Ban Ki-moon, the new secretary general of the United Nations has disclosed he has a daughter and son-in-law working for UNICEF in Nairobi. But he refuses to reveal what they actually do there. From Claudia Rosett: (her links included)
In what certainly qualifies as a step forward from the days of Kofi Annan, the new secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, on Friday became — as far as I know — the first UN official to actually disclose to the public his filled-in UN financial “disclosure” form. You can read it here. (ed--sideways) But Ban’s office then took half a step back. Ban notes on his form that he has a daughter and son-in-law, Ban Hyun Hee and Siddarth Chatterjee, working for UNICEF in Nairobi. When the online editor of The New York Sun, Daniel Freedman, phoned Ban’s office for details such as what Ban’s kin are doing for UNICEF, he was told the UN “can’t give out details.”
From the New York Sun link:
We originally planned to salute Mr. Ban for his openness. Unlike Kofi Annan, who refused to release his financial details, Mr. Ban did make public his financial disclosure statement. But when we made routine calls to the United Nations to ask about Mr. Ban's financial disclosure form, we were met by a wall of silence.
We called UNICEF to ask how long Mr. Ban's daughter and son-in-law have been employed by the United Nations, and to ask what their positions are in the Nairobi office. When a spokesman got back to us he said that the "S.G. has asked not to pass on any information about them out of respect for her privacy" and said that all questions should be referred to the Secretary General's office.
When we pointed out to the spokesman that the questions were very simple and hardly an invasion of privacy, he acknowledged this was true and said the request from the Secretary General's office was "strange," but said that was the instructions he'd been given.
When Mr. Ban's office finally returned our calls for comment, a spokesman told us that he "doesn't know how long they've been working" for the United Nations and "can't give out details." The spokesman confirmed that she is "definitely a field officer" for UNICEF, but said that those "agencies have their own hiring processes" and he "can't give information about her own contract." The spokesman wouldn't say anything about Mr. Ban's son-in-law.
.....if Mr. Ban is trying to distance himself from the murkiness that marked Kofi Annan's tenure at the United Nations -- with many questions remaining about the role of his son, Kojo, and how Kofi Annan's influence helped him attain contracts -- it would pay to answer these simple questions.
The questions are:
1 - How long have Mr. Ban's daughter and son-in-law been employed by the United Nations for?
2 - What are their positions?
3 - Did Mr. Ban play any role in them getting the position?
If there has been no wrong-doing, why the secrecy?
In Claudia's post she notes that UNICEF was involved in the oil-for-food scandal and now the "Cash for Kim scandal in North Korea". Secretary-General Ban should answer the questions posed by The New York Sun, but absent pressure by member nations he probably won't. This is just more of the same from the United Nations.
What Ban should be doing now is not brushing off The New York Sun, but answering the questions and calling for the rest of his senior staff to disclose and do the same.