funding of these workshops are very unclear….based on UNDP rules and procedures….and policies, it is very inappropriate to use any public resources including money or intangible resources such as name, brand for personal purposes. We did heard from some government partners who was invited saying that they believed it was an UNDP meeting, however, it ended up in his wife foundation…..

6.The other clips have shown the activities of UNDP project in partnership with All China Federation of Industry and Commerce….in Yunnan….but as time accumulated, (since we did not know from the beginning why he is so much interested in Yunnan)….now become more clear that anything in Yunnan connected with his wife’s interest in Yunnan….and potential connection with government officials, business, and benefits for his family using agency resources including UN, UNDP, private sector funding…..for his potential network for future.

7.Despite Culture is not an UNDP mandate, Khalid still insisted to formulate a UNDP project on culture….and handcraft making….all related to his wife interests…most important of all, all these was used purposely for his application of job in UNWTO….which are very much focusing on tourism…culture….aspect. However, all these things everybody knows in UNDP, China, HQ….however, it is in such a grey area to be used as evidence against Khalik….but it happens all the time.

8.Ms. Malik foundation is recruiting for interns…and there are five of them all working in Mr. Malik’s private promise in UN compound. However, the network is not fast enough with five people working at him home and she requested IT to upgrade their home network. It was done with UNDP XB resources of RMB 6000 ($900). Everyone staff knows that XB china is almost gone….however, this is not the only time that their personal expenses were changed to UNDP XB account….(finance have all the record). This is an integrity issue….all these expenses adding up together may be or may not be very big, however, this is Fraud and Abuse of authority of inappropriate use of UNDP funds…..

UNDP's Office of Audit and Investiations is alreadysupposedly investigating the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific's having given a job to the daughter of the UN's envoy to the Congo Alan Doss, who was until July 1 a UNDP staff member and therefore needed and asked for "leeway" for the hiring of his daughter.

UNDP appears to be stalling the investigation, which involves personnel long acquainted with Doss; UNDP has also declined to provide a press conference by Administrator Helen Clark, and tries to micro-manage who can interview her. At an appearance in UN Headquarters basement by Malik, UNDP rushed him off for other interviews. Otherquestions to UNDP have remained unanswered since August 13. Watch this site.