Friday, 31 October 2008
It is well known within DESA that many of the non-performing but self-seeking staff who other than promoting their own personal agenda have had little or no intetrest in advancing the cause of DESA, have been at the centre of the mess that the organization has currently plunged itself into.
Mr. Sha ought to be congratulated for this bold step. At the same time, I only hope that he and his colleagues who have embarked on this most difficult challenges of all do it astutely and strategically and most importantly, take the member states into confidence, especially the group of 77. In the past, unbeknown to the Group of the real reasons, many non-performing and scheming staff of DESA when faced with job threats or other initiatives that appear to risk curtailing their personal agenda, made it a habit of manupulating G77either to protect them from an impending job loss or curtailment of an activity that mey affect their personal interest. Therefore, it is absolutely key that Mr. Sha and his advisers brief fully the member states before the axe starts to fall.
Mr. Sha also needs to be equally astute in filling up the forthcoming vacant posts with the very best - here also he needs the blessings of the member states, especially those of the developed countries. In the past in more than one occassions, lobbying from developed countries seemed to have caused distortions to quality recruitment in DESA.
Furthermore, filling up of vacant posts will have to go hand in hand and be relevant to what DESA will ultimately be reformed into, as a substantive organization. It is the new subtantive portfolio of DESA that should determine who its staff would be.
In the area of technical cooperation, an important DESA activity, not only that the content of technical cooperation products will need to be redefined, preferably through a survey of developing countries (presently, technical cooperation in DESA has become by and large a condiut for holding, with some exceptions, useless meetings and workshops, thus providing free tickets for DESA staff to travel and opportunities of patronage distribution through recruitment of friends as consultants), but also its method of delivery.
I wish Mr. Sha and his reforming colleagues of DESA the very best in their reforming endeavour and look forward to seeing DESA emerge as a world class organization devoted to providing, through their normative, analytical and technical cooperation works, helpful guidance in tackling the most difficult of challenges - economic, social and governance related- that the world is facing these days, both in developing as well as in developed countries. After all, DESA is the only apex organization in UN that has the mandate to do so. Given the right people and structure, I have no doubt that DESA will rise and prove its worth.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Sha Zukang's October surprise for DESA - 44.8 % (per cent) of staff to be forced to retirement by 2010
(c) Departments and offices with high replacement needs (over 40 percent of their present staff) are: Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (40 per cent), Office of Legal Affairs (45 per cent) and Department of Economic and Social Affairs (44.8 per cent)387 - TOTAL STAFF TO GOof which103 - D2+D1+P5 TO GO
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
- Ms. Marie Oveissi, the OIC of TCMS is a book keeper by training. She has neither the educational qualifications nor the country experience (the latter is crucial to successful delivery of technical cooperation products at the country level)to deserve this post. Her promotion to this post is a direct outcome of machinations of axis of DESA patronage distribution.
- Her management style is authoritative, secretive and abusive.
- Although, TCMS has been established to function as a support services organization to the substantive divisions of DESA (the designated implementors of DESA Technical Cooperation projects)for the effecient delivery of technical cooperation products, Ms. Oveissi through clever manipulations has taken over execution responsibilities within her own fold - this is totally contrary to the mandate of the TCMS, a service organization cannot become an implementing agency. But that is exactly what TCMS has increasingly bcome over the years. It is also a highly staff heavy organization, but on casual scruntiny this is not easily detectable - many of its staff are hideen under the cover various bogus posts.
These anomalies of TCMS and machinations perpetuated by Ms. Oveissi and De Tomassi were brought to the attention of the previous USGs on numerous occassions. In case of Mr. Sha, all it can be said that clever manupulations by Ms. Oveissi and her group and other colleagues of the Executive Office have kept him away from knowing the real truth. Hopefully, submissions made through Reform UNDESA blog will draw his attention and bring to bear some serious and all encompassing reform. However, truth of the matter is that very little can be done and will be done as long as those who contribute to malfuncting of DESA continue to remain in their current position.
