Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ban Ki-moon's Anti-Staff Legacy Reviewed, ICP Publishes Leaked Audit of Pensions

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on Exclusives
UNITED NATIONS, December 11 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in late August awarded the top UN job in Kenya to his own son in law, Siddharth Chatterjee, and did not recuse himself.
UN irregularities under Ban have extended to the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, a confidential UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of which Inner City Press exclusively published in full text, here,and embedded below. 
Now Ban's relations with UN staff, beyond not paying them their benefits, is summarized in this issued today by the Staff Union Ban tried to break:
Ban Ki-moon's Legacy to Staff
Refused to meet with the elected President of the Staff Union, flouting the Staff Rules and General Assembly resolutions — the first Secretary-General to ever to do so;
Fired the First Vice-President of the Staff Union, a permanent contract-holder, and did so after his officials advised that this would be unlawful (the United Nations Dispute Tribunal eventually issued a searing indictment; see judgment UNDT/2016/181);
Stripped away the Staff’s ability to engage in any meaningful way on matters of interest to their welfare and working conditions by unilaterally removing the consensus rule from the Staff-Management Committee rules of procedure — which he himself had promulgated;
Attempted to bust the Staff Union by interfering in the internal affairs of the Union and declaring a “dispute”, and persisted with that determination after unanimous affirmations by the Union’s organs that this was not the case, including a resolution adopted by the Staff;
Voluntarily cut the budget of the Organization, at a time of ever-increasing mandates, and then asked the Staff to do more with less, while the budget of his Office grew to be by far the largest of any of his predecessors;
Pushed through a “mobility” scheme and flawed staff-selection system, without the requisite consultation with the Staff and their representatives, despite the enormous potential impact on the welfare of the Staff;
Imposed a “flexible workspace” arrangement, again without proper consultation with the Staff and their representatives, that will cause major disruption to workflow and negatively impact the efficiency of many
Openly and publicly denigrated the Staff as “selfish”; [ICP scoop, before Ban ousted, evicted and now restricts it]
Ignored calls from the Staff Union that the declaration by his senior officials not to engage with the Staff’s legal representatives was creating chaos among the Staff, and looked the other way as his managers selectively “consulted” with their chosen members of the Staff and then called that proper consultation;
Attempted an eleventh-hour self-rehabilitation by hijacking Staff Day, which has always been a Staff Union-organized event, as an effort to manipulate public opinion and paper over his otherwise disastrous attitude and actions towards his Staff."
 The audit show that Ban Ki-moon has failed, unresponsive even to UN staff, leaving them unresponded to even four years after death. The audit states among other things that 
"The first action to mitigate the accumulation of outstanding cases, which was the establishment of a task force, was initiated in February 20 I 6, which was six months after the blackouts had caused the accumulation of cases. The delay in taking mitigating actions in turn contributed to delays in processing / payment of benefits to beneficiaries."
"There was no provision for callers to leave voice mails if their calls were not answered. This very low level of response to telephone calls was contrary to the UNJSPF Quality Management Policy which stated that the Fund should respond immediately to telephone calls during working hours."
"OIOS review of the relevant email folder of Client Services on 24 August 2016 showed that the last 'high priority' email responded to by Client Services was dated 22 June 2016 (i.e., two months since receipt)."
Note: this is similar to Ban Ki-moon's top two spokespeople, who did not even confirm receipt Inner City Press' November 25 questions including about use of funds and restrictions on media; the deputy spokesman later used the December 8 noon briefing to justify, while still not answering.
This too: "On 6 June 2016, another iSeek announcement reported that the Fund Secretariat had cleared 97 per cent of the backlog of 3,436 cases, leaving only 95 cases (3 per cent) to be processed/paid in June 2016. However, OlOS review indicated that 1,368 of these 3,436 cases were yet to be processed/paid as of 31 May 2016."
Then again, OIOS has yet to act on detailed conflict of interest complaints filed in February 2013 and reiterated in November, involving not only Ban but also his head of Communications Cristina Gallach, already named in an OIOS audit, here, in Paragraphs 37-40 and 20b.  Access to Ban will be sold for $1200 on December 16 - is this appropriate?
Ban's service is even worse in Africa, to staff as to such crises as Burundi and South Sudan. From the UNJSPF audit:
"OIOS selected the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) for further analysis of long outstanding cases... OIOS review of ten longest outstanding cases, which had not yet been paid after one year or more, showed that in five cases, the former staff members had died in service. These cases should have been given the highest priority, but the surviving beneficiaries had not been paid for more than 4.5 years since the staff members' death."
  Ban Ki-moon has failed; while he now leaves, so should Gallach. And the UNJSPF must be reigned in. We'll have more on this.

