UNITED NATIONS, November 24 – On November 20, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York issued an indictment against former Senegal foreign minister Cheikh Gadio as well as against the head of the China Energy Fund Committee Patrick Ho, who is accused of bribing former UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, now as then the foreign minister of Uganda. Contrary to the indictment which says Kutesa stepped down as Foreign Minister during his year as UN PGA, Inner City Press asked him on September 14, 2015 and Kutesa said, "I am still foreign minister." Scoop here, video here.
While the UN of Secretary General Antonio Guterres, even after the indictment and Inner City Press' public questions went forward on November 21 with CEFC's money, see below, in Kampala members of Parliament are calling for Kutesa to resign as foreign minister.
On November 24, Inner City Press asked three of Guterres' spokespeople questions, including: "in light of the indictment announced Nov 20 involving Patrick Ho of CEFC, Cheikh Gadio and alleging acts by former UN PGA Sam Kutesa and others, please provide a list of all funds received by the UN or any of its funds, programs or agencies from CEFC or its affiliates, the use of those funds and how much remains, and all information regarding selection processes for disbursement of the funds. Please provide dates and details of CEFC's sponsorship of events in the UN, and interactions with ECOSOC, for the past five years. Also please state the status of Cheikh Gadio's entry into the UN, whether via the OIC or otherwise. Regarding the year in which Sam Kutesa was UN PGA, please provide a list of all UN funds used for his travel, including but not limited to China or Uganda, the composition of his delegation(s) and any and all Special Advisers to the PGA that he named. There will be more questions."
There certainly will be. Because this is the entirety of the UN's response to the above: "On the CEFC, we have the following information: The decision to grant consultative status lies with Member States and is exercised through the Economic and Social Council and its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. Under the resolution, consultative status may be established with organizations a) concerned with matters falling within the competence of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies; b) whose aims and purposes are in conformity with the spirit, purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and c) that can contribute to the work of the UN in accordance with their own aims and purposes and the nature and scope of their competence and activities. Special consultative status is conferred to organizations that have a special competence in or are concerned with a limited number of fields of activity covered by the Council and its subsidiary bodies. Regarding questions concerning Sam Kutesa, please address those to the Government of Uganda, for which he was working, including during his time as President of the General Assembly."
That is, there is no explanation of Guterres' DESA using CEFC's funds after the indictment, no information about UN spending on Kutesa's trip(s) to China. A total cover-up. Meanwhile the UN, implicated, canceled Guterres' photo op involving the CEFC money but went forward and used it, while the event remained on the schedule of Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed, embroiled in a scandal involving the signing of 4,000 certificates for rosewood illegal logged in Cameroon and Nigeria and already in China. Ironically, she will be delivering the "Nelson Mandela" address. We'll have more on this.
On Thanksgiving eve November 22 at 4 pm in an otherwise empty courthouse at 500 Pearl Street, bail was sought for Gadio, so he could spend Thanksgiving in Maryland. Federal Defender - assigned counsel - Sabrina Shroff lambasted the prosecutors for delaying. She said that unlike Ng Lap Seng, the billionaire Macau-based businessman now still under house arrest despite six guilty verdicts in connection with UN bribery, her client is not a billionaire. Notably, he has said he is financially unable to retain counsel. Judge Marrero did not set him free on bail, setting the matter over for Monday after Thanksgiving. On the elevator down the prosecution was accused of "white man-splaining;" reference was made to Daniel Richenthal, prosecutor in the Ng Lap Seng trial as well, and to the UN International School. We'll have more on this - and another of Gadio's roles that brought him to the UN Press Briefing Room in October 2015, as "Special Envoy of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the Central African Republic." The UN, increasingly, is corrupt. It is alleged that Chadian president Deby took bribes for oil concessions in Chad, and that 2014-15 UN President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa took bribes for oil concessions in Uganda. Kutesa's predecessor John Ashe died under indictment; the depths of the UN's corruption extend