By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- Amid UN scandals, corruption and nepotism, Ban Ki-moon is now on a two week tour seemingly meant to preview how he could be as South Korean president, visiting Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, China and Laos.
This comes days after Ban's spokesman admitted to Inner City Press in New York that Ban signed the letter appointing his own son-in-law Siddharth Chatterjee to the top UN job in Kenya. Film here.
In Singapore on August 30, collecting as if compulsively another honorary degree at the National University of Singapore, Ban said, “Professor Mahbubani and I crossed paths on many issues 15 years ago, when he was Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and I was chief of staff of the South Korean Presidency of the General Assembly.”
Not named was this “Presidency” - Han Seung-soo. Now has Ban given a UN envoy job to his mentor and previous boss Han, for whom he was chief of staff in the Office of the President of the General Assembly in 2001-2, but has allowed Han to be on the boards of directors of UN bank Standard Chartered (see a UN contract here) and South Korea's Doosan, in the UN Procurement database and selling equipment to countries Han give “UN” speeches to.
On August 29 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman, who has cancelled in-person noon briefings for the week, among other things to "Please state whether the Secretary General asked Han Seung-soo, given his at least two board memberships, to make public financial disclosure."
Dujarric replied, "He is under the same rules as other envoys." So he doesn't have to make public financial disclosure, and under Ban the UN Ethics Office has decided to stop disclosing on a public list which officials are refusing to make public financial disclosure.
Similarly, Ban on August 30 said, “Yemen is in flames,” without in the speech disclosing, much less addressing, that this year he took the Saudi-led coalition off the UN's Children and Armed Conflict annex for money.
The previous day in Singapore Ban said in his “Ho Rih Hwa Lecture, established in the name of the esteemed businessman” that “the situation on the Korean Peninsula is a further challenge. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to take very worrying actions, including missile tests... I stand ready to contribute in any way that might be helpful.”
Ban wants to get Kim Jon-un to let him visit North Korea, thinking it will help his run for South Korean presidency in 2017, despite the UN scandals of corruption, ineptitude and censorship during his time. We'll have more on this.
In advance of Ban's latest junket, he or his propaganda team granted selected interviews to prepare the ground -- “interview” conducted in writing, without disclosure of who wrote the answers. Pro-Ban editorials by out of date diplomats were arranged (for example here, see comments). But how can blatant nepotism be explained away?
Inner City Press on August 26 asked Ban's spokesman which of Ban's aides it was who spun the Korea Times on Ban's chances to become South Korea's president in 2017, video here.
While Ban's Office of the Spokesperson took daily questions at noon during Ban's six-day sojourn in South Korea in May, for this trip his spokesman will not be holding briefings (he has already, on Burundi at least, proved unwilling to answer Press questions in writing). As set out below, this is Ban's censorship.
We will be covering Ban's trip - watch this site.
Under Ban the UN has become so lawless that Ban's son-in-law Siddharth Chatterjee was just named UN Resident Representative in Kenya without Ban recusing himself. Inner City Press reported and asked about this on August 25. On August 26, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed that Ban had not recused himself, had in fact signed the letter giving his own son in law the job, see below.
It was repeatedly reported that Ban would be in Kenya today for the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development Summit, TICADIV or TICAD6. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Dujarric if Ban would go there and was told to wait with bated anticipation. Now Ban is NOT there - right after his promotion of his own son in law there was exposed.
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 was not the question. After Inner City Press highlighted this, Ban's spokesman Dujarric returned on August 26 with a "supplemental" statement, which still confirmed that Ban had not recused himself, had in fact signed the approval of his own son in law for the promotion. Video here. From the UN Transcript; spin war begun here.
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.