If any one can change DESA, it is Mr. Sha who can do it. Of all the previous DESA USGs he is the only one without any specialised interest ( for example, Desai's interst was environment and thus he spent most of his time pursuing his personal substantive intereset at the neglect of DESA organizational matters; same with Ocampo - true to his substantive interest he spent all his time on global fiscal issues and left the business of organization and management of DESA to Executive Office and TCMS head - result is today's accumulated mess)
U.N. Reports Show Scrutiny in Short Supply at World Body -- but Reasons for it Abound
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
By George Russell
Nearly three years after the United Nations launched a highly publicized effort to crack down on fraud and waste, especially in its scandal-torn multi-billion-dollar procurement department, the clean-hands offensive is slowing down. And, its own watchdogs warn, other major areas of the U.N. bureaucracy are suffering from an alarming lack of scrutiny.
Two high-risk areas in particular: the United Nations Environmental Program, where more than $1 billion is being spent to control climate change with almost no auditing oversight; and the United Nations staff pension fund, where large amounts of cash are apparently being kept off the balance sheets, and where fund managers themselves decide what auditors can and cannot investigate.
Those conclusions are contained in a pair of annual reports that have been submitted to the General Assembly by the U.N. watchdogs themselves, known as the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).
One of the reports covers the operations from July 1, 2007 to July 31, 2008, of the U.N.'s Procurement Task Force (PTF), which was set up in January 2006 to attack procurement corruption. The document also serves as an obituary of sorts for the PTF.
As the report notes, the task force is expected to disappear at the end of this year, strangled by lack of General Assembly funding. The task force will turn over more than 150 unexamined cases, including "several significant" fraud and corruption matters, to regular OIOS investigators, who may or may not be able to handle them.
The more damning document is a report on OIOS activities from June 2007 to June 2008 across the U.N., which is not limited merely to procurement. Its author, OIOS chief Inga-Britt Ahlenius, pointed out a number of U.N. "risk categories" that strongly hint that the scandals of the past could be repeated.
In dense and understated language, Ahlenius highlights an ingrained U.N. culture of managerial laxity, confusion, bureaucratic resistance and, on occasion, spectacular incompetence that if left unaddressed does not bode well for the U.N.'s reputation — or probity — in the future.
Among the highlights:
• Poor data collection across the U.N. system means that in many cases "the determination of a program's relevance and effectiveness is not possible." OIOS noted that no methods had yet been devised to measure results-based performance across 25 percent of the areas mandated by the General Assembly in the years 2006 and 2007, the most recent available.
• Not illogically, OIOS also noted that according to various U.N. surveys, "whether or not results have been achieved matters little to resource allocation and individual performance assessment."
• The U.N. Secretariat's Department of Management, whose very function is to make sure the organization runs well, often makes things worse through its foggy and inconsistent use of the most basic U.N. terminology — which has been in use for 60 years. As the report notes: "Terminologies such as 'Secretariat,' 'Organization' and the 'United Nations,' which were critical to understanding the jurisdiction and scope of administrative issuances, were not always clearly defined or consistently applied by the Department. Consequently, the Department and other actors may not have a clear picture of their respective duties and responsibilities."
• Some of the U.N.'s most important funds and programs lack the auditing staff even remotely to keep track of what those programs are doing and how well or honestly they are doing it. The report notes that the United Nations Environmental Program has one auditor and one assistant to inspect its operations and a number of multilateral agreements under UNEP's purview. The OIOS document estimates that it would take 17 years for the auditor to look over just the high-risk areas already identified in UNEP's work.
• The same applies to the United Nations Human Settlements program, known as UN-Habitat, where OIOS estimates that it would take the solo auditor 11 years to cover the high-risk areas in a $250 million Habitat budget.
• One area of risk that is frequently mentioned is the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, which handles the retirement income for all of the U.N.'s sprawling global operations. The OIOS report notes that the fund violates both U.N. rules and international auditing conventions by giving the pension fund management the right to sign off on the scope and terms of reference of any audit of the money. In other words, those being inspected get to agree on what gets a look-over, and how.