into 2017 with the signing of dubious rosewood export certificates in Nigeria by Secretary General Antonio Guterres' Deputy Amina J. Mohammed and set-aside UN employment for the German Ambassador's wife, via Guterres' chief of staff. At noon on November 21 Inner City Press asked Guterres spokesman Farhan Haq about the indictment and CEFC and its $5 million grant program with UN DESA, transcript here and below. Guterres had a 5:45 pm photo op with the "Winners of the Annual Award of the UN Grant on Sustainable Energy" - which seems to have been funded by China Energy Fund Committee, under the heading "Powering the Future We Want." He "canceled," photos here, but his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed was still listed giving remarks for / at the event at 1 pm, though at 5:30 pm those remarks were not on her website unlike later 2:30 pm remarks. On November 22 Inner City Press asked their spokesman Farhan Haq, who argued that the indictment is only of "Doctor Patrick Ho" personally, so it was fine to keep and go forward with CEFC's money. (He said Amina J. Mohammed did not speak.) But Ho founded and chairs CEFC, here is a photograph of Ho with UN DESA's former chief. Apparently things are more and more lax under Guterres: even Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Foundation's money was returned. (Kutesa was also in the Ng Lap Seng case). Is the UN more hard up? The corruption is not past but current. From the UN's November 21 noon briefing transcript: Inner City Press: there was an indictment yesterday by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York that's very… I would say… call it UN related. A company called China Energy Fund Committee was… as alleged, funnelled $500,000 bribes to Sam Kutesa, former President of the General Assembly. The indictment describes the meetings taking place not… on this very floor, on the second floor, setting up these bribes. And so I have a couple of questions. One is… and these were… these… mentioned in the indictment is the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, who is… as you know, is a mediator on the Burundi file. So, I wanted to know, number one, after this indictment, what is the UN's office of OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services] doing to look at the… the… the UN persons that may… that… implicated in it? Two, is China Energy Fund Committee still affil… accredited by ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council]? And they seem to have a project with DESA [Department of Economic and Social Affairs], a $5 million project with DESA. And, three, what does this mean for… for the… Mr. [Michel] Kafando's and the Secretary-General's view of the Museveni role in the Burundi mediation? Spokesman: Well, regarding the question of Burundi mediation, obviously, he has a role separate and apart from the work of our envoy, Michel Kafando. You just heard a briefing from Mr. Kafando yesterday about what his work is on that. Regarding Mr. Kutesa, we don't have anything particular to say about his dealings as the Foreign Minister of Uganda. Obviously, he has served as a General Assembly President, and we want to make sure that all officials of the UN, including the General Assembly President, abide strictly by norms avoiding corruption and bribery. Obviously, how that is enforced is an issue for the specific Member States, so we would refer you, in this case, to the Member State of Uganda, which is responsible for Mr. Kutesa. And regarding the CEFC that you just mentioned, yes, they have accreditation at ECOSOC. We're checking with our colleagues in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs about the nature of their projects and what the status of that is. Inner City Press: There's a $5 million project that's online, which I guess… what I'm saying is, coming after the Ng Lap Seng/John Ashe case, it seems some sort of consonant with it. Basically, you have a big NGO [non-governmental organization] using UN access to purchase a… if the allegations are true, a PGA [President of the General Assembly]. And so, I guess I'm wondering, from the UN side, beyond referring to the Ugandan mission or whatever else, are there any reflections, number one, on how this process… what due diligence did DESA do before… before linking up with this NGO that's clearly a subsidiary of a Chinese oil company that was paying bribes in Chad, as well? Spokesman: "Well, the information about them paying bribes is something that's come out today. The ECOSOC accreditation came out sometime prior to all of this. So, that's a separate issue. Regarding the sort of probity we expect from officials, including General Assembly presidents, of course, we know that they belong to Member States, but we want them to uphold the high standards. This is something we made clear during John Ashe's time. This is something we're making clear now. And, of course, I believe my colleague Brenden will have more to say about the presidency of the General Assembly regarding