Thursday, 31 July 2008

U.N. DESA and Guido Bertucci obstructed UN Official Investigation for 14 months-costing UN-OIOS $672,000

In an interview with FOXNEWS on 15th of July 2008, Guido Bertucci said:

"All the serious charges were cleared," he added. "There was no fraud, diversions, no misappropriation — nothing."

Today "Reform U.N. DESA" will publish another three page document which shows that for 14 months since June 2007, Guido Bertucci and the Office of Under-Secretary General of UN-DESA (Sha Zukang and Nikolai Zaitsev) intentionally and willingly obstructed justice and failed to cooperate with the United Nations Internal Auditing and Investigation System (OIOS/Procurement Task Force).

This afternoon, Mr. Sha Zukang will be knocking his glass with Guido Bertucci wishing him a healthy retirement with all his millions of dollars stolen from taxpayers contribution to the UN. Our question is how much did Guido Bertucci paid SHa Zukang for keeping this devastating Report from the public and from the Greek Government?

You can judge yourself:

Page 77


Page 79

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Meanwhile, at Scandals-R-the-UN

One way to bury a scandal is to hold a confidential investigation, ignore the findings and pension off the alleged culprit. The United Nations, helped along by diplomatic immunity, does this with such expertise that it’s surprising they haven’t set up entire agencies devoted to this art. Or maybe they have. At the UN, top management has been sitting for more than two months now on a confidential report from the UN’s own anti-corruption task force alleging ”gross negligence” and diverted funds within — I’m not kidding — the UN’s own good governance office. Does Ban Ki-Moon care? Or is he too busy jetting around the world opining that we should let the UN serve as world’s chief rationer of energy? More on UN lessons on how to indulge in bad governance and get away with it, in my article in today’s New York Post.

For connoiseurs of UN scandal, it seems the UN official currently busy burying these latest signs of institutional rot in his “In” tray is Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang, a member of the UN Management Group which Ban Ki-Moon chairs.

Who is Sha Zukang?

He’s one of China’s men at Turtle Bay. Based in New York, Sha runs the UN’s sprawling Department of Economic and Social Affairs — an influential position with broad reach, spending lots of money (including lots of U.S. tax dollars) around the globe on all sorts of nebulous projects — including the dissemination of principles of governance.

That bears thinking about, because in a previous incarnation, Sha was based in Geneva as an envoy of the People’s Republic of China, busy shaping the disastrously warped dictator-friendly UN Human Rights Council (which replaced the grotesquely twisted Human Rights Commission). Among Sha’s functions, from 2004-2007, as described in his UN bio, was “Coordinator of the Like-Minded Group of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.”

What was this “Like-Minded Group” that Sha Zukang coordinated, and on behalf of which he gave speeches urging the UN to avoid the practice of ”naming and shaming” the world’s worst human rights violators? It was a group of about 20 countries consisting largely of some of the world’s worst violators — including Sha’s own China, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Burma, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.


Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHA Zukang, on behalf of the Like Minded Group, at the Meeting between the President of the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights

Mr. Chairman,

On behalf of the Like Minded Group of States: Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe and my own country China, I warmly welcome Mr. Eliasson, President of the General Assembly and his two Co-Chairs on the establishment of the Human Rights Council to be here and exchange views with us on details of the Human Rights Council and the transitional arrangement. LMG fully support the work of Mr. Eliasson and it is our belief that under his leadership, the consultation process will be a successful one.

LMG welcomes the decision of Heads of States at the 60th Session of the GA to create a Human Rights Council, and deems it necessary to address the credibility deficit of the Commission on Human Rights. Human rights is not about the preach and the preached, the condemn and the condemned. LMG sincerely hopes that the Council will be a venue to promote international cooperation instead of naming and shaming. LMG takes note with appreciation of the effort made by the President of GA to organize inclusive, open and transparent consultations concerning details of the Council. LMG has participated actively in the consultations in a constructive manner and hopes a decision can be reached in due course with consensus. With regard to the specific issues of the Council, such as the mandate, modalities, functions, size, composition, membership, working methods and procedures and etc, the LMG is of the view as follows:

---The Human Rights Council should be a subsidiary body of the GA, and thus the rules of procedure of GA apply to it.

---The size of it should be the same as CHR, if not larger than CHR, in the interest of representativeness of the body.

---All member states, big or small, rich or poor, will have an equal chance to participate in the activities of the Council. Whatever the size of the Council, the principle of equitable geographic representation should be strictly abided by, with a due reflection of membership in different regional groups.

---In order for all countries, especially smaller countries to have a better chance to win elections, it would be preferable for its members to be elected by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of GA present and voting, which is the case for all subsidiary organs of GA. Candidates endorsed by regional groups should be duly acknowledged according to the election practice across the UN system.

---The Council should focus its work on national capacity building and technical assistance, provided upon request. The root causes of credibility deficit of CHR, which is characterized by politicization, double standards and selectivity, should be stamped out. A thematic rather than a country specific approach to consideration of human rights issues should be applied to help depoliticize the Council

---The Council should avoid naming and shaming that spoils the work of current CHR. Therefore, the country specific review under Item 9 of CHR should either be abolished or applied strictly to address "gross and systematic violations" and certain criteria should be introduced in this regard to rationalize the consideration of country specific issues.

---The Council shall report and recommend to the GA as its subsidiary body, while the GA shall decide whether it would convey relevant recommendations.

---The Council shall supervise the work of OHCHR by regularly reviewing its annual work program, budget as well as their implementation.

---All human rights, both civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, should be treated in a fair and equal manner.

---Improve NGO participation in the work of the Council based on the principles as contained in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31. The participation of NGO in the Council shall not constitute any precedent for future work of GA and its other subsidiary bodies.

---In case the Council meets regularly, the logistic difficulties of smaller countries should be bear in mind. Measures including a special trust fund should be taken into consideration to facilitate their participation.

---Transitional arrangement should be taken step by step smoothly in order not to disrupt UN human rights machinery. In establishing the Council, due considerations should be given to members who have yet to finish their terms in CHR, without prejudice to the ability of states which are presently not members of CHR to gain membership in the Council.

---The role of the Sub-Commission as an independent think tank should be preserved and strengthened. It should continue its work.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Greek Parliament discuss U.N.-DESA's corruption and requests restituion of funds

In response to the Question (No 1333) presented by the Member of Parliament Ms. Chryssa Arapoglou on the subject of the “Operations of the Office of the United Nations in Thessaloniki by the Honourable Representative for Thessaloniki” we report the following:


In 1999, the Greek Government signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement1 with the United Nations with a view to the establishment of the United Nations Thessaloniki Centre for Public Service Professionalism (UNTC) and the financing of a Trust Fund.

The objectives of the Centre were as follows:

  • [a] to reinforce the role, performance and professionalism, ethical values and standards in the public services of the countries of Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS);
  • [b] to strengthen institutional capacity for public service reform and to enhance professionalism in the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS;
  • [c] to strengthen the institutions, which contribute to good governance and to combat corruption in the countries of Eastern Europe and the CIS;
  • [d] to promote cooperation for the improvement of the machinery of government, for good governance and social progress among the Member States of Eastern Europe and the CIS;
  • [e] to provide a constant flow of information in support of the abovementioned objectives, activities and outcomes; and
  • [f] to promote decentralisation on the basis of the principles of devolution of authority and support for non-governmental organisations which support public service reform.

The creation of the Centre signalled the passage of Greece from a recipient country to being a donor country in the framework of the United Nations Technical Cooperation Programme. It also sought to turn the city of Thessaloniki into the hub of a network for information-sharing on issues which relate to Public Service Reform and for dissemination of relevant Greek know how in the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the CIS. This goal has not been achieved and very few of the objectives of the Centre have been fulfilled because the Centre and the Trust Fund became victims of serious mismanagement on the part of DPADM/DESA2.

This mis­management of monies of the Trust Fund was not detected immediately, on account of obstruction from the responsible Division (DPADM/DESA) which consistently refused to comply with provisions in the Trust Fund Agreement requiring it to account on economic matters. An intervention was needed, from Mr. Christopher B. Burnham, to set in motion the process of an internal audit and to secure replies, albeit with great delay, to some questions which the responsible Minister of IPAD had asked as early as June 2004, by letter to Mr. Ocampo and Mr. Bertucci, senior officials in charge of the management of the UNTC and the Trust Fund.

We are talking, in effect, of a process which was first initiated in 2004 and 2005, but has yet to be completed.

Analytically, we report the following:

The Greek Government, by letter of the Minister of IPAD3, Professor P. Pavlopoulos, requested the conduct of an external audit of the Programme and the Fund. This, the Minister put forward to Mr. Guido Bertucci, Director of DPADM/UNDESA. He repeated the request to Mrs. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, Under-Secretary-General for the OIOS4.

After the passage of several months, an answer was received from the Under­Secretary-General of the Department of Management Mr. Christopher B. Burnham5. Mr. Burnham expressed regret for this delayed response to the Minister’s request. He added that, after consultations with Mrs. Ahlenius, an internal audit had been launched, which was expected to reach its conclusion towards the end of July.

