"....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, September 2, 2010
UN Tribunal Awards Compensation to Long-Suffering UNDP Whistleblower
Yesterday, United Nations Dispute Tribunal Judge Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens issued a judgment in the long pending case of Artjon Shkurtaj, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) whistleblower who made much publicized disclosures regarding UNDP wrongdoing at its North Korean office. The judge ordered Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to award Shkurtaj fourteen months’ net base salary as compensation for the failure of the ad hocExternal Independent Investigative Review Panel (EIIRP) – appointed by UNDP to investigate the case – to allow Shkurtaj to comment on adverse findings contained in its publicly released report.
According to the decision:
Even if the EIIRP did not identify the applicant as the subject of its investigation, its report contained significant adverse findings about his credibility, trustworthiness and integrity. The Tribunal finds that not only was the applicant not given an opportunity to respond to these adverse findings, he was not even made aware of the EIIRP’s concerns regarding his credibility at any point prior to the issuance of the report. The Tribunal is persuaded by the applicant’s argument that the report of the EIIRP contained adverse findings against him and that, in the particular circumstances of this case, he should have been made aware of them prior to the issuance of the report and provided with the opportunity to comment on them and provide his explanations. Therefore, the Ethics Office’s finding that there was a violation of the applicant’s procedural right to be made aware of—and to have the opportunity to respond to—the adverse findings concerning his credibility and trustworthiness was reasonable and justified. This is particularly so considering the report was made public, following which there was no further process made available to the applicant to contest these findings. This failure resulted in a violation of the applicant’s due process rights, damaged his career prospects and professional reputation, and caused him emotional distress, for all of which he should be compensated. (para. 47)
The Judge also ordered the respondent to pay an additional $5,000 as compensation for its inordinate delay in considering the UN Ethics Office’s June 2008 decision in Shkurtaj’s case. According to Judge Ebrahim-Carstens, “to date, i.e. in over two years, UNDP has not made a decision on the Ethics Office’s recommendation to compensate the applicant as stated in its report dated 27 June 2008.”Again, according to the ruling:
The referral of the report to the Ethics Office for recommendations was part of UNDP’s effort to carry out a fair and objective fact-finding exercise and this referral was meant to be meaningful, particularly considering the history of this case. The undertaking by UNDP was to share EIIRP’s findings with the Director of the Ethics Office, who ‘could then provide an opinion and formulate recommendations, as may be appropriate, on the retaliation allegations in light of these findings’. This meant that, having submitted to the process, UNDP was required to give serious and timeous consideration to the Ethics Office’s comments and recommendations, make a decision on them and provide this decision, along with the reasons, to the applicant. There is no evidence before me that UNDP afforded such timeous and serious consideration to the Ethics Office’s recommendation. (para. 48)
For Shkurtaj, the past four years have been an ordeal of retaliation, harassment and defamation. Tuesday’s ruling represents a remarkable advance toward justice for UN whistleblowers. Because of this decision, management in the United Nations system are on notice that staff members’ rights can no longer be violated without consequences.
At the same time, however, GAP remains concerned about the way in which Shkurtaj’s retaliation claims were handled. The Judge dismissed his claim that the organization failed to enforce its ethics policy and protect him from retaliation.
The court’s decision begs the question: Why did the highest levels of UNDP management subject a staff member to such draconian measures, including a.) rescinding his appointment and terminating him; b.) directing the UN Department of Safety and Security to include his photo in an array of pictures used to bar threatening individuals from UN grounds and facilities; c.) launching an unprecedented ad hocinvestigation that defamed him; d.) ignoring all of the whistleblower protection procedures contained in Secretary-General bulletins 2005/21 and 2007/11, as well as UNDP’s own whistleblower protection policy issued in the fall of 2007; and e.) refusing to enforce the Ethics Office’s 2008 decision? These extreme actions have not been adequately explained. As Shkurtaj once told The Washington Post, “If I would not have spoken out, would any of this have ever happened?”
In arriving at her conclusion, the Judge stated that UNDP was
“required to act fairly towards the applicant, which meant that UNDP had to examine the concerns and allegations raised by the applicant, albeit not necessarily through the Ethics Office. The question, therefore, is whether the applicant’s allegation that he had been retaliated against was adequately and objectively reviewed… I see no reason warranting a conclusion that the report of the EIIRP and the subsequent review by the Ethics Office were anything but thorough and objective.”(para. 43, 45)
GAP, which has periodically advised Shkurtaj throughout his ordeal, strongly disagrees with the Judge’s analysis of the EIIRP review. The conduct of the EIIRP demonstrated a lack of expertise in whistleblower cases and of the impartiality needed to investigate retaliation disclosures properly. For example, the panel demonstrated its ignorance of the relevant standard of proof in a whistleblower case. UNDP failed to establish that its action rescinding Shkurtaj’s appointment as Operations Manager of its North Korea office, after he reported wrongdoing, was not retaliatory. Under the UNDP whistleblower protection policy, once Shkurtaj had been designated a whistleblower and made a prima facie case of retaliation, UNDP had to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that it did not retaliate. But UNDP presented no substantive evidence at all, other than the statement of the officer responsible for the withdrawal of Shkurtaj’s appointment. In short, at this point in the proceedings, Shkurtaj did not have to prove that the withdrawal of the appointment was retaliatory. UNDP had to prove that it was not. Any objective review would reach this conclusion.
Similarly, the panel, which was selected by then UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis and included a member of a UNDP advisory board, lacked the impartiality needed to investigate retaliation disclosures properly. In the words of GAP International Program Director Bea Edwards, “If you are the defendant you can't be the judge and jury.”
