Is the UNOPS reform glass half-full or half-empty?

29 August 2022 – Mukesh Kapila

Photo by Michelle Riach on Pexels.com

In exposing misconduct and mismanagement at UNOPS through a dozen or so articles in this series, some common themes have emerged to explain how egregious misdeeds including profiteering, fraud, and corruption got embedded at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), enabled by an unaccountable leadership that enjoyed widescale impunity.  These factors came together in the explosive failure of UNOPS’s dodgy S3i initiative that sustained multi-million-dollar losses.

The UNOPS (and UNDP, UNFPA) Board meeting on  29th August to 2nd September in New York will consider progress with UNOPS reform, initiated after the appointment of Mr Jens Wandel as Acting Executive Director.  Available Board papers  and other information coming from within UNOPS provide useful insights.  Several governments and UNOPS partners have got in touch for my analysis that is openly offered in this article.

A systemic failure of oversight

By any standard and over many years, the  UN Secretary General Mr Antonio Guterres, his UN Secretariat, and the UNOPS Executive Board have been failing their oversight role. It took a globally-publicised scandal shaking the foundations of the wider UN system to rouse them.  The suspension or severe restriction and conditionalising of UNOPS funding from important  governmental and multilateral donors such as the US, EU,  Global Fund and World Bank finally compelled action.  

At the core of the UNOPS debacle was lack of supervision and oversight.  The irony is that the highly-bureaucratic UN system is not short of oversight bodies. But UNOPS is a past master at ignoring them or doing as little as possible as late as possible.

Thus, a staggering 150 recommendations for UNOPS action, from the UN Board of Auditors, Joint Investigations Unit,  Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and UNOPS’s own Internal Audit and Investigations Group – several  of them going back at least two years – are still open. 107 of them are promised to be implemented by the end of 2022.

While this is awaited, it is fair to point out that several of UNOPS’s open recommendations depend on system-wide actions to be taken.  However, the Secretary General  has been in no hurry  to take remedial action to reduce the myriad risks and vulnerabilities to the UN’s  integrity. This is good news for extra-slippery entities such as UNOPS as it provides excuse and alibi for continuation of its own shady practices.

Therefore, it is no wonder that trust in the UN system  is at its lowest since its foundation – at a time that the United Nations is needed more than ever.

Internal control systems

The Board demanded a third-party review of “UNOPS internal control systems, risk management and overall governance structures including an assessment of the integrity of the wider UNOPS portfolio”. This is quite a hotch-potch of issues lumped together. They are also complex matters raising questions of methodology as well. Unsurprisingly, this review is somewhat delayed. It is supposed to report by the end of November. Only a rushed, superficial approach will allow this deadline to be hit. Inevitably, that has the possibility of affecting the credibility and utility of this review.     

Ethics review

As with other internal control functions that had been ‘captured’ by a self-serving UNOPS leadership, the Ethics Office has been heavily – and justifiably – criticised for failing its duty. The Board  has demanded an independent third-party review; this is not expected to report until well into 2023.

Meanwhile, a new ethics policy and an “operational instruction on protection against retaliation” have been instituted over recent days.  We wait to see how they work out in practice.  A lot depends on the competence , integrity, and independence of whoever is appointed to a renewed Ethics Office.  

Internal audit and investigations

A core accountability problem was the functioning of UNOPS’s Internal Audit and Investigations Group (IAIG).  Executive Board decision DP/2022/27 asked for a comprehensive review of its independence.  This has been conducted but, ironically, it was an internal IAIG self-assessment and not an external third-part review as with the  other Board-demanded studies. Why was that the case?

Nevertheless, the  report confirms that IAIG was just a creature of senior leadership and management. It was appointed by and reported to the Executive Director with no independent right of access to the Board.  (Why the Board and its Audit Advisory Committee allowed this to continue for so many years is not addressed in this report; a separate assessment is needed for that). 

IAIG budgets and access to information crucial for its investigations were subject to haggling with senior management. As they were themselves under the IAIG’s remit, there was an obvious conflict of interest. Indeed, the report acknowledges that there were many instances when IAIG enquiries were curtailed, diverted, or ignored by top and senior management. The charge by lower-level staff that IAIG had double standards is effectively proven.

Indeed, the report confirms that IAIG investigators self-censored when reporting investigations that implicated senior management.  It says bluntly that the UNOPS structure “not only deters whistleblowers, but it also fails to allow IAIG to freely and independently challenge UNOPS senior management without fear of improper influence or retaliation”.

The report seeks to pin exclusive blame on the “Executive Office”, a coy reference to the disgraced Executive Director Grete Faremo and Deputy ED Vitaly Vanshelboim. They can be easily scapegoated, now they are safely-departed. However, a careful reading of the report makes evident that fraud, corruption, and personnel abuse and exploitation found fertile ground in UNOPS through the self-serving culture that was the prevailing norm.  That included the former Senior Leadership Team  and regional directorates, all of whom are still in office.

There is no shadow of doubt left by its own self-admission that IAIG was an egregious failure. However, there is no expression of regret or apology in the report that is shameless in pleading for understanding on the grounds that IAIG was under-resourced, and itself a victim of top and senior management. That should not excuse IAIG’s own directors and staffing for lacking the professional courage, ethics, and principles  to stand up against the wrong-doings going-on under their nose.