In the framework of this audit, two Auditors visited Greece during the third week of July. They met with the former professional staff of the UNTC, Dr. Panos Liverakos, Chief Technical Advisor, and Ms. Anne Caroline Tveoy, former Public Administration Officer and Officer-in-Charge. They also met with a member of the responsible Division (D1) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Alexandros Rallis, with the Minister of IPAD and the Secretary-General of the same Department of government. At the close of the working session, the Secretary-General gave the auditors a list of questions6 on which the Government wished to receive detailed replies.

This mismanagement and misuse, have been corroborated by the Under­Secretary-General Mr. Christopher B. Burnham in a letter which he addressed to the Minister of IPAD7. In this letter, Mr. Burnham briefly referred to the progress of the audit and also thanked the Minister for his cooperation, noting that his insistence had helped to bring to light a number of deficiencies not of the UNTC – this should be stressed - but of the UNDESA Division charged with its supervision, and headquartered in New York.

The deficiencies in question, which the Hellenic Government had repeatedly underscored and brought to the attention of the United Nations, could be summed up as follows:

  • [a] Non-compliance with the terms of the Trust Fund Agreement, as ratified by Parliament on 17 July 20028; specifically:
    - submission of detailed financial data on an annual basis;
    - submission of progress reports on a six-monthly basis;
    - provision of the requisite administrative and technical support (backstopping) to the Programme; and
  • [b] Lack of any consistency and transparency in the actions of the Division (DPADM) tasked with the supervision and management of the Centre.

These rendered it impossible for Centre’s professional staff to implement its Programme and to accomplish goals to which Mr. Bertucci himself had agreed in December 2004 after his consultations with the Minister of IPAD9.

The complete lack of consistency and transparency in the actions of the Division entrusted with the management of the UNTC became abundantly clear during the final months of the Centre’s operation – or to be more precise, deficient operation. Specifically, on 5 December 2005, Mr. Guido Bertucci, Director of DPADM, sent a letter10 to the Minister of IPAD, which announced his intention to close the Centre down on 31 March 2006. This intention, Mr. Bertucci repeated in a letter11 to Ambassador F. Verros, Director of the responsible Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Indeed, in this second letter, Mr. Bertucci confirmed, not only the removal of the UNTC’s Chief Technical Advisor, which had already taken place on 31 December 2005, but also his intention to inform the landlord of the building housing the Centre that he would take all measures in order to surrender the building in due form by 31 March 2006.

However, as stipulated, in a subsequent letter12 of the Secretary-General of IPAD, the Centre did not close on 31 March as stated, but continued to be open though idle for six months, at a monthly cost of US $ 16,000 approximately. The Secretary-General demanded immediate remedial action to put an end to this situation. He added that, if the Centre remained open past 15 October 2006, the corresponding expenditures would burden DPADM exclusively. In response to this ultimatum, the Director, Mr. Bertucci instructed his subordinate to go to Athens immediately and close the Centre down on 31 October 2006.

In addition to lack of transparency, accountability, consultation and cooperation on the part of DPADM (New York), the management of the Centre consistently exemplified obstruction and lack of any continuity in the pursuit of the objectives of the Centre, as well as systematic passing the blame for failures on its successive heads (Chief Technical Advisors), i.e., Mr. Tsekos (2000-2004) and Mr. Liverakos (2004-2005). In retrospect, it is manifest that obstruction was intended to maximize the funds of the Trust Fund and Centre, which would remain available for totally extraneous purposes, which only now belatedly have surfaced: payment of numerous “consultants”, who never produced any output related to the Centre; whose employment did not have either specific goals or outcomes.

The above corroborates the view that the Trust Fund became the victim of very grave mis-management. This view was clearly expressed, at a very early stage, by the Minister of IPAD in a letter13, which requested the return and restitution not merely of the remaining balance of the Trust Fund, but also

In conclusion, it is necessary to emphasise the following:

  • [a] From the very early start and assumption of his duties in March 2004, the Minister of IPAD despatched repeated messages to the responsible agency requesting the submission of the mandated reports together with details on assets and expenditures of the Centre14;
  • [b] The Director of DPADM, Mr. Bertucci consistently refused to account, as he was required under the terms of the Trust Fund Agreement. Indeed, he falsely claimed – in his letter of 5 December 2005 – that an audit could not be conducted. He further “threatened” closure of the Centre, by 31 March 2006. As stated, however, this closure did not take place in fact until six months later and only after despatch of an ultimatum by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of IPAD, Mr. Vassilios Andronopoulos;
  • [c] The claim to restitution remains in force. It demonstrates the country’s firm commitment to recovering the amounts which correspond to funds that were embezzled for reasons unrelated to the Centre, or money paid in return for support services which the Centre did not receive;
  • [d] Lastly, as might be expected for any further action, we shall await the outcomes of the audit, which the responsible Department of the United Nations is currently concluding.

Saturday, 19 July 2008


Commenting on a phone interview with Claudia Rosett, Bertucci himself said: he is innocent and that if anything he has done is a crime, then "maybe every single manager of the UN should be indicted."

This man, who in only one project was found guilty and asked to pay back the UN US$35,000, dares to call all other DESA and UN managers corrupt as himself, stating that whatever he has done, is same what others in DESa have been doing all along. 

How many millions have Mr. Bertucci and his corrupt italian staff diverted from DESA's 2,981 projects (two thousand nine hundreds eighty one) in 9 years as Director of DPADM  - If he owe to UN US$35,000 in only one single project???

Shame to Sha Zukang and Ban Ki-moon who continue to protect these type of behaviors and allow that these corrupt managers continue to serve and represent United Nations.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Culture Revolution is coming to DESA - but will Sha Zukang manage to route out the corruption inside our house?

Today at 10:00 at UN Library our USG will talk to us about his latest report and how he and his ASGs plan to address the increasing fraustration of DESA's staff as well as the rapidly growing corruption and miss-management inside our Department.

The report has been slow in coming. Dated April 30th,it has just been released. What it describes, however, is a serious state of mismanagement and maladministration in our Department which was set up and tasked to assist the deliberations of one of the principal organs of the United Nations: the Economic and Social Council. Among the vast array of issues that may come within its purview are socio-economic development, sound governance and human rights.

Some sixty years ago, a special UN programme to help developing countries improve their systems of governance and public administration was established in our Department, making it one of the oldest in the Organization. Though it is still in existence and DPADM, one of the key Divisions of our Department, continues to administer it, it's but a pale reflection of its former self. Worse still, so-called Division of Public Administration and Development Management has become one of the main exemplars of maladministration, which the report describes in detail. The profile of the Division and of its Chief are writ large in the report.

Already in the Executive Summary, the reader of the report gets a inkling of the intensity and the depth of the dissatisfaction of the bulk of the staff with this sorry state of affairs inside UN-DESA. In para.6 ,for instance, the Task Force Members Representing the Staff explicitely refer to the:

"General lack of trust, intimidation and distrust in the Organization's systems {which} appear to affect the work environment in a number of offices and affect their performance in a meaningful way."

The rest of the report reads like a tale of woes, in which most frequently mentioned are:

1. absence of consultation,

2. lack of accountability, openness and transparency in the management of the staff;

3. lack of concern for their needs;

4. " lack of strategic management " and wastage of " resources and institutional memory ", particularly apparent in the "frequent use of consultants and retirees to fill temporary vacancies" (p.6) often for months or years (p.16);

5. "vacancies{that} are timed and tailored to fit specific candidates or delayed and consultants hired as temporary replacements "; and

6. " ....these backdoor recruits " eventually acquiring " permanent posts often at a higher level" (p.15).

Further down in the report, the issues raised by the staff include "sub-standard ...practices and abuse of power by managers". Noting the "perception of abuse and impunity is widespread " (p.19), the report explains that " Managers are perceived as being allowed to take decisions based on their own and...short-term interests versus the broader long-term interests of the organization". Indeed, they are perceived " as having been allowed to treat some staff unfairly to the point of professional harassment and discrimination... based on personal likes and dislikes"(p.20).

Elsewhere, in the same vein, the staff express the view that the Performance Appraisal System (PAS) currently conducted in a way that is either irrelevant or used by managers to punish/sanction staff members they don't like rather than being used to provide guidance and incentives for staff performance" (p25).

Mostly a passive onlooker, the DESA Executive Office(EO)appears to have done little to arrest this rapid decline let alone to try to remedy this situation. The members of the Task Force expressed "appreciation to the Under-Secretary-General for the opportunity to conduct this exercise" (p.2 para 7).

In contrast to his predecessor , Sha Zukang did not look the other way. Nor did he choose to ignore the accumulated evidence of gross abuse and wrongdoing.

None of these issues are new. Repeated investigations since 2003-4 revealed consistent patterns of maladministration. However, their findings were hushed by an organization apparently only concerned to salvage a waning reputation for integrity. Had DESA acted promptly, it could have stopped the rot and punished the wrongdoers. It did nothing of the sort but allowed the abuse to continue and to intensify.

The attempted cover-up was stopped when, in January 2007, the New York Sun, Fox-News, Washington Times and Wall Street Journal reported on scandals and abuses by DESA involving the misuse of monies of a trust fund. Now the "cat was out of the bag"; a damning report by the auditors of the OIOS was publicly debated in the GA, this last October 10th and yet, in spite of it all, DESA and DPADM -- now ironically nicknamed " good governance division" ( The Washington Times June 12, 2008)-- went on about their business as if nothing was the matter.