• The report also notes that despite the findings of previous audits, the pension fund is still keeping "excessive" amounts of cash on hand, and off the balance sheet — in effect as slush funds. The uninvested money reduces the pension fund's overall income. Moreover, the pension fund does not have a centralized sign-off on its financial statements, which could "adversely affect the reliability, consistency and integrity of the financial data produced by the Fund." Pension fund managers do not propose to fix the problem until 2010 or 2011 at the earliest.
Making a bad situation even worse, the report notes that the pension fund has inadequate information security policies that make it vulnerable to data theft and information security breaches.
• Perhaps the most bizarre finding of the report is the fact that the U.N. Secretariat's human resources department does not do criminal background checks on employees hired for less than a year. As of January, 2006, this amounted to 13 percent of the U.N.'s 10,985 staff members at New York headquarters and at the other major centers of Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi. The main reason given for the lack of criminal checks: lack of short-term staff to do the job.
To fix the problem, the HR office has only agreed to "perform an analysis to identify the risks of not conducting criminal background checks." But it has balked outright at conducting job history, education credential and job reference checks on prospective short-term staffers — because that would delay the recruitment of additional short-termers.
Even in cases where OIOS watchdogs have uncovered strong evidence of administrative malpractice, the documents show that U.N. top managers have been loath to take action. Ahlenius' report notes that OIOS successfully proved that managers of the U.N.'s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) had abused a $2.6 million trust fund provided by the Greek government, and recommended that the agency pay restitution to Athens. Then the report adds that "OIOS is still awaiting a comprehensive response" from DESA's top management.
Elsewhere, OIOS investigators report that three U.N. staff members were charged with misconduct in the Greek affair — but does not mention that in the case of at least one senior official, Guido Bertucci, head of the unit that administered the Thessaloniki project, the misconduct charge was filed only after he had retired. Bertucci has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
Uncovering misconduct like the DESA case was the purview of the Procurement Task Force, which was formed after FOX News disclosed, among other things, that a U.N. procurement officer had been handing on confidential bidding information to U.N. suppliers and funneling money through a secret Caribbean bank account. Those revelations ultimately led to two criminal convictions and a sudden U.N. desire to attack what one auditor called a "culture of impunity" in the U.N.'s $2.6 billion procurement operation.
Since the PTF's inception, a team of 10 to 18 investigators has been kept frantically busy, examining an initial mountain of 437 cases, completing 222 investigations and ultimately identifying 20 significant fraud and corruption schemes involving contracts worth some $630 million.
In the latest annual report PTF says it identified five corruption schemes involving contracts worth some $20 million. These ranged from a $1.8 million scheme by U.N. staffers to steer contracts under a U.N. payroll review project to private firms in which they shared an interest; to a $350,000 husband-and-wife scheme to steer other contracts in their own direction; to the DESA trust fund abuse case.
Much of the PTF report, however, is devoted to the obstacles that were thrown in the investigators' path by vendors who refused to cooperate in providing information on their U.N. activities, allegedly corrupt staffers who complained that non-existent due process rights were violated, and individual suppliers who were able to set up operation as U.N. vendors under a different corporate label, even after their wrongdoing had been uncovered.
The PTF said it had recommended to the U.N's legal affairs office that contracts be amended to demand vendor cooperation, and that U.N. penalties against wrongdoing by suppliers target individuals as well as corporations. As matters stand, the PTF report says, vendors are not yet required even to declare whether U.N. staffers have an interest in their business. (The U.N. is moving to make some of the suggested changes.)
The biggest PTF roadblock is the General Assembly decision to cut off funding for the investigators, which means the unit will be disbanded at the end of the year. Typically, the cutoff was disguised as something else — a demand for further information that requires time beyond the limit when the Procurement Task Force is currently funded.
In her own report, OIOS chief Ahlenius says that she will seek to provide the information next year. In the meantime, she intends to integrate some of the PTF investigators into her regular staff.
