Monday, May 22, 2017

As UN Pension Fund Mismanagement Continues, Staff Union Still Excluded, UNreformed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series
UNITED NATIONS, May 17 – With UN Pension Fund problems including late payments still unresolved, the UN Pension Board will meet in July to consider whether to extend the contract of CEO Sergio Arvizu. But the UN Pension Board has yet to recognize and seat UN Staff Union representatives elected last month, leading to charges that some 18,000 UN staff will not be represented at all. We'll have more on this. The Pension Fund's Boykin, after previous Inner City Press coverage, sent a gag order to staff, here.
 On February 2, when Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the gag order, he claimed UN staff misinterpreted it. From the UN transcript:
Inner City Press: You'd sent me an answer about the so-called hospitality log at the Pension Fund.  That was fine.  They published it.  Since then, the employees of that unit have all received a, what they call a gag order from Ms. Carolyn Boykin telling, reminding them that only the Secretary-General can speak for the Organization.  And they see it as basically they thought that they…

Spokesman:  I don't… I, you know, people can interpret whatever they want in whatever way they want.  My understanding is that what was circulated are the current, the current media guidelines, which actually say that people should be able to speak in their areas of, their area of competency.

Inner City Press:  So, what level of UN employee is… is authorized to disclose if they think they saw… they see corruption?  They took this as very much a threat to punishment.

Spokesman:  I'm sorry they interpreted it that way.

Inner City Press:  What does it mean?

Spokesman:  Mr. Abbadi.
   We'll stay on this.
  Inner City Press continued its series on January 26 with this from the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, which whistleblowing staff tell Inner City Press maintains a "Hospitality Log" of its wining and dining of brokers, leaving General Service staff to (mis) fill in the information.
  The whistleblowers tell Inner City Press of a directive from Sandhya Peerthum, citing Ban Ki-moon's corrupt boondoggle UMOJA:

"With the implementation of UMOJA, assistance from EO has been drastically reduced. Assistants can help schedule interviews, print PHP, book rooms, take notes, enter guests in workspeed for access etc. They can better support the SIO’s by taking on more administrative roles to free up the SIO’s time so that they can focus on their respective portfolios. Also, trading has been absorbed by Vicky so there is a lot of excess capacity."
  The staff whistleblowers tell Inner City Press there is a problem with "accurate record keeping including the Hospitality Log – Hospitality log is the responsibility of the P-staff (Investment Officers) who wine and dine with brokers, advisers and other investment professionals. So how would a GS staff know when and where a P-staff would be enjoying lunch, dinner and beer (and what else) on any given date or time to update the hospitality log? This is totally illegal" 

And needs investigation. The UN's holdover Spokesman Stephane Dujarric answered only two and a half of Inner City Press' 22 questions, and on January 25 and January 27 left the briefing room as Inner City Press was still asking questions.