One hopes that this latest report, which seems to have the backing of the current USG (Sha Zukang) may shake up DESA and put an end to a pattern and culture of impunity, which have lasted too long.

For more than three years now, both the Department of Management have been repeatedly warned of the deepening malaise in DESA and DPADM; to little effect ,however.Staff members of the Department will tell you how the Division used "a big shredder" to eliminate the evidence before the investigation--initially the auditors of the OIOS; then the Procurement Task Force --could lay their hands on it.

Meanwhile, DESA and DPADM went on about their business of preaching to the world ,what they failed to practise at home. In spite of mounting evidence of maladministration , which the latest report of Human Resources Task Force has brought to light , DESA/DPADM were going around the world sponsoring workshops and seminars on public service professionalism, transparency and accountability. Junkets on public trust were organized (June 2007) and numerous consultants were hired at great expense to help dispell the impressions which clouded the reputation of DESA/DPADM.

All the above went on under the "watchful eye" of Guido Bertucci himself and a former "Ethics Officer", who quit the Department of Management,only to be rewarded for services to Bertucci,with a post and a promotion in his immediate entourage.

Bertucci's gang still proclaim their innocence and say that they've been cleared. But is this what the reports of the OIOS and the Procurement Task Force (PTF) have put in black and white? Leaked to The Washington Times, the PTF report rather maintains the opposite, calling in fact for sanctions against the Director of DPADM and members of his entourage.

But where is the report? Though a year and half in preparation, it is apparently blocked in the office of the culprit, which it is trying to expose. Is this the UN way of promoting integrity and ethics?

Anyhow let's all wait for out 10:00 am meeting and see if this is going to be a real Culture Revolution or only an old-country music event....!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

U.N. 'Good Governance' Official May Escape Penalties for Alleged 'Gross Negligence'

Tuesday , July 15, 2008
By Joseph Abrams

A top "good governance" official at the United Nations accused of dishonest practices may escape penalties despite a scathing internal report that faulted his "gross negligence" and mishandling of a $2.8 million trust fund donated by the Greek government.

Guido Bertucci, director of the United Nations' Division of Public Administration and Development Management, was supposed use the funds to promote transparency and good government in the former Soviet republics.

But a confidential report prepared by a U.N. anti-corruption task force paints a very different picture, accusing Bertucci’s office of nepotism, favoritism, falsifying documents and obstructing a U.N. inquiry — just the sort of practices his office was meant to help root out.

The Greek government is seeking around half a million dollars in restitution for the money remaining in the fund, estimated between $200,000 and $390,000, and for at least $182,000 in operating costs that it says Bertucci’s office wrongly spent.

The United Nations' own report, issued by its Office of Internal Oversight Services following an 18-month investigation, recommended that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, or DESA, which controls Bertucci’s office, repay $34,000 in wrongly awarded contracts.

The OIOS further suggested that Bertucci, himself, might be held "personally accountable and financially liable" for any misspent funds.

But the 60-year-old Bertucci is unlikely to face those recommended penalties as the clock ticks down to his retirement by the end of July.

The report lies in limbo in the hands of Sha Zukang, the undersecretary-general for DESA and Bertucci’s boss.

"That is where it now sits," said Inga-Britt Ahlenius, undersecretary-general in charge of OIOS, in an e-mail to So long as Sha does not rule on the findings of the OIOS, investigation of the report may go unconsidered until Bertucci’s retirement.

The United Nations does not customarily pursue actions against employees who have left its service. With a little stalling, neither the requests of the Greek government nor the recommendations of the United Nations' own investigators will likely be considered.
Calls and e-mails to Sha and DESA were not returned, and questions about the status of the report and of the findings against Bertucci were not answered.

Bertucci, however, was defiant and defended his service.

"I will not resign," he told FOX News. "I’ve not resigned for these 18 months [of investigation] because I’ve done nothing wrong. ... "All the serious charges were cleared," he added. "There was no fraud, diversions, no misappropriation — nothing."

Click here to see a FOX News interview with Bertucci.

U.N. investigators disagreed, outlining a series of violations they say Bertucci and his colleagues committed, and called on his office to make restitution to the Greek government.
It’s a payment that Greece has been seeking since 2006 and has demanded repeatedly since the founding in 1999 of the U.N. Thessaloniki Center for Public Service Professionalism in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The now-defunct UNTC was funded by Greece and administered by Bertucci's department. Its role was to promote good government in Eastern and Central Europe — a goal that none of the interested parties say was met.

The U.N. report found that Bertucci hired consultants without judging their qualifications or confirming that they performed the work they were paid to do and often failed to inform the Greek staff of the UNTC that he had hired the contractors.

One consultant, Derry Ormond, was given a "fictitious consultancy contract" for $5,025 out of the UNTC trust for unrelated work he did for DESA months before, according to the report. Bertucci and a colleague also paid Ormond $5,000 for travel expenses, "despite the fact that the travel never actually took place," the report alleged.

Another consultant, Dimce Nikolov, was given contracts for $17,587 for work entirely unrelated to the UNTC because of Nikolov’s "need to pay for his daughter’s education," U.N. investigators found.

Favoritism wasn’t the only factor determining hiring practices, investigators charged; there was alleged nepotism, too. The report claims, for example, that one consultant, Kashif Abbas, secured contracts for $13,025 at the recommendation and request of his uncle, a senior adviser for DESA.

According to the report, Abbas was recruited because of his relationship with his uncle, who told OIOS investigators "that he was not related to Mr. Abbas," though he returned to the investigators' office hours later to tell them that he was, indeed, Abbas’ uncle.
Abbas’ work was certified and he was paid even though officials never checked for "what, if any, work had been performed by Mr. Abbas under his contract," the report found.

Bertucci told FOX News he didn't know why he would be held culpable for restitutions, maintaining that he did no wrong and was the victim of a witch hunt led by the government of Greece.

"I think this is a witch hunt, a political investigation dictated by political reasons," he said. "I really believe that in these 18 months [of investigation] I’ve shown that I’m faithful to my job."
But during those months, U.N. officials said he "consistently failed to provide meaningful cooperation with the task force investigation," repeatedly delaying the issuing of their findings.
Considering the findings, Bertucci told FOX News that if any funds were misallocated it was "because of the incompetence, the sheer incompetence of the local staff" — the Greek employees of the UNTC.

He specifically named Panos Liverakos, chief technical adviser of the center from 2004 until 2005 and whom Bertucci said he fired for being "incompetent."
Liverakos, in an interview, rejected that idea and said Bertucci fired him because he "blew the whistle on him" — that is, called the alleged mismanagement of the UNTC trust and offices to the attention of the United Nations.

He accused Bertucci of using the trust money "to do favors and exchanges with people around him," and he called the trust a "slush fund" for Bertucci.

Despite the findings of the report and accusations by Liverakos, Bertucci said he had not misspent any money.

"Not one cent of the Thessaloniki Center was wasted," he said. "It was not pocketed by me — not one cent." To back up the claim, Bertucci told FOX News he would "refute [the charges] word by word, with documents — not with innuendos or allegations."

Bertucci has yet to provide any documents, but as the end of July fast approaches and as he edges ever closer to retirement, he may soon have no need to defend himself to anyone.


A. Contractual issues and treatment of short-term and temporary staff (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Several staff cited short-term contracts, particularly those of 1-3 months, stating that our colleagues on temporary positions have contracts and conditions of service that are extremely stressful and do not speak well of DESA or the UN.

• Several DESA staff have colleagues who work as consultants or temporary staff, saying that often these short-term staff are viewed as secondary to permanent staff. They are denied health benefits, job security, and vacation. Some colleagues have trouble taking their children to the doctor because they have no leave.

• Short-term staff are often not informed of whether or not their contract will be renewed until the last day of their current arrangement. One staff member wrote: "It is torturous to see my colleagues stressing about whether or not they will have income tomorrow. I don't know anyone who can sustain good morale and work efficiency in these kinds of conditions. Job security, respect, and vacation are critical for keeping a sharp mind and the UN should be completely ashamed of how it treats these critical staff."

• The rules that govern staff contracts are very confusing and Human Resources and administrative staff are not helpful in this regard. It is very hard to get a straight answer from anyone. Different people have a different answer to the same question and the same people have different answers at different times.


H. Performance Management (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• There is a widespread feeling that the current performance evaluation system is not used constructively or effectively to promote performance and career development. In particular, many feel that the Performance Appraisal System (PAS) exercise is currently conducted in a way that is either irrelevant or used by mangers to punish/sanction staff members they don't like rather than being used to provide guidance and incentives for staff performance. PASs are often not completed on time, jeopardizing staff opportunities to apply for other jobs.

• Some staff complained of receiving little direction and feed-back. In the words of one staff member: "I have gotten very little feedback on my work, which makes it very difficult to learn how to improve. I would be so grateful to have more interaction with my superiors here, so that I could learn more. Instead, I feel that I work mostly in a vacuum with little direction going into the work I get and even less feedback coming to me after it is completed".