But, as Ahlenius puts it, the result will be "serious challenges" for her watchdog organization — which already faces serious challenges in many other areas brought on by the U.N.'s accustomed ways of operating.
George Russell is executive editor of FOX News.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Board of Auditors and ACABQ slam DESA for hiring hundreds of non-compliant consultants with BA and/or less education
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Sha Zukang calls for reform of World Monetary and Finance bodies but forget his own department which is engulfed by corruption and mismanagement
The Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS: A task force investigating U.N. purchasing operations reported five significant fraud or corruption schemes in contracts with a total value of more than US$20 million and said more than 50 other cases should be investigated.
In the report to the General Assembly, the U.N. Procurement Task Force said its investigators identified "improprieties, corruption and malfeasance" in a review of the U.N. pay and benefits system at U.N. headquarters in New York, in the U.N. peacekeeping operation in the Congo, and at U.N. offices in Kenya, Greece and at an undisclosed location.
It also said "significant cases ... are currently ongoing" at the UNOPS office in Afghanistan, which provides technical and administrative support to other U.N. programs, and at the Economic Commission for Africa.
U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said the report, issued earlier this month, will be discussed Thursday by the General Assembly's budget committee. It covers the period from July 1, 2007 to July 31, 2008 and was first reported by the Washington Post.
The report said that "during the reporting period, the task force has reported on five significant fraud or corruption schemes in cases with an aggregate contract value in excess of $20 million."
The task force, part of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), was established in January 2006 in response to the serious flaws in U.N. purchasing operations exposed in the probe into the US$64 billion oil-for-food program in Iraq.
Because of its investigative work, 22 U.N. vendors have faced administrative sanctions.
"Since its formation, the task force has identified more than 20 significant fraud and corruption schemes in cases with an aggregate contract value in excess of US$630 million," the report said.
The task force is only funded through Dec. 31 and cannot complete its caseload and ongoing investigations by that date, it said.
"More than 150 cases will remain, including more than 50 cases in which there are allegations of some form of fraud or corruption," the report said.
The OIOS plans to transfer the task force's caseload into its investigations division, the report said.
The task force said it has recommended that a number of cases be referred to national authorities for criminal prosecution or legal action, and that in some cases the U.N. should seek monetary damages.
Even though the task force did not identify any monetary losses for the United Nations from the five cases in the report, Montas said Wednesday that the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs has been instructed to recover losses in other recent cases.
As an example, she said, "they have successfully obtained awards and restitution amounting to over $932,000 in one case and $515,000 in another case." She did not provide any details.
In a report circulated Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that he will make the final determination on whether any rules have been breached.
"That being the case, the secretary-general reiterates that the findings of the task force should be regarded as those of the task force, and not a final determination by the organization," he said.
The report said a task force investigation uncovered a scheme to defraud UNOPS and the U.N. that was "aimed at achieving contracts with an aggregate value exceeding $350,000 and lasted for over one year and involved the staff member, the spouse and companies associated with the spouse." The report did not disclose the location.
Two staff members were dismissed and 12 companies participating in the scheme were barred from doing business with the U.N., it said.
The task force cited its March 11 report on two unidentified U.N. staff members who steered valuable contracts related to the U.N. pay and benefits system to private entities they were associated with, both during and after their U.N. employment and then used the U.N. project to gain business from another international institution.
A May 13 task force report addressed "misuse and deficiencies" in the hiring of consultants for the U.N. Thessaloniki Center for Public Service Professionalism by staff members of the U.N. Department of Social and Economic Affairs.
A June 6 report on two U.N. staff members and the U.N. mission in Congo focused on a scheme to steer valuable contracts for aircraft to a preferred vendor. "Although the task force did not find that the organization suffered any monetary loss as a result of this scheme, it suffered damages as a result of the intentional effort to corrupt the procurement process...," the report said.
The task force also investigated electrical maintenance and travel contracts at the U.N. office in Nairobi and recommended a review of the role of the officials responsible, it said.
