Wednesday, December 28, 2016

On Myanmar, UN Denies Ban Ki-moon's Bro Ki-ho's With Bosung, Silent on Media Access

By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, December 23 -- Myanmar was the quiet topic of the UN Security Council on the evening of November 17, between meetings on South Sudan and Syria chemical weapons.
 Inner City Press was informed that while the US requested the closed door briefing, the US agreed as a condition that there would be no outcome to the meeting. 
The briefer was Vijay Nambiar, Ban Ki-moon's envoy on Myanmar as he was, disasterously, on Sri Lanka. And sources tell Inner City Press that amid the burning of Rohingyas' homes and rapes and killings in Rakhine State, Nambiar advised the Council to go easy on Myanmar and give them time. This is is disgusting, all around.  The UN has refused to provide a summary of what Nambiar said. 
On December 23, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who has bragged he will stay on, about Myanmar. UN Transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I wanted to ask, on Myanmar, which continues to be reports of killing in Rakhine State and the border closed.  The Myanmar News Agency, the state agency of the Government has said, headline:  “Journalists impressed with extensive media access in Rakhine State.”

And I wanted to know, there as an announcement that some media were taken there and others were banned from going.  But I wanted to know, what is the UN’s understanding of media access to the… to Rakhine State and other conflict zones in Myanmar?

Spokesman:  I don’t have any details of what exactly, we’re not monitoring the media access.  Obviously, we remain very concerned by the situation in Rakhine State.  We do note that there’s been some improved humanitarian access following the discussions between the Government and the UN team.  Some health clinics were reopened.  And we’re following, obviously, focused on the humanitarian access, but as I said, I don’t have any independent confirmation of the kind of media access that there is…

Question:  I wanted to ask you some kind of, I guess, close-out questions.  One had to do with… I know I’ve asked you this before, but the Secretary-General’s brother, Ban Ki-ho.  I put it in writing and in this room just factual questions, whether, in fact, he remains doing business in the country through Bosung Powertec.  And I’m wondering, since having sent them to you, some of the links went offline, have you been able in these months or will you be able, before his term ends…

Spokesman:  My understanding is that his brother no longer works for this company.  I don’t have any other details.
   Isn't Ban Ki-ho still with Bosung Powertec? Ban Ki-moon doesn't know? We'll have more on this.
On December 9, Inner City PRess asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, Tweeted video hereUN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I was reading Mr. Nambiar's statement yesterday, I've word-searched it, but maybe it's somehow in there between the lines.  I didn't see the word "Rohingya," which seems to be one of the main issues.  Like, basically, the Government says… the Government or the army says don't use that word; it's inflammatory, and the people themselves call themselves Rohingya, and people all over the world say that's what this con… tension is about.  Was it an intentional decision to go with the kind of the army route, or does he, in fact, use… that's why I asked previously, when he briefed the Council, did he use that word?  Is it a word that he doesn't use?  And if so, why not?

Deputy Spokesman:  No, he has used this word in the past, and the Secretary-General, if you… if you see the Secretary-General's own statements, has used the word "Rohingya."  In fact, I've said it just now. 
On December 1, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: on Myanmar, I'm sure you've seen the… the opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal by José Ramos-Horta, former UN employee, saying the Secretary-General should go… go to Myanmar and… before his term expires in order to prevent this ethnic cleansing or genocide.  So I wanted to know, what's your response to that… to that recommendation?  And also whether the Secretary-General or anyone in the UN has spoken to Bangladesh about reports that the fact the border is entirely sealed and those trying to flee the army's violence cannot cross it?

Spokesman:  I do not believe anybody at the Secretary-General's Office has spoken to the Bangladeshi authorities.  I do believe there has been some contacts from the various funds and programmes and at other levels on the issue regarding the border.  I don't think it's realistic to expect the Secretary-General will be able to go to Myanmar before the end of his term.  That is not to say that he is extremely worried about the current situation and, I think, as expressed by his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide or the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

ICP Question:  How about his… his… his good offices' envoy?  Is there some… I guess I want to request again… just because the accounts that I heard of what Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar said to the Council was basically give Aung-… give the country time, which some interpreted as basically a hands-off policy…

