By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo here
UNITED NATIONS, July 12 –In the ongoing UN bribery trial of Ng Lap Seng, on July 12 government witness Francis Lorenzo described how he named the "bribery conduit" South South News, and the origins of the MDG / South South Awards which came to include UN officials from Cristina Gallach through Susana Malcorra to Sigrid Kaag, as well as Ban Ki-moon. While Lorenzo repeatedly claimed to not remember e-mails he had sent and received, he bragged of meeting Forest Cao and Ng Lap Seng and traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, all supposedly in order to combat poverty. He said he had fun choosing bands for the award shows, even claiming he did it on behalf of the Dominican Republic. Ng Lap Seng's defense lawyer Tai Park analogized Ng to Ted Turner of the UN Foundation. Troublingly, the government appears poises to present the UN, via a lawyer whom UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric when Inner City Press asked at the UN noon briefing on July 12 declined to even confirm, as a rule-based place that Ng abused. But wasn't it the Department of Public Information's Cristina Gallach who allowed Ng and his proxies to buy events? Didn't the UN defend the other corruption groups named in court on July 12? We'll have more on this. As Inner City Press first reported on July 11 it then emerged that the US Government will be putting on a UN witness, Simon Hannaford. He is the chief legal officer of the UN Development Program, which played a role in the dubious faux UN conference held in Macau, and failed to oversee the UN Office of South South Cooperation. But what about the UN Secretariat, which doctored a General Assembly document to include the name of Ng's company? We'll have more on this - and this: an email was cited in court on July 11 in which Bangladesh's then-Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen conspired with Francis Lorenzo on how to insert a paragraph from the Macau meeting into a Group of 77 and China resolution in the General Assembly. Back in 2015, Inner City Press tweeted a photoof Lorenzo, John Ashe, Monem and still Dominica Prime Minister Skerrit, the lone head of state at the Macau meeting. While reference was made on July 11 to Antigua selling passports for money, the program of Dominica - though which Ng, who later glowered at Inner City Press - netted one of his five passports was not brought up. Should the prosecution expand the case, to this and to target the UNreformed UN more directly? In court on July 11 the name of Forest Cao was repeatedly cited. He recruited for South South News and when he died in 2014 South South News, through John Ashe's then spokesperson, issued a memorial video inside the UN, here. In this video, Forest Cao is shown not only with Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa but also Rajapaksa's UN Ambassador (and former UN legal official) Palitha Kohona, who rented an apartment from UN Correspondents Association president Giampaolo Pioli. For reporting that, Pioli vowed to use the UN Department of Public Information - which also did business with Ng Lap Seng - to get Inner City Press out of the UN. This Pioli accomplished, with ex-DPI now UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric in 2016, when Inner City Press sought to cover an UNCA event in the UN Press Briefing Room to see if and how Ng Lap Seng's and UNCA member South South News' exposure for corruption was discussed. We'll have more on this.