• The PAS process is often viewed by managers as useless. There is a widespread dislike of the process, as well as delayed or ex post-facto completion. Overall, the PAS is not used for the career development of staff. In some instances, staff stated that the PAS ratings are not given honestly but instead are given arbitrarily, with the same rating "3" for every one, irrespective of performance. In addition, it was reported that, in some instances, the support provided through the PAS feedback was not adequate to provide guidance to managers on resolving disagreements on PAS ratings between staff members and supervisors.

• In one division, concerns were expressed about: the use of generic, instead of individual work plans, lack of discussion in most cases between staff members and supervisors; lack of mid-cycle review, and consequently lack of opportunity for staff to receive feedback on their performance and take the necessary steps to improve it. Concerns were also expressed about staff members being underrated as compared to UN and DESA curves for PAS, competencies and performance not being rewarded, and PAS being used by managers to penalize staff members by working against their promotions. In some cases, staff felt harassed by programme managers during performance management meetings.


F. Conflict (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Managers are expected to anticipate and resolve conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions.

• Staff have reported that personal conflicts or dislikes between chiefs and directors and/or heads of relevant UN agencies may seriously inhibit their staff's capacity to perform their work in the manner that would be most beneficial. This is again disappointing since - as a staff member puts it -"working at the United Nations, we have a serious responsibility to place the issues which our work addresses first and foremost".

• In the words of a staff member: "Some managers have no idea how to address conflict. I have witnessed the escalation of conflicts that could have been avoided, if staff were only allowed and encouraged to communicate. For some reason people talk about one another here, but never to one another, when there is a problem. Basic negotiation skills all start with open communication".

• Issues that need to be addressed through management and interpersonal skills are perceived as being left to fester until they create a disempowering and depressing work environment for a number of people. Staff working in unhappy environments tend to produce less and to be less effective.


D. Rules (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• In the words of a staff member: "UN managers have become expert at applying the 'letter of the law' but not the 'spirit of the law'. A legal expert can tell you that the spirit of the law has as much credibility and validity as the framework. The Department needs to honor the spirit of the law along with the specific procedural actions".

• Many staff feel that personal connections are somehow stronger than rules and that the interpretation of rules varies greatly according to the prevailing interests.


C. Integrity, accountability and equality/non-discrimination (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Managers are perceived as being allowed to take decisions based on their own and often short-term interests versus the broader long-term interests of the organization.

• As better detailed in the sections covering staff selection, career development and other human resources management issues, many staff report discriminatory practices, or the perception thereof, specifically dealing with recruitment and promotion of staff. In particular, matters related to hiring of short-term staff and consultant services are questioned.

• In relation to the management of human resources in the Department, many of the contributions reiterate the expectation that all staff be treated with due respect, regardless of grade and position. Some staff expressed their desire to see the Department, and the Under-Secretary-General himself, reaffirming full accountability as well as a no tolerance policy for discriminatory treatment, especially with respect to staff selection and career development matters.

• Managers are perceived as having been allowed to treat some staff unfairly to the point of professional harassment and discrimination. Supervisors are perceived as being allowed to discriminate among staff based on personal likes and dislikes. Staff expressed a clear perception of lack of oversight for managers and supervisors; particularly the lack of an impartial and effective entity to turn to in case of perceived discrimination. Staff also expressed lack of faith in the willingness of superiors to address the fundamental problems in the staff-management relations, i.e. lack of motivation and the perception that other staff being favored.

• A significant number of staff members expressed concern regarding the lack of accountability at the senior management level. Some have suggested the introduction of managerial reviews/audits. In particular, management styles of certain division chiefs have been described as "tyrannical" or authoritarian.

• Some staff members asked why the integrity survey was not repeated or followed up on since 2004, give the significance of the results and the resources invested. Others asked why the results of a survey by the USG-DM, as part of a project to review the Secretariat's Accountability Framework (see http ://i seek. un. org/webpgdept1357_28 . asp) were not publicized.

• The senior management is perceived as being particularly non-accountable in terms of human resources management. As a staff member put it "We are happy to see that the SG is encouraging transparency, honesty and integrity but unfortunately we do not see the Directors, Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs in DESA following suit". The Executive Office is perceived as providing options by the rules but not tackling issues of staff wellbeing and fairness.

• The managers' decisions, style and practices do not appear to be overseen and/or questioned. This often leads to a very strong perception of favoritism, especially in relation to the long permanence on temporary positions of external candidates who are not selected with due process, or of retirees who are also kept on board at length. In some of the units concerned, such perceptions are strongly linked to the Directors' role, as Dls and lower grade managers are perceived as executing the Directors' unchallenged decisions including those relating to training options, or career development opportunities. (Note: This issue also appears under "Career Development -- Investing in Staff').

• In a few cases the contributions describe unbalanced and informal power-sharing systems, strongly centralized in a small group of people, often alienating most of the remaining staff members. In such settings, basic transparency concerning how priorities are set and decisions are made appears to be lacking. Favoritism, lack of consultation and delays in filling of vacancies and in designing and sharing work plans are also complained about. Staff contributions on this matter highlight the prominence of allegiance to superiors instead of to the organization itself.


B. Managing for efficiency and effectiveness (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Managers are expected to accurately judge the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and to match task to skills.

• Accurate and efficient management of resources, including human resources, is the responsibility of all managers. (some staff refer to the disproportionate distribution of workload as a source of dissatisfactions). It is perceived that because supervisors overburden staff members who are seen as performing well and in a timely manner, work is not evenly distributed. Staff feel that no reward is provided to those who perform well. Younger staff members, in particular, voiced a deep feeling of under-utilization, which leads to disempowerment and lack of motivation.

• Various units in the Department reported on sub-standard management practices and abuse of power by managers. Some of the contributions cited the devolution of power to managers and Directors which took place some years ago as having created major mismanagement as it was not accompanied by an adequate system of checks and balances.

• The related perception of abuse and impunity is widespread. For example, some staff members have alleged that their career prospects have been limited by supervisors or directors who have consistently side-lined them. Others have reported that posts have been moved around to create pre-tailored opportunities for promotion. Some staff members have also reported that training and official travel have not always been authorized in a consistent or transparent manner, but rather as privileges or favors granted to selected staff.


A. Leadership (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Managers are expected to serve as a role model that other people want to follow.

• Staff complain that managers are not leading by example and that deeds do not often follow words in the management of the Department.

• The gap between what it is stated and what is actually carried out lowers staff morale and reduces effective performance. It also has a negative impact on meaningful dialogue between managers and staff, team spirit, sharing of information, transparency, and genuine evaluation of outcomes achieved. As one staff member put it: I strongly believe that the quality of leadership of Sections and Divisions within the Department is a major factor in determining the output of those Sections and Divisions.


D. Gender and geographical balance in recruitment/placement_processes (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Staff members have reported high gender inequality in the placement and promotion processes that are evident in divisions where all senior posts are occupied by males.


C. Transparency in recruitment/promotion procedures, use of consultants, interns, short-term staff and retirees (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• There is a perceived lack of transparency in how temporary posts are allocated. Division Directors have too much discretion in allocating temporary posts without advertisement or interview process, especially given that the incumbent is almost always given the job once it is advertised. Abuses were reported in this area.

• Vacancies are timed and tailored to fit specific candidates or delayed and consultants/retirees hired as temporary replacements. There is no accountability on the actual content of vacancy announcements and, interview panels are generally arranged with a view to ensure pre-decided outcomes (the panel leader usually chooses like-minded people, friends, supervisees, etc.)

• Maintaining large pumbers of temporary staff - particularly at P2 and P3 levels - for many years continually renewing contracts, after a one month break in service, undermines formal recruitment processes and blocks candidates from both the NCE and GtoP. It also circumvents education requirements for professional posts. Eventually these "backdoor" recruits may acquire permanent posts often at a higher level. (See also Career Development -- Investing in Staff.)

• Furthermore, consultants and retirees are frequently hired to perform work that regular staff could easily and willingly perform and which would also assist them to acquire further experience that could improve their skills and assist them to obtain a future promotion. Some consultants hired for short-term projects have stayed on for years, thereby precluding career opportunities for regular staff members and violating the concept of consultant status. (See also Career Development -- Investing in staff)

• Rather than hiring short-term staff to replace staff on mission assignments, staff at lower levels should be given the opportunity to perform higher level tasks, while short-term recruitment should be sought for the lower level functions. This should especially be the case for GS staff being placed against temporary P2 pr P3 posts in order to perform more challenging functions. There is a SMCC agreement (SMCC XXV) which clearly spells out that this should be done in all offices yet it is never implemented.

• The expedient solution to fill posts quickly – by hiring retired or outside personnel for regular work – is regrettably very common. This practice destroys staff morale and creates an artificial barrier to staff growth and advancement. Complying with the rule to advertise expected vacancies well in advance could curb some of the need to hire retired staff


B. Use of posts (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• According to inputs received from staff, the re-allocation of posts among branches within DESA Divisions to accommodate individual promotions yields the following negative results:

i) discourages career development and mobility because individuals stay in their current job while receiving a higher level;

ii) lack of fair assessment and evaluation of post level because the higher level post is not properly classified;

iii) depletes resources thereby adversely affecting performance; iv) destroys morale as it is seen as favouritism and abuse of power.