Spokesman:  I don't think… I don't think… I think it is… the authorities in the country need to live up to their responsibilities, and we need to make sure that happens.  I don't think anyone here is taking a hands-off policy.
Ban Ki-moon can be hands-on:
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 even recuse himself.
  On September 27, Inner City Press directly asked Chatterjee about it, on Periscope. here. Vine here. Chatterjee hardly answered the long-standing questions; nor did Ban's spokesman. Neither set up the requested interview. 
Likewise, Inner City Press' requests for a copy of Ban Ki-moon's October 14, 2016 speech to the Council on Korean Americans, for which $100,000 sponsorships were sought, and its questions about a UN Ethics Office opinion on that and on Ban's mentor Han Seung-soo being a UN official and on the boards of directors of Standard Chartered Bank and South Korea's Doosan have gone unanswered, even as reiterated at the November 4 UN noon briefing. Video here.
On September 24, Inner City Press put these conflict of interest questions to Han Seung-soo, who left after the briefest of answers, here. 
Ban's brother Ban Ki-ho is involved with KD Power in mining projects in Myanmar's eastern Shan State, see below -- and in greenwashing "renewal energy" projects in Myanmar, here, consonant with Ban and his spokesman's silence on Morocco using corporate wind power projects to greenwash a land- (and map-) grab of Western Sahara for COP 22, here.
On November 17, Inner City Press again asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson, this time the deputy, Video here, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: my second question on Myanmar was, it’s now eight days ago that… when Stéphane [Dujarric] asked, I sent him links, including to a Myanmar Government website, about Ban Ki-moon’s brother through KD Power, engaged in mining in the country, and with Bosung Powertec, engaged in a tour with a visiting UN delegation.  So I’m just wondering, this… the South Korean mission also asked me for the same links, and I gave them to them.  I’m not sure in what capacity they asked for them, but it seems like… what is the answer on the brother of the Secretary-General engaged in financial activity in Myanmar as part of a UN visiting delegation?  Have you determined what was his role in what the Government says is a UN delegation?
Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:  I haven’t any information about him participating in any UN work.   
 Why not?
  On November 9, Inner City Press since Ban's spokesman had refused to answer asked again, then provided the UN links and to the South Korean Mission to the UN at their request. From the November 9 transcript: 
Inner City Press: I'd asked about the brother of the Secretary-General, and two articles, both of which remain online… they have not been taken down, one of which says that he's involved in magnesium mining in Myanmar, and the other one links him by name to a UN delegation which toured Myanmar.  So you said you can't verify it.  And I wanted to know, is that can't or won't?  Because it seems like if there's an article describing a UN delegation touring for financial reasons a controversial conflict zone, it should be able to be… are you willing to at least look into what the delegation may have been and whether…

Spokesman:  You know, send me the article.  I haven't seen the article.  And, again, please try not to get the… my double chin with your periscope.  It's very annoying.

Inner City Press:  Okay.  Maybe we can lower the podium....
After the briefing Inner City Press sent Dujarric and others this, of which Dujarric in the hallway confirmed receipt:

Hello. I am sending three links regarding Ban Ki-moon's brother Ki-ho (through Bosung and KD Power) doing mining in Myanmar and touring with a UN delegation. 

"Memorandum of Understanding with KD Power of South Korea, which is managed by Mr. Ban Ki-Ho, brother of UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, for the exploration of Magnesium as well as cooperation in power sector in the eastern Shan State of Myanmar.  "

2) " Bosung Power Technology Co., a power supply material manufacturer where Ban’s younger brother Ki-ho is a vice president" 


"Bo Sung Powertec Co., Ltd, BUYANG INDUSTRIAL Co., Ltd, Germany Recycle Engineering Co., Ltd and visiting delegations from the United Nations"

Who was on the UN delegation?

Was any UN Ethics office opinion sought for Ban Ki-ho's role in a UN delegation in a war-torn country in which he does / gets business? 

Why / how is this appropriate?

Also for Ban's brother's business engagement in the UAE with Han Seung-soo, UN official who gives speeches in that capacity in the UAE while being on the board of Doosan, which also does business there.

On CAR / Bambari, here is one of the articles I asked about :

Inner City Press is still requesting a copy of the Secretary General's Oct 14 speech to the Council of Korean American (for which they sought $100,000 sponsorships), his Saudi water speech, and list of carbon off-sets bought that he cited in his SIPA speech.

There is more to ask; never received any response to the below.
  Later, Inner City Press received this from the South Korean mission to the UN:
"Korean mission... I'm writing to ask your help. At the UN noon briefing you mentioned Mr. Ban ki ho had tour with UN delegayions and there is a published article about Mr. Ban's tour with UN delegation. Could you please send the article or provide the link you mentioned?"
  Inner City Press provided the links and more - but again wonders what is the relation between South Korea's Mission to the UN and Ban Ki-moon, now that he wants to run for President of South Korea. 
On November 28 Ban's spokesman said, without any proof, that he understands Ban Ki-ho no longer works for KD Power. But when Inner City Press asked when was the last time Ban Ki-moon spoke with his brother Ki-ho, Spokesman Dujarric said glibly that he has no clue, and hasn't returned with any answer.

