Tuesday, 5 July 2011

As IMF Stays French for 5 Years, Contrast With UN's Even Greater Lack of Oversight of Ban Ki-moon

Click here to read this @ InnercityPress.Com

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- The disclosure by the International Monetary Fund of Christine Lagarde's terms of appointment for the next five years, on July 5 at 9 am, stand in contrast to those of Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General of the UN.

First, that Lagarde is getting a full five years represents another loss for the developing world countries which pushed for a non-European to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

When it became clear that Lagarde would beat out Mexico's Carstens, some predicted that there would be an understanding that the next Managing Director would be from the developing world, and in less that five years. The latter, the letter of appointment indicates, is not the case.

But the IMF letter of appointment contains restrictions on conflicts of interest, receiving honors and even travel pay which the UN either doesn't have for Ban, or does not disclosure.

The IMF letter of appointment provides:

you will not accept any honor, decoration or award during your tenure with the Fund without the approval of the Executive Board, which shall only be given in circumstances where the acceptance of an honor, decoration or award would not give rise to an actual or perceived conflict of interest.”

At the IMF, waiver would be need by the Executive Board. At the UN, while the selection of the S-G is ostensibly by the General Assembly, they provide little to no oversight thereafter. Waivers are gotten through the Ethics Officer, who is selected by Ban: a conflict.

It's worth noting that the one slightly more independent overseer of the S-G, the Under Secretary General of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, had an occupant, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, who was sharply critical of Ban when she left. Her successor, selected by Ban, has said little on the topic.

The IMF letter provides that

The Fund will reimburse you per diem at the rate applicable to Executive Directors plus reasonable vouchered expenses not covered by the per diem, including all hotel expenses, incurred by you for travel in the interest of the Fund. Such expenses shall include travel and hotel expenses of your spouse/partner in attending Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors held outside the Washington, D.C. area, and in accompanying you on official travel in circumstances where this is in the interest of the Fund.”

By contrast, how much the UN pays for the travel of Ban, his family and entourage is entirely opaque. When Inner City Press even asked about what happens with the airline travel miles of Ban, who speaks about the environment, no answer was provided.

Lagarde & Ban: 5 years of politics, but 1 can be removed, the other can't

The IMF emailed to accredited media an embargoed copy of Lagarde's appointment letter. The UN won't provide details about Ban's terms of service even when directly asked as its noon briefing.

The IMF Executive Board hold an annual “performance feedback process” with the Managing Director. Ban proceeds for five years with little to no oversight.

Perhaps most significantly, the IMF letter provides

It is our understanding that, although you have been appointed for a term of five years, either you or the Executive Board shall be free to terminate your connection with the Fund at any time.”

At the UN, there appears to be no mechanism at all for removal.

Footnote: The IMF also provides to its Managing Director that “you are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct, consistent with the values of integrity.” Whether this permits what even the New York Post now presents as the purchase of -- but non payment for -- sexual services has not made clear, as DSK resigned, paving the way for five years for his compatriot Lagarde...

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