After Inner City Press asked about the textbook case of nepotism of Ban promoting his own son in law, video here, Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric replied that an inter-agency advisory panel had been involved, before Ban signed the letter appointing his own son in law to the post. But then Dujarric refused to say who was on this panel; he told Inner City Press to "ask UNDP," which in term told Inner City Press to ask something called the "DOCO" which doesn't have a spokesperson. 
Dujarric didn't answer any of Inner City Press' questions submitted on Friday September 2 at noon, then deferred another on Burundi until September 6. Meanwhile Ban's son in law Chatterjee's response is to block Inner City Press on Twitter, photo here. 
There are more and more irregularities in Ban Ki-moon's UN system - staff say, a fish rots from the head - and among staff this is circulating:

Ms. Jaana Sareva is the chief of the legal office of the Pension Fund in New York. Her spouse lives in Geneva, also working for the United Nations.
How she covers those miles between New York and Geneva? Here you are:
She travels near ten times a year from New York to Geneva, creating unnecessary trips and fabricating bureaucratic unreal reasons;
She is often sick (both uncertified and certified), for adding more days to her trips. She uses the maximum available, abusing the benefits of the United Nations. She gives us a negative example of how a public servant should be;
She is not in office normally, extending her trips and absences. None of us know where she is during office hours;
She stays there with her husband in Geneva (in his house), but at the same time she has DSA in her pocket for comfort, and enjoying life in Europe from where she is;
This expensive game costs more than $50,000 a year;
It has been happening since several years ago, with total impunity;
The CEO of our Pension Fund, Mr. Arvizu, authorizes the travel expenses, which ultimate are paid by all the participants and retirees of the Pension Fund. In the meantime, the Pension Fund is not able to deliver pensions in time and is facing the deepest and biggest crisis of management since creation, even considering the enormous budget that we have.
This is Ban's UN - here's more of Inner City Press' coverage of the Pension Fund.
  As to Siddharth Chatterjee's promotion signed by his father in law, now other sources tell Inner City Press it's worse - between the inter agency panel and Ban, the ultimate conflicted decision maker, there is for countries like Kenya (where the UN has a regional headquarters) a role for Ban's Department of Political Affairs, for which Dujarric also purportedly speaks.
  Inner City Press on September 4 reiterated its September 2 unanswered questions, and two more, to Dujarric, who said he will effort to answer them... on September 6.
Meanwhile, an ally of Ban's son in law Chatterjee, Dalvir Singh, has called this series of articles, despite Ban's spokesman's stonewalling and refusal to answer, unfair -- "scurrilous, unfounded and mendacious accusations" by a "blogger."
This is Team Ban's response to questions and stories about the John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng case, DPI Gallach's failure to do due diligence, all leading to ouster and eviction. 
 Turns out Chatterjee, to get previous stories buried, has offered goodies only his father in law can dole out - we'll have more on this.
  So Inner City Press has asked Dujarric who was on this panel, to assess if they were independent from Ban, and who the other candidates, at least on the short list, were. 
 Dujarric has refused to provide this information, and has refused all other Inner City Press questions about Ban's son in law, including about his activities in Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. 
Dujarric has refused to answer; on September 2, he did not even acknowledge receipt of Inner City Press' questions, including about Ban's meeting with Sri Lankan President Sirisena.
   As Ban's spokesman knows, Ban was in Sri Lanka; the story can't wait. So today Inner City Press reports that it has been told of Siddarth Chatterjee posing with dead and disfigured Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; this has been described as a war crime.
   Inner City Press twice this week asked Dujarric to describe and comment on Ban Ki-moon's son in law's activities in Sri Lanka; it is all the more pressing given the most recent UN promotion without recusal. Inner City Press also asked what forms and rules apply, a question also ignored by Dujarric with respect to a fundraiser held in the UN with Ban's past envoy to Sri Lanka, Vijay Nambiar. Inner City Press asked Dujarric to comment in this context on this, authored by Ban's son in law Sid Chatterjee: no answers.
   And so in common journalistic practice, to assist reader in deciding whether to believe or not believe these reports of Chatterjee posing with dead and disfigured combatants in violation of the Geneva Conventions, we disclose that one of the sources clearly has an interest: Chatterjee's ex-wife Shirpa Sen. 
She is a medical doctor; she has said Chatterjee threatened her to stop providing any information to Inner City Press and an Indian journalist whose publication Chatterjee managed to get to remove a report about one of his promotions under Ban from the Internet. (Censorship seems to run in the family.)
The allegation is that Chatterjee dropped her and then saw his career path advance under his new father in law, Ban Ki-moon; he made threats to make the issues of the past go away.
   We disclose this because readers have a right to know of the interest or animus of the source of information. Here is another online report; here on a court website is the decision on the divorce appeal. And here is an earlier report of Inner City Press asking Ban's spokespeople about Chatterjee's military record, in Sri Lanka Ban's 2009 visit to which Inner City Press covered in-person (Inner City Press has since been BANned, restricted.)
  A direct comment of any kind from Ban Ki-moon's spokesman, requested all week, would have been preferable. 
 But Ban and his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach should not be able to censor by throwing the Press into the street, New York Times here, audio here
Likewise Ban's spokesman cannot be allowed to prevent a timely article by simply refusing to even acknowledge questions submitted in writing, especially after he began the week telling Inner City Press (and the Free UN Coalition for Access which asked for in-person briefings) that he would be answering questions all week. 
Ban Ki-moon's Spokesman did not answer these questions, nor on September 2 even acknowledge receipt of them. Whatever comes in, belatedly, we will publish.
Update: late on September 2, from UNDP to which Ban's spokesman Dujarric referred questions then refused to answer any, came this - not naming the panel or other candidates, but immediately published in full: 
From: Anjali Kwatra [at]
Date: Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 9:36 PM
Subject: RE: Press Qs on Resident Coordinator selection process for SG's son in law in Kenya: who on inter-agency advisory panel, who were the candidates, given nepotism issues raised by lack of recusal, referred by OSSG, thank you in advance, -Matthew
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Dear Matthew,

