Friday, July 23, 2010

UN refused to hire American who uncovered widespread UN fraud, dozens of oversight positions remain unfilled, Ban Ki-Moon weakness cited

United Nations: "The outgoing chief of a U.N. office charged with combating corruption at the United Nations has issued a stinging rebuke of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accusing him of
  • undermining her efforts and leading the global institution into an era of decline, according to a confidential end-of-assignment report.
The memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who stepped down Friday as undersecretary general of
  • the Office of Internal Oversight Services, represents an extraordinary personal attack on Ban from a senior U.N. official.
The memo also marks a challenge to Ban's studiously cultivated image

Shortly after taking office in 2007, Ban committed himself to restoring the United Nations' reputation, which had been sullied by

  • revelations of corruption in the agency's oil-for-food program in Iraq.

But Ahlenius says that, rather than being an advocate for accountability, Ban, along with his top advisers, has systematically sought to undercut the independence of her office, initially by

  • trying to set up a competing investigations unit under his control and then by thwarting her efforts to hire her own staff.

"Your actions are not only deplorable, but seriously reprehensible. . . . Your action is without precedent and in my opinion seriously embarrassing for yourself," Ahlenius wrote in the 50-page memo to Ban, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. "I regret to say that the secretariat now is in a process of decay."...

During the past two years, the world body has shed some of its top investigators.

  • It has also failed to fill dozens of vacancies, including that of the chief of the investigations division in the Office of Internal Oversight Services.

That post has been vacant since 2006, leaving a void in the United Nations' ability to police itself, diplomats say."...

  • ****
On the man the UN didn't want to hire, from CNS News, 7/21:
  • "A specific criticism related to Ban’s alleged blocking of the appointment of an American, former assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut Robert Appleton, as head of the OIOS’s crucial Investigations Division (ID).
Appleton served as special counsel to a major inquiry into corruption in the U.N.’s Iraq oil-for-food program led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. Finalized in 2005, the inquiry led to the setting up of a procurement task force, which under Appleton’s leadership carried out more than 300 investigations,
When the task force’s mandate lapsed at the end of 2008, Ahlenius wanted Appleton appointed as head of the ID, a post that had been vacant since 2006. But top U.N. officials opposed the move because the short
  • list of candidates contained no women, and only Americans – a violation of
  • U.N. rules on geographic and gender diversity.
The U.S. provides 22 percent of the U.N.’s regular operating budget, and 25 percent of the peacekeeping budget. Member states’ contributions are calculated from assessments based on their relative “capacity to pay.”
  • (Appleton’s application was also reportedly opposed by Russia, whose nationals were implicated in the task force’s investigations.
  • Russia furthermore played a key role in ensuring that the task force’s mandate was not extended.)
The vacancy at the helm of the ID was cited in OIOS annual reports in 2009 and again this year as an “impediment” to its work, with the reports calling it “critical that this post be filled expeditiously.”
  • It remains empty today, and now with Ahlenius’ departure, the top OIOS position is also vacant. The U.N. General Assembly seven months ago passed a resolution urging Ban to ensure Ahlenius’ successor was chosen by the time her tenure ended...
Ahlenius’ parting shot at Ban comes less than a year after a Norwegian newspaper published a leaked internal memo by that country’s deputy ambassador to the U.N., Mona Juul, who described
  • the secretary-general as weak and lacking in authority and charisma, and characterized his handling of crises in Sri Lanka and Burma as a failure."...
"Ban Ki-Moon in the firing line over leadership, reforms," CNS News

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