A. Promotion and recruitment of personnel (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Several staff members stressed that current rules and practices discourage promotion based on merit and favors a more bureaucratic approach based on seniority and the fulfillment of mobility requirements. Such rules and practices also encourage short-term solutions (e.g. hiring of consultants) and are prone to abuse by managers (e.g. hiring persons they favor).

• It was pointed out that in order to strengthen DESA role and capacities it was necessary to encourage staff performance through a proper system of incentives/rewards. The main criteria for staff promotion should remain the quality of contribution and other qualifications such as leadership and management skills. Recruitment of external candidates should be weighed against the need to promote and consolidate performance of internal staff as the backbone of the Organization's workforce.

• In general a strong feeling of lack of trust and frustration concerning how decisions are made on recruitment/promotion emerged from staff comments.

• There is a common perception that individuals selected for posts are not always the best qualified. Staff members believe that qualifications, ability to perform assigned duties, contributions made, education, experience and suitability for the job, should be the most important indicators. However, respondents felt that merit may not always be used as the main selection criteria and promotions. Likewise managerial posts are not based on qualifications such as leadership and management skills. Staff perceive that individuals may instead be recruited/promoted based on their connections and their nationalities.

• The current Central Review Board (CRB) system does not provide sufficient checks and balances, as its role is restrictive and limited. As a result, on the one hand, managerial prerogatives appear to have been granted without formal, systematic oversight. This situation allows managers to abuse their prerogatives and to select and promote staff based on their own perceived and often short-term interest, versus the long-run broader interest of the Organization.

• On the other hand, these prerogatives also create conflict over appointment/promotion choices between different managerial levels. In some Divisions, it was reported that the decentralized recruitment has not been fully implemented and decisions on recruitment are widely imposed by the head of the Department.

• Moreover, a serious limitation of the Galaxy system is its inability to
separate recruitments (based on finding the best qualified person for the job) from promotions (assessing if individuals merit a promotion and new responsibilities). Hence, a great number of the posts advertised are not really open but are destined to promotions. This results in a significant waste of resources and time from administrative offices, substantive offices and applying candidates. It also creates delays in the efficient management of staff and posts and undermines the importance of performance. Thus the promotion process becomes inadequate as panels do not assess the candidates' past performance (whether they have done enough to deserve the promotion) but only compare them against other candidates.

• In addition to the above dysfunctions, the selection process is considered to take too long - often exceeding the 6-month period allowed for filling vacant positions.

• Against this backdrop, the Executive Office (EO) is perceived to favour the approval of consultancies over the creation of extra staff positions and to have a tendency to approve consultancies without requesting an assessment of alternative work redistribution options among existing staff.


C. Training (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Several staff members stressed the need for more qualitative and relevant training. The way training is currently carried out does not meet staff needs for skills upgrading and does not encourage training and research to continue upgrading their skills.

• Training funds for substantive external training are often too low for staff to be able to attend state-of-the-art conferences, university seminars and to have access to libraries to keep abreast of the latest knowledge. Moreover, already scarce training resources and opportunities tend to be allocated unfairly, at the discretion of managers, rather than according to staff needs.

• Some lamented that training was often approached as an afterthought or was left to the individual initiative of staff members and not as part of a Departmental strategy to address the Department's needs.

• Several staff members suggested using training as an opportunity to address issues cutting across divisions and to promote inter-divisional communication and exchange. For example, training workshops could be held for all DESA staff on key areas covered by the Department (e.g. FFD, gender, social and sustainable development, climate change, etc.) as a way to reduce fragmentation and enhance synergies between Divisions. Training in project management skills was also considered very important to improve performance and results.

• Some pointed to the limited technological capacity existing within the Department among staff –e.g. to use Excel, update websites or use the full functionality of Lotus Notes, the internet or even Microsoft. The result was a negative impact on efficiency and communication and a lack of appreciation for the potential of IT to improve work methods (e.g. working remotely) and to provide an important interface with the world (UN website).

• IT skills requirements, especially managing and updating websites, and research assistant requirements were also becoming increasingly more important in various offices across the organization and certainly within DESA.


B. Enhancing opportunities for career development (Summary of the issue raised by DESA Staff)

• Several staff members commented on the lack of sufficient learning and career development opportunities. Many viewed more flexible arrangements for short-, and medium-term assignments as necessary to help mobility and increase career opportunities. Working across divisions and departments, e.g. through task forces or on short- and medium-term assignments with other divisions, departments, regional commissions, and UN specialized agencies, was viewed by many as a way to improve staff exposure to other divisions/offices, increase knowledge and skills, stimulate creativity and dynamism, and create career opportunities for the long run.

• Assignment with the regional commissions, in particular, was seen as helping create a better understanding and stronger working relations between DESA and the commissions, whose work is closely related.

• A number of staff members pointed to the lack of strategic management of human resources that took into account the need to prepare junior staff to take on responsibilities at the senior level when required and the need to provide career prospects to all staff members, regardless of their grades. The use of consultants and retired staff also needed to be viewed in this context. It was noted that the frequent use of consultants and retirees to fill temporary vacancies – including for the writing of SG reports – had limited opportunities for junior staff to grow on the job by absorbing responsibilities at a more senior level, and perpetrated a capacity gap into the future. It also wastes financial resources and institutional memory. Overall, managers need to take better advantage of existing skills and provide incentives for staff to engage in their field of work.

• A number of issues were raised regarding performance evaluation relating to career development. These are included in the Section on Performance Management.


A. Mobility (Summary of the issues raised by DESA Staff)

• Several comments were made regarding the mobility requirement. Staff members were critical of the rules and procedures guiding the mobility exercise. They pointed out shortcomings and problems related to its implementation and suggested a number of recommendations to improve the exercise.

• There was a feeling among staff that the mobility exercise is not taken seriously. Most managers have avoided implementation by reassigning staff before the mobility deadline. As a consequence, some staff members, who did not face mobility, have been "requested" to swap posts with colleagues and felt obliged to do so even though it might not have been an optimal career move for them. Another way of avoiding mobility was to promote general service staff without changing their functions and/or reporting lines in reality.

• Several staff members also felt that rules of mobility were not clear and many of their related questions remained unanswered.

• Career planning becomes challenging in light of the mobility requirement. A staff member felt that it was hard to carry out his/her current annual work plan not knowing where he/she would be by the end of the year. There was also a perception that mobility requirements limit transfer of knowledge between senior and junior staff members in similar positions.

• Many Chiefs/Supervisors do not universally support mobility through lateral or SPA moves. They feel entitled to either favor or block these kinds of moves of staff in their units. The perception is that doing good work gets rewarded with lack of opportunities for career development as it is in managers' interest to keep these staff where they are, and those who perform poorly are often "helped" to leave through mobility or even promotion. There were some cases in which staff members wanting to move were stopped by their managers and had to turn to the Executive Office for help. In other cases they had to perform both jobs in order to be allowed to move while keeping a good relationship with supervisors.

• Managed reassignment and mobility requirements lead to lack of investment in staff by their bosses, including investment for skills development through the offering of challenging assignments, allocating training funds and travel opportunities.

• Staff are discouraged from pursuing mobility options on their own. One of the reasons is that selection rules discourage "shopping around". A case in point is a rule, according to which after an interview, a candidate, if selected, cannot turn down the job unless offered another position. Another reason is that OHRM would not approve a job swapping arrangement agreed to by all involved, if it is outside the managed reassignment exercise.

DESA's last hope - will this man be able to restore credibility and good name to our Department?

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

A career diplomat, Mr. Sha Zukang became the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs on 1 July, 2007. As such, he heads the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, and services the Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees of the General Assembly. He also chairs the United Nations Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs. He is a graduate of Nanjing University, China.

Mr. Sha Zukang has varied experience with multilateral organizations and international conferences. He was Coordinator of the Like-Minded Group of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council from 2004 to 2007, Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 11th session from 2003 to 2004, President of the Trade and Development Board, 50th Session of UNCTAD, Chairperson of the Government group of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization from 2002 to 2003, and member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament matters from 1994 to 1999. In addition, he has served as president, vice president, chairperson, coordinator and expert in many international conferences in the field of arms control, trade, intellectual property, social affairs, and telecommunications, among others.

Prior to assuming his present position in the United Nations, Mr. Sha Zukang held a number of posts in the diplomatic service of the People’s Republic of China. He established the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and became its first Director-General. In connection with China's implementation of arms control and human rights treaties, he took charge on many occasions of the coordination between government agencies, military, and civil society in preparing and submitting the implementation reports. He facilitated the on-site inspections by experts and visits by UN working groups and rapporteurs, encouraged the development of Chinese non-governmental organizations, and promoted the opening of offices in China by international organizations.

Mr. Sha Zukang participated, as the representative of the Chinese government, in the negotiation and review of many important international treaties on arms control and disarmament such as Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, and Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. He also participated in drafting some major arms control and international security resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council. He has championed international security cooperation with a view to maintaining international peace and regional stability and security.