UNITED NATIONS — A task force established to ferret out corruption in United Nations purchasing practices will report the details of five new cases involving some $20 million in contracts to the General Assembly on Thursday, as well as preliminary details of eight other inquiries.
The report, covering July 2007 to July 2008, includes several allegations of United Nations employees’ steering contracts to close relatives or to vendors involved in kickback schemes.
The report from the Procurement Task Force, leaving out some details of individuals still under investigation, was released several weeks ago, just three months before the group’s mandate from the General Assembly was scheduled to run out at the end of December.
The task force is investigating some 50 cases involving fraud or corruption, which will be transferred to the investigations division in the internal oversight office of the United Nations.
The task force has been viewed with suspicion by some United Nations members since it was formed in January 2006, after the oil-for-food scandal involving kickbacks in the program under which Iraq was allowed to sell oil and to buy humanitarian goods.
The task force report said that 22 vendors had been sanctioned by the United Nations during its years in operation and that it had identified more than 20 fraud and corruption schemes involved in some $630 million in contracts.
But the report and two responses from the United Nations underscore the tension between the Secretariat building and the task force, which is run by Robert Appleton, a former assistant United States attorney in Connecticut, and has 19 investigators of diverse nationalities.
The task force says the United Nations has not done enough to screen vendors and has allowed corrupt individuals to continue getting contracts after changing companies’ names. It also criticizes the organization for not pursuing millions of dollars in lost revenue with any zeal.
“It is a matter of concern that the task force’s recommendations for recovery actions — supported by documentary evidence of fraud, corruption and misappropriation of funds resulting in losses and damages — have not been vigorously pursued,” the report says.
Senior United Nations officials responded that often the task force did not provide the detail needed to pursue the individuals.
In its official response to the report, the Secretariat said the task force overstepped its authority in recommending whom and what to pursue. The response, issued by the office of Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, said “a recommendation or finding of severe performance failings does not necessarily constitute misconduct or bind the discretion of the secretary general.”
A clash of cultures is also evident, with the task force calling any fraud a poor reflection on the United Nations. But a review by the United Nations Board of Auditors suggested that the damage done was unclear because the task force “was only able to identify clear losses of $25 million.”
The main task force report and the secretary general’s response were first reported in The Washington Post on Tuesday. The reports were released without fanfare more than two weeks ago, quietly placed on public display racks among a blizzard of the organization’s documents.
In one case in Kenya investigated by the task force, an operations assistant involved in buying supplies via the United Nations Office for Project Services steered contracts to various companies, including one called Depasse Logistics, owned by her husband, according to the full investigation report posted on the American Embassy Web site.
The value of the contracts awarded amounted to $800,000. The woman and another employee were dismissed, and 12 companies were banned from doing business with the United Nations.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
U.N. Cites $20 Million in Fraud
Corruption Is Alleged in Congo, Kenya, Greece and New York
Tuesday, October 21, 2008; Page A13
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 20 -- A U.N. task force has uncovered five new cases of corruption, fraud and mismanagement involving $20 million in contracts throughout the international body, according to the unit's annual report to the U.N. General Assemblyand sources familiar with the findings.
The cases in the U.N. Procurement Task Force's report, which will be formally presented to U.N. members Thursday, span air charter services in Congo, office supplies in Kenya, consulting jobs in Greece and payroll services at the New York headquarters. They are the latest cases in a three-year investigation into U.N. purchasing that has exposed more than $630 million in contracts tainted by fraud, corruption or mismanagement at the United Nations.
The task force, headed by former U.S. federal prosecutor Robert Appleton and staffed by up to 18 white-collar crime experts, plans to examine at least eight more cases -- including multimillion-dollar scams at a U.N. office in Afghanistan and Geneva as well as in U.N. peacekeeping missions -- before its mandate expires Dec. 31. It will leave behind 150 incomplete cases, including 50 cases involving fraud or corruption.
In some cases, the report did not specify the amounts involved or the identities and nationalities of the companies and officials implicated, but sources familiar with the findings provided those details.
