By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, August 25 -- Under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the UN has become so lawless that his UN in Geneva has decided to lease a plot of land with a historical building on it for $20 million for 99 years. But it seems there has been no procurement process so it is not clear that the UN and its member states are getting the best price.
The land would go to a private foundation that has pledged to build a music complex next to the UN. Sounds good? The foundation doesn't appear to have a website. The foundation itself is fronted by a lawyer rather than an expert on music. It is also not clear why this outfit has been exempted from a transparent request for offers process.
Last year, Group of 77 warned Ban against divesting UN land as that land belongs to member states. It seems the request was ignored by Ban. Anything goes.
As Inner City Press reported on August 25, Ban's son-in-law Siddharth Chatterjee was just named UN Resident Representative in Kenya without Ban recusing himself.
How is this acceptable in an international organization? Or this: Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo is a UN official allowed to be on the boards of directors of Standard Chartered, which has UN banking contracts, and Doosan which makes sales to countries Han gives “UN” speeches to.
On August 25, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban had recused himself from any role in his son-in-law's promotion, video here.
From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: Mr. Chatterjee was named the UN representative in Kenya. So I wanted to know, what’s the process for the naming of a resident representative? And given this he’s the son-in-law of the Secretary-General, was there any recusal made? I’m not saying he’s not qualified. I’m not saying he’s not a long-time official. I’m just wondering what is the process…[inaudible]… for someone being named…
Spokesman: The regular process was used. The fact that he is, indeed, the son-in-law of the Secretary-General, I think, does not take away anything from his very strong service over the years…
Inner City Press: I’m asking about the process.
Spokesman: Thank you.
Dujarric's only response is that Chatterjee is qualified. That's not the question. Nor have the questions about Han Seung-soo, who refuses Ban's supposed call for public financial disclosure, been answered.
Instead, Inner City Press which has asked about each of Chatterjee's promotions though the UN system under Ban (for example to and from UNOPS including censorship by the son in law, like Ban) and in the past ten months about Ban's and his head of communications Cristina Gallach's links with the John Ashe / Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal, was ousted from the UN in February 2016 (audio here) and had its investigative files evicted onto First Avenue in April (video here). NYT here.
Since then Inner City Press has been BANned from covering UN events on the second floor unless it has a minder which stays with it all the time; sometime Inner City Press is told there are not enough minders, and coverage is entirely prohibited. This is censorship under Ban Ki-moon.
The UN has been asked why it evicted Inner City Press by, among others, the Government Accountability Project, the UN Special Rapporteurs of Freedom of Expression and on Human Rights Defenders(to whom Gallach provided a false statement two months later about an altercation that never occurred), the SFRC (the UN's response quotes Dujarric) and by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta (to whom Gallach falsely claimed that Inner City Press is not not being restricted), and in this petition to Ban.
But the censorship continues.
Gallach's DPI is giving Inner City Press' long time shared office to an Egypt state media, Akhbar Al Yom, whose UN representative Sanaa Youssef rarely comes to the UN, and never asks questions - Dujarric refused to confirm this obvious fact, saying he "does not take attendance" -- but who is a former president of the Ban-friendly UN Correspondents Association.
Inner City Press put the question of recusal to Ban's spokesman Dujarric entirely civilly, without (there) calling into question Chatterjee's qualification or history (including in Sri Lanka, to which Ban Ki-moon is ironically headed for a visit). Watch this site.