As a senior official of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he was involved in the settlement of the first Korean nuclear crisis from 1993 to 1994. As the chief advisor to Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, he worked for the settlement of South Asia nuclear crisis in 1998 and participated in the drafting and negotiation of the P-5 Foreign Ministers' Joint Communiqué. He also contributed to the adoption of the resolution 1172 by the Security Council. As Chinese ambassador, he facilitated the handling of SARS outbreaks by the Chinese government and the World Health Organization in 2003.

Mr. Sha Zukang worked actively to promote China's bilateral arms control cooperation with Russia, the United States, and other countries. As the representative of China, he participated in the negotiation and drafting of the documents with the United States on detargeting of nuclear weapons against each other. He facilitated the issuance of the joint Sino-Russian statement on No-First-Use of Nuclear Weapons and Detargeting of Strategic Nuclear Weapons Against Each Other, in September 1994, and the announcement by the heads of state of China and U.S. on mutual detargeting of strategic nuclear weapons in June 1998.

His postings in diplomatic missions abroad included London, Colombo, New Delhi, New York and Geneva. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served variously as Counselor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva. In his 37 years of diplomatic service, Mr. Sha Zukang's portfolios have covered a range of fields including economic and social affairs, human rights and humanitarian affairs, politics, and security.

Mr. Sha was born in September 1947. He is a native of Jiangsu Province and is married, with one son. He is fluent in English and has some proficiency in French.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Report: U.N. official diverted funds

Head of "good governance" division

Betsy Pisik (Contact)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
NEW YORK An internal U.N. investigation has sharply criticized the head of the organization's "good governance" division, finding he has diverted funds donated by the Greek government to improperly pay contractors and mismanaged a $2.8 million trust fund meant to foster transparency and accountability.

The report by the Procurement Task Force of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) suggests that Guido Bertucci, director of the U.N. Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), personally reimburse the trust fund for misused funds and be reprimanded for favoritism and other violations in hiring consultants.

The Washington Times obtained a copy of the report, which was completed in April.

Mr. Bertucci, 60, is scheduled to retire from the United Nations in six weeks. U.N. officials familiar with the case say he is unlikely to receive any punishment stronger than a note in his personnel file.

"The Task Force recommends that appropriate disciplinary action be considered against Mr. Bertucci, [and two others] for the violations identified herein, including ... gross negligence in managing the Trust Fund Agreement, and failing to meaningfully cooperate with the investigation," said the authors of the 91-page report.

The investigation was ordered in December 2006 by then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in response to investigations by The Washington Times and other news outlets.

The investigation was delayed for months, the authors write, because Mr. Bertucci refused to share his personal financial information with investigators.

The resulting report was never publicly released and is still considered "strictly confidential" by the United Nations.

It was given to The Times by a person who feared the critical findings would be "buried."

Contacted by telephone over the weekend, Mr. Bertucci said, "I have been completely cleared."

"All the accusations against me are proven false."

When read some critical passages of the task force report, Mr. Bertucci replied that he could not comment.

"I have only seen preliminary versions, and that cleared me completely."

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said the organization could not comment because the report is not yet finalized.

Technically, OIOS reports are not considered final until their recommendations are accepted or challenged by those involved.

The funds in question were donated by the Greek government to finance the Thessaloniki Centre for Public Service Professionalism. The center was set up in 1999 to guide newly independent former Soviet states in developing transparent government procedures to hold officials accountable to voters.

However, the center's mission overlapped with a similar U.N. program already operating in Naples.

Because of the competition, the Thessaloniki program never really got off the ground, according to people who worked in the office. Concerns over the fate of the program's money were raised as early as 2002, the OIOS report points out.

In 2006, the Greek government complained that Mr. Bertucci's agency failed to submit financial reports and statements of expenditures, and that most of the Thessaloniki Centre's objectives remained unfulfilled five years after its inception.

UNITED NATIONS An investigation concluded that Guido Bertucci mismanaged a $2.8 million trust fund.

The Thessaloniki center was rarely fully staffed and, according to former chief technical adviser Panayiotis Liverakos, its work was simultaneously "neglected and obstructed" by Mr. Bertucci's organization.

For example, Mr. Bertucci's organization would hire international consultants without the knowledge of program officers in Thessaloniki, Mr. Liverakos told investigators.

Ultimately, the OIOS investigators found, the Greek-funded trust fund for the Thessaloniki Centre was used to pay at least $184,000 to consultants who did little significant work or were chosen without a proper review of their credentials or qualifications.

The report says the consultants themselves are not accused of wrongdoing, but recommends that Mr. Bertucci's organization reimburse the Greek government for at least $34,000 in misspent fees.

Additionally, the 91-page report asks the U.N. Department of Management to decide "whether Mr. Bertucci should be held personally accountable and financially liable" for financial irregularities in his organization.

"Mr. Bertucci consistently failed to provide meaningful cooperation with the Task Force investigation and did not provide specific documents requested by the Task Force at various stages of the investigation," wrote the authors of the report, which noted that the burden of proof shifts to the employee once there is a likelihood of wrongdoing.

Mr. Bertucci, an Italian national who has run the U.N. Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) since 1993, has been accused by former employees of intimidation and favoritism.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services, the U.N. watchdog that compiled the latest report, has undertaken at least three inquiries of his division in the last three years.

The latest investigation finds that Mr. Bertucci and John-Mary Kauzya, chief of the public administration branch of DPADM, and program officer Jose Manuel Sucre-Ciffoni had often subverted published guidelines on the hiring of consultants with money from the Thessoloniki center's fund.

Kofi Annan's Legacy of Failure

by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.
WebMemo #1283

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered his swan song today at the Truman Presidential Library in Missouri.[1] It was a thinly veiled parting shot at U.S. foreign policy delivered by an embittered U.N. leader seething with self-righteous indignation and resentment. Annan's Missouri speech will go down in history as one of the most blatant assaults on a U.S. administration by a serving U.N. official.

In his condescending remarks, Annan warned, with Washington clearly in his sights, that "no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others." In reference to the U.S.-led war on terror, Annan stated that America's position in the "vanguard of the global human rights movement…can only be maintained if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism. When it appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends are naturally troubled and confused." In a clear jab at the Iraq war, he warned that "no state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose—for broadly shared aims—in accordance with broadly accepted norms."

Annan's speech followed his recent interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, in which he suggested that Iraqis were worse off today than they were under Saddam Hussein.[2] The interview sparked outrage in Baghdad, and Annan's comments were condemned by Iraq's National Security Adviser Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, who pointedly asked, "Doesn't Kofi Annan differentiate between the mass killing of Iraqis by the security and intelligence apparatus of Saddam Hussein and the present indiscriminate killings of civilians, Iraqi civilians, by the al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq?"[3]

Annan has a long track record of opposition to the U.S.-led war to remove Saddam Hussein from power, as well as to the wider conduct of the global war on terror. The people of Iraq owe no debt of gratitude to Annan, who consistently ignored their suffering, opposed their liberation, and actively undermined Coalition efforts to establish security and rebuild the country. As Iraq's interim defense minister Hazem Sha'alan remarked, "Where was Kofi Annan when Saddam Hussein was slaughtering the Iraqi people like sheep?"[4] The Iraq war undermined Annan's own position as a world leader and exposed the U.N.'s growing impotence in the post-9/11 era. It also exposed the huge degree of corruption and mismanagement involving the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food Program, an epic scandal that continues to unfold.

Annan's departure from office has not come soon enough. His 10 years in power have been a monumental failure, and he leaves behind an institution whose standing could barely be lower and a legacy that is a testament to mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Americanism. Over the past 12 years, the U.N. has been dominated by scandal, division, and failure. From the disaster of the U.N. peacekeeping missions in Rwanda and Bosnia in the mid-1990s to the U.N.'s slow response to the Sudan genocide, its recent track record has been spectacularly unimpressive. His successor will inherit a U.N. whose image has slipped to an all-time low.

The Oil-for-Food and Congo peacekeeping scandals have had a devastating impact on the U.N.'s reputation and have reinforced the view that the world body is riddled with corruption and mismanagement, as well as undisciplined in its peacekeeping operations. The failure of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights—now the U.N. Human Rights Council—which was populated with some of the world's worst human rights violators, has added to the U.N.'s poor image. In addition, the tensions between Washington and Turtle Bay over the war in Iraq have contributed to bringing U.S.–U.N. relations to their lowest point in a generation.

Human Rights Failures

Under Annan the U.N. has shamelessly appeased dictators and tyrants, from Baghdad to Tehran to Khartoum, and has stood weak-kneed in the face of genocide and ethnic cleansing. As head of United Nations peacekeeping operations in the mid-1990s before he rose to Secretary General, Annan never apologized to the victims of the Rwanda genocide, whose slaughter was the consequence of the U.N.'s failure to intervene, or to the families of Muslims massacred at Srebrenica while under the protection of U.N. soldiers. Annan's lack of humility in the face of great human tragedy has been one of his greatest shortcomings as a U.N. leader. Nor has he ever apologized to the people of Iraq, whose former president he described as "a man I can do business with."

