Monday, October 12, 2015

Ashe makes the UN Sec-Gen a proposal

It looks like this is what Ashe was trying to push on the UN. What you see here people is a letter by John Ashe to the UN Secretary General in February 2012. If you've following this Lap Seng saga involving the UN bribery scheme, you will know that Lap Seng is charged with bribing Ashe and Lorenzo to get them to have the UN bring a massive center to Macao, a center that he Lap Seng would build and operate. This letter by Ashe clearly indicates that Lap Seng's company, Sun Kian Ip Group is involved.

UN document A/66/758

Ashe has some explaining to do to the feds. And you can bet Lap Seng ain't going to take all this by himself; you think Beyonce can sing? She cannot hold a melody like Lap Seng, just watch.

Anyhow, the Office of the UN Secretary General has a press briefing on October 8th and naturally, this came up in the reporters questions (don't you wish our reporters in Dominica were as relentless in their pursuit of the news as those in other countries?).

Exerts from reporters questions to Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

Question:  On the issue of the audit, it's just that yesterday the… there were questions about the office for South‑South Cooperation having received $1.5 million, and they were looking into it.  I wonder if you have an update about specifically that case.
Spokesman:  Yes.  I mean the South‑South office has been… I'll just share with you what they sent us that the… the foundation… the Sun Kian Ip Group foundation donation of $1.5 million together with support from national Governments, NGOs, UN foundations and others was used by the Office in keeping with its mandate to organize conferences on South‑South and triangular cooperation in the context of the post‑2015 development agenda in Bangladesh in May 2015 and in Macau in August 2015.  In addition, the donation is being used to support preparations for the ministerial South‑South Conference on Science and Technology and the Group of 77 Thematic Summit on South‑South Cooperation that will be held in 2016, programme support for the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty and for the operational costs of the South‑South global assets and technology exchange.  The disbursement of funding on these initiatives was carried out in full compliance with UN standards and guidelines.  All disbursed funds were tracked and accounted for, and there's no evidence that any funds received by the Office of South‑South Cooperation were misdirected or misappropriated.  However, at the director's request… and I think as I had mentioned there is a new director, whose first day at work was actually on Monday… all of the elements of the [United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation’s] partnership with the Sun Kian Ip Group were currently under review.  And I can share with you what I've just read out, as well.  Go ahead.
Question:  No, but just to follow up — tracking the funds, organizing conferences, I mean, isn't it questionable to do this with money from a real-estate developer?
Spokesman:  Well, I think… you know, obviously, as I said, they're looking at these things.  The money was accepted from a foundation into the Office, I think, as if taken other monies from other foundations and is being used in accordance with its mandate.  I can put you in touch with the South‑South office, and they could probably answer further questions.  Mr. Lee?
Question:  Sure.  I just want to say on that, I did e-mail them yesterday with questions I have not received any response to yet, just for the record.  But, what I wanted to ask you is, it seems like he's asking OIOS to look at these two foundations, but in the indictment, there's direct information about the Secretariat… [John] Ashe and [Francis] Lorenzo dealing directly with the Secretariat.  And I'm referring to the GA [General Assembly] document that was revised for technical reasons to add in the name of the Macau real estate company.  And it says that Ashe and Lorenzo spoke to UN official number one, who, in turn, produced a document that said “revised for technical” reasons with the name of the real estate company into it.  So, this was not an interaction with either foundation.  It was an interaction directly with the Secretariat.  I wanted to know, this has been out for a couple days.  Who in the Secretariat put in the real estate company and called it a technical change?  That's one example.
Spokesman:  I don't have anything further to say about that, but obviously, in his… Secretariat staff often instructed by the office of the… by relevant Member States when they're producing sponsoring resolutions to put in the text, that's what the Secretariat does.  Nothing was done at the behest of… nothing was done by UN staff.  It was done at the request of Member States.
Question:  No, but I guess what happened here is, when you read paragraphs 40 and around there in the indictment, the companies were paying Ashe to obtain this official document, and once the number was assigned, document A/66/758, then they called somebody in the UN staff and said, can you reissue it with the name of a real estate company into it?  Which, i.e., it seems like, in the first instance, it wouldn't have gotten a number if it had the name of a company in it.  So, it's a very tricky business…
Spokesman:  Listen, I think those… what is contained in UN documents produced by Member States is for Member States to decide.
Correspondent:  And I want to ask you, there's another… because… is this the full… I wanted to ask you about this South‑South Awards for which DPI [Department of Public Information] sent out a press release as if it were a UN thing…
Spokesman:  I think it was a mistake.
Question:  Okay.  That involved Mr. Lorenzo, now indicted, et cetera, and I wanted to know, what was the relationship of the UN to that event?  I know that the head of DPI attended.  I know that the brochure that they put out has an enormous Ban Ki‑moon, and you know, quote in it.  What is… can you describe… and why this entity is not among the entities that you're naming will be looked at by OIOS, given that Mr. Lorenzo was the president of it and had 12 million… you know, a lot of money?
Spokesman:  South‑South was a news organization.  This was an event that the Secretaries‑General have sent messages to, and I have nothing to add on it.
Correspondent:  Just… I… they say awards is different than news.  To defend the news people, they say this is a separate entity.
Spokesman:  Matthew, I'll come back to you.  Yes?
Question:  I have two questions.  Sorry.  Thank you.  Two questions.  One, why the change of course since yesterday?  Why did the Secretary‑General decide to launch an independent investigation?  Has anything changed?  Did you receive new information?  Secondly, Global Compact says that it expelled the Sun Kian Group in April because of lack of transparency and report… failure to produce a report for two years.  So, if Global Compact has expelled them because they're not transparent, then why does South‑South Cooperation accept $1.5 million from them?  Is there no communication between the two?
Spokesman:  I think, the way I read the reasoning for the Global Compact is that they failed to comply with the reporting rules.  That's the way I read, that they didn't file the reporting rules they're supposed to send.  As for questions for… regarding UN South‑South, I think you need to address it to them.  On your… on your first point, I think…

You read it first on MITC. Happy Blogging.

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