In Doss Nepotism Scandal, UNDP Denies Whistleblower Status, No Appeal Possible, It Says

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- In another showing of the UN system's weak or non-existent protections for whistleblowers, Inner City Press learned Wednesday that the UN Development Program has ruled against Nicolas Baroncini, whose job was given to the daughter of the UN's top envoy to the Congo Alan Doss after Doss asked for "leeway" so she could be hired.

Baroncini, who was aware of Doss' request for leeway from an e-mail Baroncini opened in the course of his work, was told to leave UNDP. When he asked to speak to his consulate, he says, he was tackled and maced, after which Security Officer Peter Kolonias emerged with bite marks requiring medical attention. There is no doubt, however, that Baroncini was asked to leave after he complained and showed evidence about nepotism. That is retaliation, and makes Baroncini a whistleblower.

UNDP, however, seems to have an insurmountably high definition of whistleblowers. Baroncini was informed that there has only been one whistleblower acknowledged in UNDP in the past two years. When UNDP refused even to follow the findings of the UN's Ethics Office with respect to a whistleblower, then UNDP chief Kemal Dervis argued that UNDP was independent from the UN Ethics system. Dervis set up his own ethics system, and Ban Ki-moon and his spokespeople said that those adversely ruled on could appeal to UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson.

But Baroncini has been informed that there is no appeal of UNDP's ruling that he is not a whistleblower. It seems to give an agency like UNDP an incentive to fire before a person files a formal complaint, and then internally deny whistleblower status to avoid any appeal across the street to the UN Ethics Office.

UNDP's Helen Clark and "her" PM, Key of N Zealand, answers to wider press not shown

It is a system in need of near total reform, and we will follow up on this.

Footnote: While Rebecca Doss remains in place in UNDP's Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, sources speak to Inner City Press about an annual leave, a failure to yet pay, an attempt to find job(s) outside of New York to relieve the pressure, including across the street on the Secretariat. Meanwhile, UNDP's Admininistrator Helen Clark has yet to answer any questions about the scandal, or even to hold any press availability in UN headquarters, despite routinely making herself available to the New Zealand press. Who, some ask, is she working for? Watch this site.