"....The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability....."
- UN Staff Union
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Former Africa minister Malloch-Brown advises oil firm on African expansion
Just 12 months after resigning from the government, Lord Malloch-Brown, the former Foreign Office minister for Africa, has become an adviser to an oil firm that is expanding its interests on the continent.
Vitol, the Swiss-based oil firm, has previously been fined for paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussain's regime. It recently entered talks to take over oil businesses in 19 African countries.
The disclosure about the talks and that Malloch-Brown, the Labour peer and former UN deputy secretary general, is a consultant to the firm, has raised concerns among Labour MPs over former ministers who have left government and gone into lucrative, private-sector, jobs closely related to their ministerial roles.
Sir Peter Soulsby, a Labour member of the Commons' political and constitutional reform committee, said: "There ought to be much tougher rules on the jobs that ministers take when they leave office. Taking this particular job at the very least shows an unfortunate lack of judgment."
Malloch-Brown, 57, joined Gordon Brown in July 2007 as part of the former prime minister's "government of all the talents". Her was also made a life peer. He stood down from office in July last year, for "personal and family reasons".
His new role has been approved by the advisory committee on business appointments, which advises ex-ministers on jobs taken within two years of leaving office.
Vitol is in negotiations with Shell Oil Products Africa for the potential acquisition of their businesses in several countries, including Egypt, Togo Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia. It already has interests in Ghana and Cameroon.
In 2007, the firm admitted paying illegal kickbacks under the UN oil-for-food programme and agreed to pay $17.5m in restitution and fines.
The oil-for-food scheme was designed to use proceeds from Iraq's sales to buy food, medicine and other humanitarian aid, to alleviate the impact of international sanctions.
In 2006, when Malloch-Brown was chief of staff to the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, he defended the organisation's oil-for-food programme from claims of fraud by telling the security council that "not a penny was lost from the organisation".
Malloch-Brown, who is also a consultant to Southwest Energy, an Ethiopian oil firm, defended his new role and dismissed claims of a potential conflict of interest. "My knowledge of Africa was not gained as a British minister. Rather I was recruited into government because I had worked extensively on African and international issues throughout my career. My activities today continue to reflect that," he said, adding that he had never been in contact with Vitol during his time at the UN, nor had any dealings with the company when he was a minister.
When in government, Malloch-Brown quickly gained a reputation for making colourful comments. The then foreign secretary at the time, David Miliband, who is 11 years his Malloch-Brown's junior, was said to have been upset when he the latter told a newspaper: "It's fine for me to be, for the first time in my life, the older figure, the wise eminence behind the young foreign secretary." He also raised eyebrows when he said that Tony Blair and George W Bush were "joined at the hip".
Other ministers who worked under Gordon Brown and who have taken up private-sector jobs include Lady Vadera, a former business minister who is now advising the authorities in Dubai, and Lord Carter of Barnes, the former head of strategy at No 10, now marketing chief for Alcatel-Lucent telecoms group. Ruth Kelly, the former education secretary, was appointed as senior strategic manager for HSBC. John Hutton, the former energy minister and defence secretary, has become an adviser to Eversheds, the law firm, and is joining the board of the US firm Hyperion Power Generation, which sells nuclear reactors.
Malloch-Brown, who is also a consultant to correctSouthwest Energy, an Ethiopian oil company, defended his new role this week and dismissed any allegations of a potential conflict of interest. "My knowledge of Africa was not gained as a British minister. Rather I was recruited into government because I had worked extensively on African and international issues throughout my career. My activities today continue to reflect that," he said.
He added that he had never been in contact with Vitol during his time at the UN, nor had any dealings with the the company when he was a minister.
"As part of my due diligence prior to starting my consulting appointment, I have discussed the oil-for-food issue and reviewed the steps that have been taken by Vitol to ensure that the necessary lessons have been learnt and the right compliance programme put in place," he said. He declined to say how much he would be paid for the role.
A spokesman for Vitol said the timing of Malloch-Brown's recruitment, and the decision to negotiate to take over parts of Shell's operations in Africa, was a coincidence. "This type of expansion activity is something that Vitol has been looking at for some time."
A statement added that the peer's new consulting agreement began last month and had been properly disclosed on the Lords website. "Lord Malloch-Brown provides consulting services on geo-political issues of importance to the Vitol group, including current and potential future business in Africa," it read.