Might the game have been to have the South Korean mission make the contact for Ban? We'll have more on this.
Back on November 7, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric not only about Western Sahara - even as it was again threatened for this - but also about Ban's brother, video here
Inner City Press: I’d asked you last week about the Ethics Office, and you’d said there were too many connections in terms of Han Seung-soo and Ban Ki-ho, but I have one specific question.  I see you waiting, so I’m going to…

Spokesman:  Go ahead.

ICP Question:  Okay.  And the question is as follows:  There’s a published article, whose link I can provide you, which says that Ban Ki-ho’s… the company Bosung is involved in magnesium mining in Eastern Shan State in Myanmar, which is a highly controversial human rights state.  And the article states that Bosung went on a tour with, quote, a visiting delegation of the United Nations.  So I think… you may or may not say this is a legitimate question, but if the brother of the Secretary-General is on a business delegation in Myanmar that’s described by a publication there as being with a delegation of the United Nations, I’d like to ask you, who was on that delegation?

Spokesman:  I have… this is the first I’ve heard of it.  I have absolutely no way to verify the information you’ve shared. 
  Okay there: Ban's brother Ki-ho is vice president of electric equipment firm Bosung (a/k/a Bo Sung), which has been on Myanmar tours with (unnamed) UN officials. See (and translate) this government web page, here:
"Industry, Republic of Korea Minister U Maung Myint Bo Sung Powertec Co., Ltd, BUYANG INDUSTRIAL Co., Ltd, Germany Recycle Engineering Co., Ltd and visiting delegations from the United Nations"
Ban's former chief of staff and vanity press book editor Vijay Nambiar is Ban's envoy on Myanmar. Did he go on this trip? 
In terms of mining, see this: "Bright Time has signed an Memorandum of Understanding with KD Power of South Korea, which is managed by Mr. Ban Ki-Ho, brother of UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, for the exploration of Magnesium as well as cooperation in power sector in the eastern Shan State of Myanmar."
 Is the UN's Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee aware of this mining project in east Shan State, with the brother of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon? Is the UN Ethics Office?

As noted, Ban's brother Ban Ki-ho is VP of a Korean electric equipment company, Bosung.  The CEO of Bosung, Lim Jae-Hwang, is a former executive with Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).   Bosung Power Technology supplies its products primarily to KEPCO, which recently signed a deal with the UAE to build a nuclear plant.  
Doosan is providing the nuclear reactor. Ban's friend and mentor Han Seung-soo, whom Ban appointed to a senior UN position (which conveys diplomatic immunity) is on the board of directors of Doosan and has engaged closely with UAE on issues of Korean trade promotion and business.  Han has most recently served on the jury of the UAE Energy Prize.  Meanwhile, Ban's other brother Ban ki-sang served as an advisor to Keangnam, which developed properties in UAE for South Korean expatriates and businesses.
We'll have more on this.
On October 3, Inner City Press which since May 2015 asked about Ban's nephew's use of Ban's name in real estate deals, prior to Ban's eviction of Inner City Press, now asked about the nephew's fraud conviction,below. 
On October 6, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Farhan Haq again about Ban's nephew's fraud conviction, and a surreal email Ban sent to UN staff about... fraud. Many staff called it hypocrisy.Beyond the Vine video here, second half.  From the UN transcript: 
Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about an email that the Secretary-General sent, I think, to all staff about fraud yesterday.  It was a blast e-mail, a UNHQ (United Nations Headquarters) broadcast.  And it was sort of instructed staff to… that fraud is a serious matter.  There's something called the 2017 Leadership Dialogue.  And I guess, what triggered the e-mail.  In having read it and published it, it's not clear.  Is this something that's being newly announced?  Why was this anti-fraud e-mail sent yesterday?
Deputy Spokesman:  There are a number of internal e-mails that go out from time to time.  This is simply another one of those, and it's on a topic that the Secretary-General feels is important.
ICP Question:  And I guess… because I'd asked you this before, and I keep… I go… you had said that… to somehow to ask Colliers if the individual who's listed in the newspaper as the nephew of the Secretary-General as working for them at the time that the fraud that he was just convicted of occurred.  But I'm asking you… I want to, I guess, just reiterate.  As the UN, doesn't the UN have a duty, if it has existing contractors… and I just went by 45th Street today.  The sign is still up, so the UN is doing business with Colliers.  If a newspaper, widely circulated, says an employee of their company was convicted of fraud, isn't there some follow up totally outside of the familial relationship of the Secretary-General?
Deputy Spokesman:  We do not determine the staffing of Colliers.  You would have to ask them that.  Have a good afternoon.
On October 5, just hours after Ban's replacement was selected and his deputy spokesman told Inner City Press Ban will no longer hand out top posts (as he did, for example, to his own son in law on August 26), Ban sent his first post-Guterres email to UN staff, shamelessly about... fraud:
Date: 5 October 2016 at 2:01:33 PM GMT-4
Subject: Message from the Secretary-General to Staff on Fraud and Corruption