Siddharth Chatterjee was chosen, in line with established selection process, by the Inter-Agency Advisory Panel of the United Nations. Mr Chatterjee is highly qualified for this role and was previously the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative to Kenya. He has also worked in senior roles with the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UN Peace Keeping, UNICEF and UNOPS.

I would need to come back to you on your other questions.

Anjali Kwatra
Chief, Media and Advocacy
United Nations Development Programme

Wait - was Siddharth Chatterhee ever with UN Peacekeeping? Inner City Press asked: "Thanks for this, but as I asked UN Spox this week, and UNDP earlier today, this is a request, given that the SG signed the letter appointing his son in law Mr. Chatterjee UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, for the disclosure of

who was on the inter-agency advisory panel

and who the other candidates, at least on the short list, were

also - please state when and in what capacity Mr. Chatterjee was, as you say, in a senior role in UN Peace Keeping."

This gave rise to this curt answer: "All your questions need to be directed to DOCO. "

So Ban's Dujarric referred the questions about Ban's son in law to UNDP, which refers then on to DOCO. When one Googles DOCO, one gets "DOCO The Donut & Coffee Company."

Amid these 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, now Sri Lanka, China and Laos. 
For Ban Ki-moon's visit to Sri Lanka, which is seen as one of the (many) major failures of his UN tenure, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, "On the SG's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee, please describe in activities in Sri Lanka including with the IPKF -- locations, and if available confirmed kills -- including in light of this piece he authored."
Ban Ki-moon's Dujarric replied, six hours later: "It's not for me to comment on a staff member's writings on an activity that preceded employment with the UN."
This seems a strange position for an Organization ostensibly concerned with human rights. Could Shavendra Silva work for the UN? Well, he WAS an adviser to Ban. 
In fact, some UN officials are required to sign pledges regarding their human rights records. So on September 2 at noon, Inner City Press asked Dujarric:
"On the Secretary General's son in law Siddharth Chatterjee's activities in Sri Lanka, you have not answered on what he DID, stating only that “It's not for me to comment on a staff members writings on an activity that preceded employment with the UN.”

In this light, please confirm or deny that there is a place a policy under which UN officials including USGs and ASGs (please specify what level the Secretary General's son in law is at, as Resident Coordinator in Kenya) must certify compliance with human rights, and state whether this covers time before UN employment." Inner City Press has also asked Dujarric:
"This is a request that your Office confirm or deny that the Secretary General did not specifically mention the UNHRC resolution during his meeting with Sri Lanka President Sirisena, in light of a public report that “The President told us that Ban did not mention the UNHRC resolution even in the 10 minute one-to-one meeting he had with him. In fact Ban expressed satisfaction about the way the Sri Lankan government is handling the issue of reconciliation,” a reliable source in the President’s Office" said.
Five hours later, no answer. This is Ban Ki-moon's UN.