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U.N. budget is “utterly opaque, untransparent and completely in the shadow” and would benefit from being consolidated and audited from the outside. MMB from NyTimes
JOSE RAMOS HORTA - PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR
‘‘You know how many layers of bureaucracy there are when the European Union wants to help East Timor? Well, they don’t provide the funds to us, the funds allocated are managed by world bank. And the world bank has its own layers of bureaucracy. And they charge for that. The project is then managed by UNDP. But UNDP is only good at doing studies, they don’t execute projects.’‘
Boutros Boutros-Ghali on UN:
"perhaps half of the UN work force does nothing useful"
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Eveline Herfkens belongs to Jail - she should return imemdiately Dutch Taxpayers money.
if anyone else would have done what Eveline Herfkens did, would have long been in jail. We denounce this impunity and demand justice.
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1. UNDP’s partnership with the World Bank needs to be more effective, particularly in fragile and crisis-affected countries. 2. UNDP’s near universal mandate means its technical resources are spread very thinly. The Board does not provide strategic direction. HR management is weak. It has a weak results chain. 3. There is limited evidence of active senior management consideration of cost control. Country evidence points to mixed progress on demonstrating cost-efficiency. 4. The Executive Board is politicised and there is a lack of consensus on the key areas for reform. It is not clear that current plans for change will deliver the required depth and breadth of reform. 5. Evidence gathered at country level was highly critical of UNDP’s ability to deliver results. Its delivery can be undermined by staffing issues and bureaucratic processes. 6. Its performance in fragile states is mixed. It has reasonable training and a range of guidance and analytical tools but struggles to fill posts. 7. There is no evidence that the Climate Strategy was directly guiding resource allocation decisions
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“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
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H.E. Dirk Niebel - German Development Minister
"I take the accusations made in the media concerning corruption and breach of fiduciary duty at the Global Fund very seriously and I am sure that the Fund will clarify the matter without delay. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Global Fund. I have therefore seen to it that a special review will be held. I have frozen all further disbursements to the Fund until matters have been fully clarified, and I will ask a representative of the Fund to come to the BMZ to discuss the matter."
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The U.N. Exposed
How the United Nations Sabotages America's Security and Fails the World (Click in picture to purchase the book)
Share now information about illegal dealings at United Nations
If you are in possession of UNDP or any other United Nations Agency' contracts, correspondence, financial records or databases, which you believe detail wrongdoing such as fraud, mismanagement and abuse of authority, and you have failed to have UN's internal control, oversight and justice systems respond and/or react to your claims, you can send them to UNDP-WATCH and we will make them public keeping your identity anonymous and confidential.
Send an email to: email@example.com
Helen Clark is watching you!
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C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
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Because UNDT is the first level of the UN’s two-tiered justice system, there is a possibility that this decision may be appealed. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will not be “absurd” enough to do so. Click above to go to GAP page.
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And I promise you as well that in future, when it comes to international development, we will want to see hard evidence of the impact your money makes. Not just dense and impenetrable budget lines but clear evidence of real effect
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT UNITED NATIONS
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Question: He recommends strongly that UNDP pays 14 months back pay to the whistleblower. Does the Secretary-General stand behind that recommendation? Should UNDP in fact pay that money, or are they free to rebuff that recommendation? Spokesperson: We will see what is going to happen. The Secretary-General of course is behind Mr. Benson on his report. There is no doubt about it. What UNDP will do, we will be seeing this; how they will implement that report.
UNDP Watch is a grouping of United Nations Staff committed to openness. We believe that everyone has the right to access information held by United Nations.
Despite a stated commitment to openness, UNDP remain a highly secretive agency.
Although a wealth of information is available on some UNDP websites, its Executive Board operate behind closed doors, much important programme and administrative information is never made available and, as a rule, information that is disclosed is provided only after relevant decisions have effectively been taken.
While UNDP has adopted “internal policies” on information disclosure, they in fact operate on precisely the opposite presumption. For the most part, they list which documents will be disclosed and when, and there is a presumption against the disclosure of all the other information they hold. They do not establish right of access, the lists of documents subject to disclosure is limited, they do not set out clear and narrow grounds for refusing access and they do not provide for independent oversight mechanisms to ensure proper implementation of the policy.
The UNDP WATCH is calling for the complete overhaul of these policies.
"...We believe that without accountability, there is impunity. We ask that you (Secretary General) not be complicit in cover-up of what happened prior to 11 Dec attack. The staff is sick and tired of the impunity extended by the office of the Secretary-General to senior managers for their failings especially in situations where it has led to death and disability."