One case features a scheme by two U.N. peacekeeping officials in Congo to steer $13 million in contracts to an Angola-based air charter company between mid-2005 and 2007; the officials furnished the company with confidential documents and insider information. Another involves a U.N. procurement official who provided insider information and documents to a French firm in an effort to help it secure about $5 million for contracts to inspect humanitarian supplies. The scheme, which dates to the 1996-2003 U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq, ultimately failed and the business went to another company.
A third case involves two American employees, tasked with reviewing the United Nations' payroll and benefits policies in New York, steering $2 million in contracts to private firms in which they had a financial stake, thereby compromising "the integrity of the U.N. procurement process," according to the report. It added that the employees sought to "obstruct" the subsequent investigation "through the use of deletion software on UN computers to erase relevant documents and files."
In another case cited in the report, a Kenyan employee of the U.N. Office for Project Services -- which purchases supplies for U.N. operations worldwide -- solicited kickbacks and directed more than $350,000 in contracts to 12 companies linked to her husband and other relatives and friends. That official, and another U.N. employee, were subsequently fired.
And finally, the report describes officials with the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Services directing tens of thousands of dollars in contracts related to a project in Greece to associates and at least one relative without a competitive bidding process. A top official at the agency is also accused of using money earmarked for the Greek program to pay a consultant for a job he had done previously.
The U.N. task force was established in January 2006 to investigate corruption in U.N. procurement following the exposure of a Russian purchasing agent who received more than $1 million in kickbacks from companies doing business with the United Nations. The task force has secured misconduct findings against 17 U.N. employees, sanctioned 22 companies and provided evidence leading to the conviction of a top U.N. procurement official.
But it has butted heads with U.N. departments that found its methods too aggressive, and with U.N. member states -- including India, Russia and Singapore -- who say the unit has denied due process to their citizens.
The U.N. Office of Legal Affairs has resisted task force recommendations to pursue criminal charges against corrupt U.N. officials and contractors in foreign courts and to recover ill-gotten profits in foreign courts. "The task force's recommendations of recovery actions -- supported by documentary evidence of fraud, corruption and misappropriation of funds resulting in losses and damages -- have not been vigorously pursued," the report says.
It also criticized the United Nations' system for monitoring corrupt firms, noting that one company suspended for misconduct by the world body continues to do business with other U.N. funds and agencies. In "more than a handful of cases," the report said, "perpetrators of fraudulent and corrupt schemes have been able to simply reconstitute themselves under a separate corporate identity."
The task force has also come under scrutiny. The U.N. Board of Auditors conducted an inquiry following allegations by Singapore that the task force had trampled the rights of one of its citizens. While the auditors cleared the task force of violating due process rights and said that it "may have served as a deterrent to corrupt behaviour," their July report also played down the extent of wrongdoing, saying the task force "did not expose widespread corruption." It said the United Nations could identify only "clear losses of $25 million, of which $20 million related to the same person."
But the task force countered that the full dollar amount of a contract tainted by corruption -- not just the money that changes hands through corruption -- should represent the damage to an organization. "The actual monetary loss is not the appropriate measure of harm in a corruption case," the report stated.
Saturday, 18 October 2008
As a staff member of UN-DESA for more than 15 years, I have witness with great concern the increasing attack by critics in the United States and other countries towards our department. The truth at the heart of our department's mounting problems is an almost total lack of accountability, which gives rise to suspicions of wholesale corruption. With the latest publication from your BLOG and reputable MEDIA on Guido Bertucci's, EO's and TCMS's practices, indicates that corruption and mismanagement go beyond the routine fraud, waste, and abuse of resources.
UN-DESA's budgets are shrouded in secrecy, and the actual performance is translucent, if not opaque. There is no reliable way to determine whether the various and often competing Divisions and/or Branches are doing their jobs, and many DESA activities, even if they are of some value, can be carried out better and more efficiently by other groups (NGOs or even UN Funds and Programmes). Other activities should not be undertaken at all.