The U.N.'s new Human Rights Council, touted by Annan as a breakthrough for the U.N., is an unmitigated farce, and the United Nations has largely jettisoned the principles of liberty and freedom. The Council's lack of membership criteria renders it open to participation and manipulation by the world's worst human rights abusers. Tyrannical regimes such as Burma, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Zimbabwe all voted in favor of establishing the Council, in the face of strong U.S. opposition. The brutal North Korean dictatorship also endorsed the Council. When Council elections were held in May, leading human rights abusers Algeria, China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were all elected.

Peacekeeping Abuses

A series of peacekeeping scandals, from Bosnia to Burundi to Sierra Leone and Haiti, occurred under Annan's watch. The largest concentration of abuse has taken place in the Congo, the U.N.'s second largest peacekeeping mission, with 16,000 peacekeepers.[5]

In the Congo, acts of barbarism were perpetrated by United Nations peacekeep­ers and civilian personnel entrusted with protecting some of the weakest and most vulnerable women and children in the world. Personnel from the U.N. Mission in the Democrat­ic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) stand accused of at least 150 major human rights violations, and the scale of the problem is likely to be far greater.

The crimes involved rape and forced prostitution of women and young girls across the country, including inside a refugee camp in the town of Bunia in north­eastern Congo. The alleged perpetrators include U.N. military and civilian personnel from Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, South Africa, Pakistan, and France.

The sexual abuse scandal in the Congo made a mockery of the U.N.'s professed commitment to uphold basic human rights. The exploitation of some of the most vulnerable people in the world—refugees in a war-ravaged country—was a shameful episode and a massive betrayal of trust, as well as an appalling failure of leadership.

Corruption and Mismanagement

The scandal surrounding the U.N.-administered Oil-for-Food Program has also done immense damage to the world organization's already shaky credibility. The Oil-for-Food scandal is undoubtedly the biggest financial scandal in the history of the United Nations and probably the largest fraud of modern times. It shattered the liberal illusion that the U.N. is an arbiter of moral authority in the international sphere.

Established in the mid-1990s as a means of providing humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people, the Oil-for-Food Program was subverted and manipulated by Saddam Hussein's regime, with the complicity of U.N. officials, to help prop up the Iraqi dictator. Saddam's dictatorship siphoned off billions of dollars from the program through oil smuggling and systematic thievery, by demanding illegal payments from companies buying Iraqi oil, and through kickbacks from those selling goods to Iraq—all under the noses of U.N. bureaucrats.

Despite widespread criticism, Kofi Annan has never taken responsibility for a scandal that has irreparably damaged the U.N.'s reputation. A huge cloud remains over the U.N. Secretary General with regard to his meetings with senior officials from the Swiss Oil-for-Food contractor Cotecna, which employed his son Kojo from 1995 to 1997 and continued to pay him through 2004.[6]

Questions also remain regarding Annan's appointment of German activist Achim Steiner as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) just months after Steiner helped award Annan $500,000.[7]Steiner, whose four-year term of office began in June 2006, was part of a nine-member jury chaired by a senior U.N. official, which gave a cash gift to Annan last December. Annan's initial decision to accept such a huge prize (eventually given to charity), as well as his subsequent appointment of a man who had played a key role in the award of that money, gave the appearance of a major abuse of power. Both were extraordinary acts of political recklessness by the Secretary General and gave the impression that jobs at the world body may be traded for financial favors.

As an international public servant, the Secretary General should not accept money from a U.N. member state or a private foundation, either as an award or gift. He should also completely disclose his personal finances, as many Western politicians do. He should also abide by the same strict ethics and disclosure rules that apply to political figures in major democracies, such as in the United States and Great Britain. Annan has talked about accountability and transparency and the supposed winds of change sweeping through the U.N., but his own leadership has belied his words. Unfortunately, a secretive culture of impunity still dominates the upper echelons of the U.N. Secretariat.

A Broken Institution

In a recent interview with the London Daily Telegraph, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton described the U.N. as hopelessly out of touch and stuck in a Twilight Zone-style "time warp" where "there are practices, attitudes and approaches that were abandoned 30 years ago in much of the rest of the world."[8] Many Americans would agree with Mr. Bolton. In a March 2006 poll conducted by Gallup in the United States, 64 percent of respondents said the United Nations was "doing a poor job", the most negative rating for the U.N. in its history. Just 28 percent had a positive image of the U.N.'s job performance.[9]

Today's United Nations is a broken institution in fundamental need of wholesale reform. That is Annan's legacy, and the United States and the world looks forward to new leadership at Turtle Bay—leadership that is untarnished by the taint of scandal and actually lives up to the ideals of the U.N.'s own Declaration of Human Rights. The U.N. needs a Secretary General who will seek real reform of the U.N. bureaucracy and aggressively stand up for democracy, human rights, and freedom.

Nile Gardiner, Ph.D., is the Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow in, and Director of, the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

Annan orders probe of U.N. office

By Betsy Pisik
December 14, 2006
The Washington Times
Original Source:

NEW YORK -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, reacting to an article in The Washington Times, asked U.N. investigators yesterday to look into claims of fraud, favoritism and intimidation inside the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The DESA division, responsible for promoting accountability and good governance in member states, has used contributions from the Italian government to fund duplicative programs and unnecessary consultants, many of which benefit Italy or its nationals, The Times reported.

The story also said the department had made unusual use of contractors and taken relevant information off its Web site after reporters began asking questions. It said DESA staffers have complained about intimidation.

"The secretary-general's office has asked [the Office of Internal Oversight Services] to look into allegations raised this morning in the press," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Mr. Annan. He refused to specify which areas Mr. Annan is concerned about.

On Monday evening, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations transmitted a letter to the U.N.'s chief internal inspector, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, asking OIOS to look into contracting improprieties and reports that staff had been intimidated in an effort to halt leaks.

U.S. officials also have received information that officials within DESA's in-house human resources department have been destroying documents related to contracts issued by the department in recent years.

"We have become aware of alleged improprieties relating to the award of consulting contracts by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management," wrote U.S. diplomat Mark Wallace, whose letter was copied to Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown. DPADM is a subdivision within DESA.

"We have also received reports alleging that the DPADM has threatened to retaliate against staff members who have brought this matter to light," said the letter, which urged OIOS to conduct a "comprehensive review."

"We consider this an important and urgent matter," the letter said.

A spokesman said Ms. Ahlenius was traveling but expected back in New York next week.

The Italian government, which has voluntarily contributed some $80 million to DESA over the last four years, has not requested an audit of its funds. The Italian Mission to the United Nations did not respond to calls for comments yesterday.

Sources within the United Nations have described an atmosphere of uncertainty and intimidation inside DPADM, which has been responsible for creating several international programs and centers of dubious value.

"I have no comment beyond what the spokesman said this morning," said Marie Oveissi, the officer in charge of DESA's Technical Cooperation Management Services section.

DPADM Director Guido Bertucci did not respond to calls yesterday.

News of the DPADM use of Italian money prompted anger on Capitol Hill.

Retiring Rep. Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, who as chairman of the House International Relations
Committee held numerous hearings on the oil-for-food scandal and other U.N. issues, yesterday demanded "transparent investigations that hold violators of the public trust responsible for their misconduct."

"I am aware of new reports of corruption and cronyism within the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs," he said. "The U.N. has a history of building scandals on top of its scandals. Mismanagement thrives under poor oversight, which is then often lost under attempted cover-ups."

OIOS has already conducted an investigation into a DESA center in Thessaloniki, Greece, after the Greek government demanded to know how its $5 million contribution was being spent. Athens has since shut the center down, saying that its effectiveness was undercut by a duplicative effort based in Naples.

That report will not be released until at least January, OIOS officials said recently, because DESA officials have not yet responded to an early draft. Some have suggested that the department is deliberately delaying the report's release, at least until Mr. Annan is succeeded by Ban Ki-moon.

"I will leave the interpretation to you, but clearly in any ... investigative process, people have a right to rebut," Mr. Dujarric said yesterday. "That needs to be done within a certain amount of time.

"The department in question has a right to answer the issues raised. We very much hope it will be completed very soon."

The spokesman added: "We of course expect that no documents in any department will be destroyed. There are rules and regulations regarding the destruction of documents which are public."

Mr. Dujarric also said that staff members who feel intimidated can avail themselves of the U.N. whistle-blower protections, which include the right to file complaints anonymously.

U.N. official ducks query on wasted funds

Betsy Pisik
April 11, 2007
Washington Times
Original Source:

NEW YORK -- A U.N. conference opened on a note of discord yesterday when the director of a U.N. division responsible for "good governance" refused to discuss charges leveled at his agency of mismanagement, intimidation of staff and wasted money.

Guido Bertucci, director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), was addressing a conference of public administration specialists when one participant asked about an investigation of a $5 million center for public administration in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The United Nations has opened multiple investigations into the project, which Greece claims has turned into a white elephant.

When Barbara Kudrycka, a professor of public administration at Poland's Bialystok University, attempted to question Mr. Bertucci, she received a curt reply:

"That would be distracting from other matters," Mr. Bertucci told about 20 specialists and 30 observers at the conference's morning session.

When Ms. Kudrycka persisted, the moderator cut her off.

Mr. Bertucci's department is a key pillar of a larger U.N. organ, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which has been accused of steering millions of dollars in contributions from the Italian government toward projects that enrich Italian nationals but offer little of real value.