It should be noted that Mr. Shkurtaj’s disclosures and his cooperation with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, NY Southern District Attorney’s office and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations resulted in the U.S. government gaining important intelligence on the DPRK’s manipulation of UNDP. The Subcommittee’s investigative reportconcluded that
“the DPRK government used its relationship with the United Nations to execute deceptive financial transactions by moving $2.72 million of its own funds from Pyongyang to DPRK diplomatic missions abroad through a bank account intended to be used solely for UNDP activities and by referencing UNDPin the wire transfer documents.” The Subcommittee also “obtained evidence that UNDP transferred approximately $50,000 of UN funds to an entity called Zang Lok Trading Co. that a US State Department official later identified as having ‘ties to a North Korean entity that has been designated [by the US government] as the main North Korean financial agent for sales of conventional arms, ballistic missiles and goods related to the assembly and manufacture of such weapons.’” (p. 1)
According to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,
“the facts presented in this Report might not have come to light absent the actions of a UNDP official, Artjon Shkurtaj, who repeatedly raised concerns about UNDP practices in North Korea. Rather than supporting Mr. Shkurtaj, UNDP declined to renew his employment contract. When he filed a complaint alleging retaliation, UNDP declined to submit voluntarily to an Ethics Office review, later referring the matter to an ad hoc review team. While the UN Secretary-General recently announced a new effort to strengthen whistleblower protections across the United Nations, that effort is in the early stages and has been the subject of somecriticism. UN personnel should be able to blow the whistle on waste, fraud, or abuse without fear of retribution. Both Congress and the US State Department should continue to press for the implementation of strong whistleblower protections at the UNDP and throughout the United Nations.” (p. 5)
637 UNDP Staffers are Millionaires, and another 1041 UNDP staffers have enough salary (income) to justify million dollar homes in New York (or tri-state area NY/NJ/CT).
UN/UNDP's budgets are untransparent !
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"
Can Helen Clark be trusted on Climate Change ?
President Obama's answer to Helen Clark's appeal for US to do more on climate change was : "I think the American people right now have been so focused, and will continue to be focused, on our economy and jobs and growth that ... if the message is somehow, we're going to ignore jobs and growth simply to address climate change, I don't think anybody's gonna go for that," he said. "I won't go for that."
In 2011 Rami Makhlouf - a trusted development partner of UNDP in Syria
In 2008 U.S. Treasury designation: Rami Makhluf Designated for Benefiting from Syrian Corruption (Click on photo to see US Treasury page)
"Screwed" How Foreign Countries Are Ripping America Off
A full chapter (7) dedicated to UNDP and UN Secretariat. But it today at Amazon.com (click above picture)
Asma al-Assad is UNDP's champion of reform in Syria
UNDP's special relations with dictators and terror is well documented. Yet, they continue to operate covered by UN Immunity. Click on immage for story.
Aicha Gaddafi You are Fired !
UNDP continues to be in bed with other dictators. Will clean it one at a time.
Where is NETAID money David Morrison?
UNDP Transparency Censored
UNDP's moto is: - eliminate the uncomfortable, frighten those who disagree, "educate" the perplexed..
UNDP Chief Finance Officer
The UNDP is a secretive organization and so far has kept in the dark every information related to its Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Assistant Administrator, Mr. Darshak Shah. Click on the picture for more on Finance Office of UNDP.
UNDP Belarus - best breast corner
Should tax-payers dollars be used to photograph beautiful breasts - even when making a valid point?
Uncle Helen turning UNDP into a cove of corrupt NZ labour politicians
CLICK ON PICTURE TO SEE Chris Carter's latest Credit Card scandal - can he work at UNDP after that? It seems YES he is full tested!!
Helen Clark says: "No more cars"
Thinking about buying a new car this year? Why, you evil Westerner! You don’t need that. You are demanding your new car off the sweat, toil, and exploitation of the world’s poorest people in developing countries.
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.
Andrew Mitchell - says Helen Clark is up to no good!
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
Mark Malloch Brown outraged over Aicha Gaddafi
“I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” ...“I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”
Travel Palestine - Rediscover Your Senses
Get ready to a sensual feast of ...sounds...scents of The Land of حماس Ḥamās Documentary sponsored by UNDP Funds (click on picture for video)
Helen Clark on UNDP's own corruption (Can she be trusted?)
“When funds intended for life-saving treatment and prevention are stolen, that theft is tantamount to murder.” CLICK ON PICTURE FOR MORE
Scandal in Rwanda with Human Development Report
Aurelien Agbenonci, UNDP's RR in Kigali accuses Khalid Malik of making up data without UNDP Rwanda's knowledge. Rwanda Government is unhappy !!!
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."
US Amb. Joseph Torsella blows the whistle on UN budgets
U.N. Secretariat’s proposed $5.2 “regular” budget for 2012-2013, was “simply loosening our belt a little less than we originally planned.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen Clark is watching you!
Gaddafi aint got nothing on UNDP - Click on the picture for more!
Malakia: A Turk advises Greece on Economy
Kemal Dervis (Turkish) and George Papandreou (Greek) share many late-night phone calls together (Click on picture to read story)
Where does Ban stand on Libya?
C'est vraiment ce que tu veux pour ta carriere?
United Nations Dispute Tribunal finds Ethics Office decisions Appealable
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.
Andrew Mitchell Demands Transparency from United Nations
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
Ban Ki Moon supports Ethics Decision on UNDP North Korea
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."