The latest available evidence from OIOS investigations coupled with DESA's management unwillingness to undergo a thorough audit raise serious questions about our mission and the means used to carry it out. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's rationale that the UN is accountable to all its 185 member-states is meaningless. Such an amorphous standard of accountability is akin to saying no one is responsible.
Today UN-DESA, our/my Department, is in dire need of reform, starting with a comprehensive, independent audit of all our activities and programmes.
Even if a complete audit were performed inside DESA today, however, with the current leadership and management - there is no guarantee anything would be done about the problems identified. And radical change may not be possible, no matter how obvious the need. Given all the earlier, failed attempts to put things right, even on a limited basis, staff optimism about meaningful reform may be an exercise in wishful thinking.
Its 18 months since Mr. Sha Zukang came at DESA, and nothing has changed so far. While I remain skeptical about CHANGE, I hope that your BLOG will open the eyes of the outsiders and media and pressure our managers to do the right thing for once.
a DESA employee
(name withhold for fear of retaliation)
Friday, 17 October 2008
Such threats should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following the United Nations and its Funds and Programmes recently. The world's premier international institution has been wracked by widespread scandal and mismanagement.
The exposure of the corrupt Public Administration Programme (DPADM) and shocking accounts of procurement and contracts by U.N DESA's Executive Office and Technical Cooperation Unit (TCMS) in far too many places would be enough to close down most organizations — but not the United Nations's DESA.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon as well as USG Sha Zukang admit there are serious problems — and have promised change. But with the United States taxpayers contributing the lion's share of the U.N.'s bloated budget — $2 billion a year — promises of change aren't good enough.
Time has come to address the U.N.'s legendary bureaucratization, billions of dollars spent on multitudes of programs with meager results, and outright misappropriation and mismanagement of funds.
And there's a stick: If the UN DESA doesn't implement — and certify — the changes stipulated in many OIOS and Procurement Task Force Reports — including budget, human resources overhauling, Executive Office and Technical Cooperation cleanup — the U.S. government should withhold its U.N. dues payment.
UN Staff believes that without applying appropriate "leverage," such as withholding up to half of America's assessed dues or mandating cuts in specific U.N. programs, that reforms "will fail or be incomplete at best." Considering the U.S. pays 22 percent of the U.N. budget, a cut of that magnitude would be a painful dose of "tough love."
The only way to improve UN-DESA's effectiveness and efficiency is to cut its resources and oblige its management to rethink the way it does business, and deal with its growing cancer.
The UN Staff recognizes that U.N. reforms need to be kick-started. With Ban Ki-moon leaving his post at the end of his term in 24 months, many see him now as a lame duck, and woefully incapable of implementing any meaningful reform agenda.
As it stands now, without serious US congressional pressure and leadership, reforms are likely to languish until a new and more energetic secretary-general is in place — at best. At worst, reform will be frustrated and infinitum by the U.N.'s (DESA) entrenched bureaucracy.
It is outrageous the spending that DESA does on conferences and useless meetings. 70% of DESA's budget goes to meaningless meetings and round tables which produce nothing and does nothing to alleviate poverty and help the poor around the world.
Since the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs can't—or won't — reform, US Congress will have to step in and save the world body from itself.
UN Staff call on all media to turn their attention to UN-DESA and its growing corruption and miss management. We need to scrutinize and held accountable DESA's management while inform the public of what is happening inside this UN institution.
Thursday, 16 October 2008
In this report OIOS reveals how DESA's Executive Office (Catherine Peluso) and DESA's Technical Cooperation Management Services (Marie Oveissi and Furio De Tomassi) abused their power and rewarded contracts to individuals (consultants) without any criteria and/or proper bidding process.
The report shows that in the case of Peluso that she awarded out of 30 sample contracts - 10 contract to the same individual. While in the case of Oveissi and De Tomassi out of 37 sample of contracts, 34 of them were missing and destroyed.
