By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo here
UNITED NATIONS, July 13 –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. Inevitably, the disgraced and now unreachable UN Office of South South Cooperation - which has never held a press conference - came up. It was described, apparently without irony, as all about helping the poor. But as Inner City Press exposed in 2016, even under UN restrictions for its anti-corruption coverage, UNOSSC charged $100,000 for access to UN officials and business people, for example at an event in Benin. Also, ironic in light of UNDP's Simon Hannaford's upcoming testimony, as Inner City Press reported
"The UN Development Program, rather than provide to Inner City Press a copy of the document it signed with Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, instead took its South South office website off-line from October 31 through November 1 (photo here). This is called a cover-up. A full week after Inner City Press' written request to UNDP for a copy of the document UNDP (listed) official Teresa Liu signed with now-indicted Ng and Dominica PM Skerrit, the document has yet to be provided. So at the UN noon briefing on November 6, Inner City Press again asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, previously spokesman for UNDP. He said he would “call” the Office for South South Cooperation, but then argued it is not a UNDP office “as such.” Video here." Also on July 12, a still existing group Lorenzo founded and used, the "Public Private Alliance Foundation" arose, as well as the fact that a UN official is scheduled to testify on July 13: Simon Hannaford, the chief legal officer of the UN Development Program. But there's a problem, beyond the absurdity of presenting the UN as a clear, rules-based victim of the alleged corruption when it's the UN lack of rules that allowed and continues to allow corruption. UNDP, Hannaford's employer, is listed as a collaborator of the Lorenzo-founded Public Private Alliance Foundation, here. We'll have more on this.
The "Montessori Model UN" also arose, and this entity on which Inner City Press reported in May 2016 already then under UN censorship restrictions shows how UNreformed the UN is. Months after Lorenzo was indicted, this group was still holding events, with links to the UN Correspondents Association - Inner City Press reported on a now-removed "website, with photos of Ban Ki-moon and Garcia and a UN Correspondents Association member who while an UNCA Executive Committee member attended indicted Ng Lap Seng's August 2015 Macau event, saying on its website as of May 6, 2016 that it 'in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Grenada to the United Nations and the Montessori Model United Nations organized a High-level Meeting on Media, Education and Global Governance for the UNSDG at the New York Hilton Hotel. The key note speakers included H.E. Mr. Carlos Alberto Rojas Santos, Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations; Mrs. Marcela Suazo, Director of South-South Unit, UNFPA; Mr. Diego Diaz, Trade Commissioner of Guatemala, Trade Office in New York; Mr. Julio Pujols, Counsellor of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations; Mr. Haliscelik Kahraman, New York & UN Bureau Chief- Turkish Radio and Television- TRTWorld; and Mr. Yuntao Guo, Secretary General of the Global Governance for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.' But GG-UNSDG's website's administrator is Francis Lorenzo, who had pleaded guilty to UN bribery charges. Another connection to Ng Lap Seng is Christian Batres, involved in the website and in Sun Kian Ip Foundation before it. As Inner City Press reported, before and after its eviction by Ban Ki-moon, everything is for sale in Ban's UN. We'll have more on this.Ban's Gallach and Dujarric have defended the continuation of South South News with a UN office while Inner City Press is evicted and restricted, now wil play dumb on this new corruption as moneyed South South News issued a statement attack unnamed independent journalists - Ban's UN has come to this, with big Gulf and western media conflicted out since South South News funded the UN Correspondents Association they use to attack their independent competitors - to this has the UN sunk." We'll have more on this. On July 12 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.