Dear colleagues,

Anyone who works for the United Nations has a fundamental responsibility to act with honesty and integrity at all times.  The vast majority of staff take pride in honouring this responsibility. But we operate in uniquely high-risk environments that expose our activities to significant risks. Fraud and corruption not only betray the trust placed in us by Member States; they damage our operations, our authority and our credibility, making it more difficult for all of us to do our work.

The comprehensive Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Framework, issued through Information Circular ST/IC/2016/25 on 9 September 2016, is designed to help staff promote and maintain a culture of integrity and honesty across the range of our operations and activities.  It details how our Organization acts to prevent, detect, deter, respond to and report on fraud and
corruption.   The United Nations has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and corruption. This means that the administration will actively pursue all allegations, and will take all necessary disciplinary and contractual measures when wrongdoing is established.

The 2017 Leadership Dialogue – the discussion that all managers should have every year with staff who report to them – will focus on this Framework. I hope it will stimulate discussions between staff and managers at all levels on how the Framework can be applied.

Together, we must make every effort to promote the highest ethical
standards for our United Nations, as we serve the world’s people.

Warm regards,

The Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon"
   On October 2, Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq replied that Ban has had "no contact" with his own nephew.
 So on October 4, Inner City Press asked about Ban's nephew's connection with UNDP's property manager, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: I understand that you'd said the Secretary-General has had no contact with his nephew Bahn Joo-hyun, but given that the article says that the acts that he engaged in were while he was an employee of Colliers International, which, if you remember this, there was back-and-forth.  Their plaque is still up on the FF Building on 45th Street.  I wanted to know, this is a UN question as opposed to a Secretary-General, if he doesn't speak to him.  Is this individual, a nephew of the Secretary-General, still employed by Colliers?  If so, does this finding by a court trigger any review of the UN's contracts with Colliers?

Deputy Spokesman:  You would have to check with Colliers whether he's an employee.  I wouldn't comment on someone who is not UN personnel. 
  Amid all this - and while refusing to answer basic questions - Ban Ki-moon has found a group to praise and flatter him, with photographs no less. This was sent to Inner City Press this afternoon by an amazed recipient, we publish it here:
"Dear colleagues, UNCA is pleased to inform you that a Photo Exhibition presenting the 10 years of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will take place at the end of November. Submissions are now open to all UN photographers to send their photos of Ban Ki-moon in action during his tenure. There will be a total of 25 photos selected to be exhibited at the opening of the event with the attendance of the Secretary-General.

Cia Pak, Scannews, will coordinate the submissions. Please see the instructions below on how to submit your work.

Best regards,

Giampaolo Pioli
UNCA President"
We'll have more on this.
Meanwhile, "court has ruled a nephew of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pay $590,000 in damages to a South Korean construction firm that was at the center of a major lobbying scandal last year. The Seoul Northern District Court recently handed down the sentence to Ban Joo-hyun, son of the U.N. chief's younger brother Ban Ki-sang, on charges of fabricating documents that allegedly expressed the Qatari government's intention to buy a high-rise building belonging to the firm, Keangnam Enterprises Inc.

"Ban Joo-hyun, who was an executive of a U.S. real estate investment company at the time, is accused of receiving the money from Keangnam Enterprises in 2014 in exchange for arranging the sale of the skyscraper in Vietnam to the Qatari government. In the process, he reportedly told Keangnam that he could use the influence of his uncle to directly contact the Qatari king."
  Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on October 3, when Inner City Press asked, declined comment except to say that Ban has "no contact" with his nephew. His brother's son? We'll have more on this.
 Inner City Press was informed by whistleblowing UN staff that Ban is now attempting, contrary even to a new feather-bedding rule his issued to place his staff wherever they want in the UN system, to place his longtime personal / appointments secretary Eun Ha (Isabelle) Kim as a P-3 Professional in the UN Office of Protocol. 
  Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 29 said he has "no idea" about such a position, while accusing Inner City Press of dragging people -- Kim? Or Mr Ban?" - through the mud. Video here.

On September 28 Inner City Press published more, from even more complaining staff. They tell Inner City Press that Ban ALREADY broke the rules, promoting Isabelle Kim from General Service to a P-2 professional position, and now ordering the Office of Protocol to create a P-3 post for Ms. Kim. Staff are angry that the rules Ban applies to them do not apply to those close to Ban.