We the DESA staff demand from Mr. Sha Zukang and our management to take immediate action and remove from DESA the above mentioned staff who, with their irresponsible actions, have brought shame and destroyed our reputation.
Here is a part of the OIOS report to General Assembly (ART.35 Page 16)
35. In an audit of the use of consultants and individual contractors by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (AN2007/540/02), OIOS found that the procedure for ensuring competitive selection was not spelled out by the Office of Human Resources Management of the Department of Management with a view to ensuring compliance by departments/offices. In addition, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs had not established internal procedures to ensure uniformly that the selection of consultants was competitive, fully documented, economical and in the best interests of the United Nations. Consequently, contracts were being awarded repeatedly to a limited number of consultants without documentation of a competitive process. For example, OIOS found that, of a sample of 37 contracts administered by the Technical Cooperation Management Services, documentation justifying the selection of candidates was not available in 34 files. In the contracts processed by the Executive Office of the Department, while 27 of 30 contracts sampled did document the names of the candidates who were considered, the same names were repeated in 10 of the contracts. The OIOS recommendations contained in the report are in the process of being implemented.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Consultants and experts
32. Administrative instruction ST/AI/1999/7 refers to the need to rely on a central roster of candidates of consultants and contractors. The Board observed that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs did not have a common roster of consultants that its divisions could rely upon.The Board noted that those divisions have indicated that consultants are recruited on the basis of objective information aimed at taking into account the adequacy of their skills and professional experience. The Board also noted that there was a tendency to re-hire consultants instead of hiring new ones, and that between 2004 and 2007 most consultants
originated from three European countries.The same administrative instruction also stated that external consultants should be hired only in cases where in-house expertise is not available. During its hearings with the Audit Operations Committee, the Advisory Committee was informed that to date, the Board had not examined whether the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and other departments had conducted a search for in-house expertise prior to hiring external consultants.The Committee recalls General Assembly resolution 53/221 and other relevant resolutions, and in this regard encourages the Board to examine this matter further.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Monday, 6 October 2008
|COMPARISON OF EDUCATON AND EXPERIENCE|
|1991||Master's (Laurea) Political Science, Magana cum Laude, Department of Politics and International Studies), University of Bologna, Italy||1991||Visiting Fellow, Birmingham University, Institute of Judicial Administration, UK||1200 Miles|
|1992||Post-Graduate Diploma in Judicial Studies, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain||1992-1993||Visiting Fellow, Center of International Studies (CIS), Princeton University, New Jersey, USA||4300 Miles|
|1997||Ph.D. (Social and Political Sciences), European University Institute (EUI), Fiesole (FI), Italy||1996||Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Social Studies, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Cordoba, Spain||1200 Miles|
|1994- 1997||Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse Programme in Italy|
|1991- 1998||Researcher, Centre for Judicial Studies, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy|
|COMPARISON OF EXPERIENCE DATES WITHIN EXPERIENCE|
|EXPERIENCE||EXPERIENCE (DON’T MATCH)|
|1991||Visiting Fellow, Birmingham University, Institute of Judicial Administration, UK||1991||Visiting Fellow, Birmingham University, Institute of Judicial Administration, UK|
|1991- 1998||Researcher, Centre for Judicial Studies, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy|
|1992-1993||Visiting Fellow, Center of International Studies (CIS), Princeton University, New Jersey, USA||1991- 1998||Researcher, Centre for Judicial Studies, Faculty of Political Science, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy|
|1994- 1997||Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse Programme in Italy||1994- 1997||Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse Programme in Italy|
|1996||Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Social Studies, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Cordoba, Spain|
|1996||Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Social Studies, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Cordoba, Spain||1994- 1997||Professor, Syracuse University, Syracuse Programme in Italy|
|1998- 1999||Associate Expert in Governance, Regional Project Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, DPEPA, UN/DESA, New York||1998||Researcher at Scienter, Consulting and Research non-for-profit organisation on Training and Education, Bologna, Italy|
|1998||Professor, Dickinson College, Centre for European Studies, Bologna, Italy|| |