The contributions have been used to hire unneeded consultants and establish international programs, The Washington Times reported in a lengthy investigative article in December.

The article prompted then Secretary-General Kofi Annan to order the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to conduct an inquiry into possible staff intimidation and improper use of contractors by Mr. Bertucci's office, with the Thessaloniki project featuring prominently in the probe.

At yesterday's conference, some participants said it was inappropriate to discuss an ongoing investigation, in part because participants had been chosen to advise Mr. Bertucci's agency.

"We are sitting here in our own right. Experts are not part of [DPADM] management," said Jocelyne Bourgon, who is also Canada's ambassador to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. "We do not need nor do we want to be involved in any way. We would prefer not to be a proxy for the Secretariat."

Anthony Makrydemetres, a professor at the University of Athens, agreed that it was inappropriate to discuss the matter.

A report on the Thessaloniki project by the OIOS has been completed. However, its release has been delayed until autumn.

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) oversees a broad range of information gathering, including demographics, women's advocacy and forestry. It is also charged with promoting transparency and public accountability in governments.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Sha Zukang, to head DESA, but he will not take up his new position until July.

The U.N. and your money

By Betsy Pisik

NEW YORK -- A U.N. office charged with promoting accountability has for years been steering millions of dollars in contributions from the Italian government toward projects that enrich Italian nationals but offer little of real value, according to former and current staff members.

The contributions have been used to hire unneeded consultants and establish international programs, often in Italy, say the staffers employed in the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations has asked the U.N. watchdog agency to investigate the awarding of contracts by DESA and reports of retaliation against staff members. It is also seeking to have documents seized before they can be destroyed, according to internal U.S. communications.

Some sensitive financial data disappeared from the DESA Web site last week after a reporter began making inquiries.

Several staff members say they worry that well-connected DESA officials will seek senior positions in the administration of incoming Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who takes office Jan. 1. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying internal U.N. controls are not sufficient to root out ingrained corruption or protect whistle-blowers at the department.

Two years after a U.N. report found extensive abuse in the Iraq oil-for-food program, disbursements to DESA still are only lightly reviewed by U.N. financial oversight offices.

DESA is a sprawling U.N. department with nearly 570 employees and a 2006-07 budget of $268.2 million, 40 percent of which comes from voluntary contributions. Its divisions are charged with providing economic data and other statistics to the General Assembly, as well as advancing the role of women, creating sustainable development policy and coordinating good governance.

One of its largest divisions is the Department for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), which promotes transparency and accountability in public administration.

DPADM, which is based in a glass-walled New York skyscraper but has an office in Rome and smaller outposts elsewhere, advises governments on improving management, providing social services and rooting out corruption.

The Italian government is by far the largest single donor to DESA and DPADM activities, contributing some $80.2 million since 2004 to various trust funds. These are overseen by DPADM Director Guido Bertucci and the chief of the personnel services unit, Furio de Tomassi, according to DESA officials. They report to Patrizio Civili, assistant secretary-general for DESA.

All three are Italian nationals. That, say current and former U.N. officials with knowledge of the program, makes it possible for the Italian government's development office to channel its U.N. contributions to Italian nationals and pet causes, such as those focusing on the Mediterranean region.

The Italian Mission to the United Nations indirectly signs off on all disbursements from their contributions, according to U.N. officials, but Italian authorities have never requested a U.N. audit of the funds.

The Italian ambassador to the United Nations, Marcello Spatafora, declined through his spokesman to be interviewed for this article.
Checks and balances

Unlike any comparable division in the U.N. Secretariat, DESA has its own in-house human-resources department, enabling it to consolidate the hiring of consultants and independently funded "associate experts" under its own umbrella, away from the more accountable U.N. Office of Human Resources Management.

Current and former U.N. officials also say that contrary to standard procedure, the hiring, project-review and payment-authorization functions have been merged, concentrating power in the hands of Mr. Bertucci and a handful of people who work closely with him.

"It's a simple system of checks and balances to make sure that whoever is hired does the work and then is paid," said a current U.N. official who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation. Some DPADM staff members said they have been questioned by their supervisors about leaks from the department.

One area of concern is DESA's $39 million Associate Expert Program, in which young and relatively inexperienced technocrats are brought to headquarters or member capitals for one- to two-year assignments working on governance issues such as civil-service professionalism, ethics and reform, and management.

Italians are recruited through DESA offices in Rome as well as in New York, while candidates from other nationalities must send their resumes to the New York headquarters.

Marie Oveissi, officer in charge of DESA's Technical and Cooperation Management Services, said in a memo that 28 of this year's 159 associate experts are Italian, more than any other nationality. An additional 111 Italian associate experts are deployed to independent U.N. agencies, as are experts of other nationalities.
In addition, Italy -- which finances one-third to one-half of the total program each year -- also subsidized the hiring this year of one associate from the developing world.

Some observers say the associate-experts program is, effectively, a talent pool for future DESA consultants and contractors.

In an interview last week, two senior DESA officials said there was nothing amiss within their organization and rejected any suggestion that Italian government funds have been misused.

However, when reporters began making inquiries about the administration of the DPADM unit, the public Web site was briefly shut down and information relating to the funds and programs was removed.

Nicolai Zaitsev, chief of office for DESA Undersecretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo, said last week that he had been assured by the system administrator that nothing significant had been changed or removed from the Web site.

But substantive materials relating to the use of Italian contributions have been taken down. Documents that are no longer available include memorandums of an understanding between DESA and the Italian government on the use of its funds for:

•An electronic governance center.
•The establishment of DESA's Rome office.
•The funding of associate experts.
•The establishment of several international programs to be based in Italy.

Other documents no longer available include four annual reports of DESA's Committee of Experts in Public Administration and the Web site of a Greek-financed governance center that is subject to an ongoing U.N. investigation.

Mrs. Oveissi, whose department oversees much of DPADM's work, defended the department and its management, saying that donor governments are routinely informed how their money will be used and have the opportunity to object or direct their contributions.

"I would say every donor is fully aware of the intent of the organization and how the money will be used," she said. "It is defined in specific project documents, which have been agreed to by both parties and expenditures of those projects are reported back. ... They may say, 'We want to fund this, not that.' "

Mrs. Oveissi also stressed that all of the department's trust funds are regularly monitored by internal and external auditors in accordance with U.N. regulations. She said she was aware of only one investigation, requested earlier this year by the Greek government.

Unneeded consultants

Greek officials gave the unit $5 million to establish the Thessaloniki Center for Public Service Professionalism in 1999 but said its work was undermined by a duplicative center that was established in Naples three years later. The project was to have been shut down and remaining funds and fees returned to Athens, but that has not yet happened.

Originally expected this week, the report on the center will not be concluded until mid-January, according to U.N. auditors, because DESA officials have not yet responded to their findings.

Some U.N. officials and DESA staffers say the Greek contretemps is emblematic of the secretive nature of DPADM, in which budgets and decision-making are held in near secrecy and the staff is often left with little idea of what is expected of them.
A former DESA official, who left the organization after more than a decade citing frustration with DPADM management, said one of the biggest problems was the hiring of consultants to do projects that were more suitably accomplished in-house.

"Not only was it a waste of $25,000 or $100,000, but it demoralized the staff," the official said in an interview last week. "We would organize something, and then Mr. Bertucci would tell us not to bother. He would assign it to a consultant."

The official, who asked not to be identified, described an atmosphere of uncertainty in which consultants would take up office space and then disappear, with no one knowing who they were, what projects they were working on or how they were funded.
"When organizing projects, we seldom knew what funds we could predictably spend; [Mr. Bertucci] held finances for all the branches in DPADM in some central fund, and there was no transparency or accountability in the planning and utilizing of funds," the former official said.

Mrs. Oveissi, an American who has worked in DESA for more than a decade, was unable to say how many consultants had been hired in recent years, nor could she break down the number of Italian staff members and contract holders compared with other nationalities.

However, she rejected the suggestion that hiring favored any nationality.
Biennial review

All trust funds established within the U.N. Secretariat are audited every year, according to an official in the office of Program Planning, Budget and Accounts. However, he said, the funds are looked at as a whole and rarely dissected individually.

There is also a biennial review by the U.N. External Board of Auditors. In July 2004, the board found plenty to criticize in DESA's handling of 73 active trust funds: A review of 25 percent of the funds found "eight had no work plans, 11 were without review plans, 16 did not specify performance indicators, five did not have monitoring and evaluation reports and three did not have financial and inventory reports.

"The board is concerned that the department may not be able to monitor effectively the implementation of the projects owing to the absence of project documents," it said.

Mrs. Oveissi said the poor review was the result of a slow adoption of results-based budgeting, a new and improved form of evaluation that the department had not adopted at that point.

The chief U.N. watchdog agency, the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), has not conducted a comprehensive investigation of DESA or its trust funds, according to a manager within OIOS.

"Once in a while, not every year, we audit one or two of their projects, or their divisions at headquarters," he said, speaking on the condition that he not be identified.

"There are so many trust funds even just under economic and social [affairs]. Sometimes we audit them on issues that are common to all trust funds, sometimes we audit individually."