this. But, again, these are issues that the Member States themselves will need to take responsibility for. These are officials of Member States. These are not staff of the United Nations. " The Kutesa scam began in long meetings in the UN PGA's office on the UN's second floor - where the UN now requires investigative Inner City Press to have a minder, unlike other correspondents - between Kutesa and China-based NGO China Energy Fund Committee led by Patrick C.P. Ho. The scheme involved Kutesa naming Ho a "Special Adviser to the PGA," and hosting an NGO meeting in the UN in April 2015. Kutesa traveled as PGA to China as part of the scheme. Ho's approach was through Kutesa's chief of staff Arthur Kafeero, whom as Inner City Press exclusively reported in August 2015 Kutesa tried to plant in the UN's Department of Political Affairs. See Inner City Press scoop here; note that the UN evicted Inner City Press for its corruption coverage in early 2016 and has kept it restricted since, even as UN corruption continues, even grows. And what do the member states do? On November 20 Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Matthew Rycroft about the scandal and he said, "I'll look into that and get back to you." Video here. Update (no comment, cite to SDGs, here). From the US Attorney: "HO caused a $500,000 bribe to be paid, via wires transmitted through New York, New York, to an account designated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda, who had recently completed his term as the President of the UN General Assembly (the “Ugandan Foreign Minister”). HO also provided the Ugandan Foreign Minister, as well as the President of Uganda, with gifts and promises of future benefits, including offering to share the profits of a potential joint venture in Uganda involving the Energy Company and businesses owned by the families of the Ugandan Foreign Minister and the President of Uganda. These payments and promises were made in exchange for assistance from the Ugandan Foreign Minister in obtaining business advantages for the Energy Company, including the potential acquisition of a Ugandan bank." We'll have more on this. Sam Kutesa had offshore accounts in the Seychelles, to receive funds from Enhas, a company of which despite the UN denying it to Inner City Press is listed as doing business with the UN's mission in the Congo, MONUSCO. The accounts, but not the UN / MONUSCO connection, have been revealed the leaked Appleby / Paradise Papers. Inner City Press on November 7 asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly about it, yielding only an answer that the current PGA is striving to make public his disclosure form but will not speak to former (or clearly, past) PGAs. Video here. But how then can the UN be said to have cleaned up after PGA John Ashe, RIP, was indicted for bribery? We'll have more on this. For now, this: it is telling that the new pro-UN book "A Worldly Affair," though copyrighted 2017, does not even mention the 2016 UN bribery scandal of former President of the General Assembly John Ashe, much less now convicted briber Ng Lap Seng. It does however praise Antonio Guterres, who came in as Secretary General in 2017, and acknowledge Maher Nasser, who moderated an event promoting the book, and shouting down the Press which asked about Ashe and Ng. Haiti is mentioned in connection with Brooklyn - diplomats living there, and "Albanians in The Bronx." It is an essentially elitist book, with a sidebar o the UN's mansion at 3 Sutton Place, bought in 1972 for Kurt Waldheim and renovated at a cost of $4.5 million for Ban Ki-moon. It derides the cheap construction of Uganda House, and laughs at the penthouse in Libya House shown by Ali "Treiki." For weeks the UN promoted its book event featuring author Pamela Hanlon.
But when Inner City Press went and asked about the UN having brought cholera to Haiti and paid nothing, and whether Haitians in Brooklyn had been able to get any accountability from the UN, there was no answer.
A heckler in the audience said loudly that the question was not appropriate. Video here. So Inner City Press followed up on Ms. Hanlon's statement that the land under the UN is still US territory. If so, what of John Ashe selling diplomatic posts from inside his UN General Assembly President's office, and Inner City Press for covering the scandal being thrown out onto First Avenue by eight UN Security officers? Audio here. (NYPD told Inner City Press it has no jurisdiction to take criminal complaints, even for assault, for anything east of the First Avenue curb.)
That question wasn't answered, either, including by Penny Abeywardena, Commissioner of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs.
Instead Maher Nasser, in charge of the UN Department of Public Information for months this year said “it's always about you” and ended the event, encouraging those present to buy books for signing. Then on October 20, Nasser brought about a Kafka-esque threeat to Inner City Press' accreditation. And so it goes at the UN.