"....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
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Deepening Mysteries of U.N. Financial Disclosure
When the new U.S. Congress convenes in January, there may be revived interest in oversight of a runaway United Nations. The U.N. system is fueled by billions every year in U.S. tax dollars, but has been operating these past two years without such speed bumps as even the occasional congressional oversight hearing into those busy back corridors of the U.N., in which the U.S. administration places so much trust, and through which so much money flows.
Many areas want looking into. These range from assorted fiascos of U.N. peacekeeping and sanctions regimes, to such questions as who’s actually benefiting from U.S. money given to the U.N. (now more than $6 billion per year) and from the credibility that U.S. support lends to the institution (priceless).
But a common theme running through all of this is the U.N.’s continuing failure to provide transparency and accountability. On that score, there’s a certain sorry entertainment value — as well as serious questions — to be found in browsing the U.N.’s current version of financial disclosure, as practiced by senior U.N. officials. This system was supposed to be one of the important reforms brought in by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as he tried during his final stretch in office, in 2006, to wipe the sludge of Oil-for-Food from his Brioni suits.
When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in office, in 2007, he promised that his “first priority” at the U.N. would be to “restore trust.” He advertised that as part of this effort, he would follow through on Annan’s pledges of disclosure of personal finances by senior U.N. officials. That was a great idea, the urgent need for it underscored that same year by the indictment in New York’s Southern District of the former head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, Benon Sevan, on charges of bribery and conspiracy to defraud the U.N. relief program he had run (Sevan, who left the U.S. and has not returned to face the charges, has denied any wrong-doing); and the conviction in New York federal court of a former head of the U.N. General Assembly’s budget oversight committee, Vladimir Kuznetsov. He was found guilty in 2007 of conspiring to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of kickbacks on U.N. procurement deals, while serving as the highest-ranking Russian official at the U.N.
But the “reform” that Annan bequeathed, and Ban has run with, is a system in which what is mainly disclosed by U.N. management is that almost nothing is disclosed (yes, you read that right). Top U.N. officials are supposed to render up information in-house about their finances. This is done in ways so confidential that even the U.N.’s Ethics Office, which administers the program, is not privy to the details. Senior staffers are then allowed to choose for themselves whether any information at all about their finances will be released to the public. This has resulted in some officials, such as Annan’s former chief of staff, Iqbal Riza (who has lingered at the U.N. in New York as a “special adviser” to Ban Ki-Moon) filing a public disclosure form in which he does nothing more than check a box, confirming that he has chosen “to maintain the confidentiality of the information disclosed by me.”
Some of the more forthcoming officials do choose to disclose slightly more than merely a refusal to disclose. Even then, it’s done in a format so abbreviated and generic that it provides almost no information. The U.N.’s entire public disclosure form runs to a single page, with no actual dollar amounts listed. Ban himself, for instance, filled out a form for 2009 which says his assets consist of an apartment and two lots of land in South Korea. What are these worth? There’s no clue.
Under the heading of “Ethical Standards,” such farcical “disclosures,” from dozens of senior U.N. officials worldwide, are posted on Ban Ki-moon’s official U.N. web site. Until now, I thought the Riza-style approach of utterly non-disclosing disclosure took the cake.
But in revisiting the site recently, I came across an entry that is in some ways even more tantalizing. That would be the form filed for 2009 by the director-general of the U.N. Office at Geneva, Sergei Ordzhonikidze. A former Soviet and then Russian diplomat, Ordzhonikidze was appointed in 2002 by Kofi Annan to head the U.N.’s palatial spread in Geneva, where last year alone he managed a budget of $227 million. (The U.N. Office at Geneva is home to the lavishly maintained Human Rights Council, among other U.N exotica).
Ordzhonikidze accounts directly to the U.N. Secretary-General, and serves as Ban’s representative in Geneva. When Ban Ki-moon’s web pages began featuring the “disclosure” forms, Ordzhonikidze for 2007 and 2008 was among the U.N. officials willing to list his assets. But he said they consisted solely of “Bank Savings accounts.” He listed nothing else. How much was in those savings accounts? Where in the world were they held? That’s a level of detail which UN public “disclosure” doesn’t bother with.
But here’s the intriguing bit. For the most recent filing, for 2009, Ordzhonikidze’s assets have apparently changed. He no longer lists even “Bank Savings accounts.” Under assets, he lists “Nil.” Likewise, under the other five categories, he also lists “Nil.” Apparently, he has gone from having assets that consisted solely of savings accounts to having no assets at all — or at least nothing worth more than $10,000, which is the minimum bar for disclosure. No house, no substantial possessions, no profits from the sale of personal property, no assets whatsoever. For that matter, no liabilities, either. No nothin’, just “Nil, Nil, Nil, Nil, Nil, Nil.”
What’s going on? After years of service pulling in a U.N. salary well into six-figures and loaded with perks, while running a U.N. complex that features a nine-figure budget and peacocks on the manicured lawns, has the director-general of the U.N. Office at Geneva been somehow abruptly left with no finances of his own to report? (Queried by email about this, a spokesperson for the U.N. in Geneva said Ordzhonikidze was traveling and could not be reached in time for this article.)
Or has Ban’s promise of U.N. transparency devolved to where he and his top team members, under the label of ”public disclosure,” routinely disclose either next-to-nothing or “Nil”? If U.S. law makers are ready to try again, can they get the candor the U.N. has repeatedly promised and failed to deliver? It would be worth finding out.
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
This is what pro-poor means at United Nations
Click on the above image for the story.
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)
There was an error in this gadget
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!!
UNDP's Free Speech Concept
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."