Instead, IAIG personnel pursued their own self-preserving path and caused grave hurt and harm to very many UNOPS personnel by actively conniving with the corrupted senior leadership. These IAIG staff disgraced their profession and need to be held accountable, in their own right.

Mr Wandel is acting to strengthen IAIG’s independence through his new Operational Directive OD.ED.2022.01 dated 23rd August. This is good but the credibility of implementation depends on whether the earlier IAIG leadership and staff implicated in egregious malpractices remain in position.

Profiteering

It is a principle of transparency in public administration that a publicly-funded report is publicly available. However, Deloitte’s 51-page report on UNOPS reserves, costing US$105,000 in consulting fees, has been removed from the UNOPS website. Availability is now restricted to governments by application to Mr William Axelsson, a protégé of the disgraced Ms Grete Faremo and a former Deloitte’s employee who is now the UNOPS Head of External Relations in New York – after a spell in UNOPS Geneva as expert practitioner of the dark arts under Mr Moin Karim. (Eager readers  who want the Deloitte report can send me their email to receive a copy, if they are rebuffed by Mr Axelsson).

The Deloitte report is excellent and full of facts and figures that explain why UNOPS feels compelled to withdraw it from public view.  It confirms well-known criticisms and provides a useful precis of where UNOPS ignored or bypassed advisories from the UN’s oversight bodies. Poor financial literacy in the Board also meant that it was easily bamboozled.   

In short, the report confirms that over many years,  UNOPS made obscene profits from donor-funded operations,  the impact of which was to cheat poor and vulnerable beneficiaries who needed UNOPS projects most.   UNOPS profits averaged approx. US$45 million  per year and a whopping US$90.4 million in 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic brought a further opportunity to profit from the world’s desperation.  

These surpluses mean that by the end of 2021, UNOPS’s net assets had grown to more than 250% of the minimum reserves required for the agency’s financial viability. Obviously, such a windfall was too tempting for a venal UNOPS management and explains, in part, the rush into the highly questionable S3i venture.

Deloitte’s comments also hint at the lack of clarity and transparency over UNOPS’s so-called “growth and innovation” reserve which spawned a designated S3i reserve. The loosely-defined scope of the innovation fund reads more like a ‘slush fund’ that the UNOPS leadership can use for all sorts of tasks and functions that would, under any normal agency, be clearly identified as part of its routine operating budget; for example, implementing its own strategic plan. In principle that includes the possibility of UNOPS management able to reward friends with favours around so-called innovation projects. It is easy to see how such a system can be easily manipulated or corrupted.

The key issue now is on what to do with the accumulated excess reserves. Deloitte-suggested options include UNOPS returning the money to the projects and donors it had cheated. But figuring out what to reimburse to whom would be very cumbersome and generate huge transaction costs. A related option to distribute the excess to all member states or to a common UN fund such as the Resident Coordinator system smacks of an invitation to benefit from ‘immoral earnings’.  It is also unfair as not all states are UNOPS contributors or beneficiaries.

Perhaps,  the most practical option is to reduce future project fees to significantly below actual costs, so that to exhaust past excess profits. UNOPS will then have  to ensure that its future pricing structure does not recreate the profiteering problem.  There is considerable scope for this as explained in a previous article that outlined how UNOPS’s rapacious business model works, exemplified by its Geneva office under the exploitative leadership  of its Europe Director, Mr Moin Karim who generated huge immoral profits for the agency. 

A new business model?

Sensing the writing on the wall, UNOPS Chief Finance Officer, Ms Marianne de la Touche  rushed out an internal management note on 24th August indicating that UNOPS is reducing its fees and charges with effect from 29th August (coinciding happily with the start of the Board meeting).

The note promises greater transparency confirming, inter alia,  that its prevailing business practices are anything but… Most significantly, it promises that UNOPS will no longer charge an additional premium for risk unless there were exceptional circumstances. That was a major scam that inflated its fees and charges.

No details have been publicly released on the new model‘s variables, assumptions, and computations. Obviously, it was rushed out under pressure of the imminent Board meeting. 

Initial internal staff reactions are that of bafflement.  Ms de la Touche’s note says that the new pricing applies to new projects – the presumption here being that existing projects will continue to be bled for outrageous profits on current terms.  With so many other qualifications and caveats outlined in Ms de la Touche’s note, it appears that  the ‘new model’ may well be a smoke-and mirror visualisation of the ‘old model’.    

S3i accountability

The written Board papers are silent on S3i – the original fire that burnt the UNOPS house – other than confirming that all its investments have been suspended. A third-party review of S3i oversight and its internal control systems is to be commissioned, with a report due in November.

Meanwhile, there is no update on progress with retrieving lost funds or any legal actions underway to visit accountability upon external partners or internal staff who may have connived with potential fraud and corruption.

Presumably, a fuller update to Board members will be provided by Mr Wandel. But the longer the lack of transparency continues with respect to enquiries and findings round S3i, the more the suspicion grows that the UN system is engaged in a cover-up of what actually happened, despite any lesson-learning exercises for the future.  

UNOPS senior management changes

As is well-known, former Executive Director Faremo and Deputy Executive Director Vanshelboim have departed in disgrace. However, it is unclear if they are going to be held accountable for mismanagement and misconduct, or if they will be allowed to fade away discreetly, cushioned by their lucrative pensions and other emoluments, as is usually the case in the UN system.

In recent days, it was encouraging to hear that Chief Legal Counsel, Mr James Provenzano will not be allowed to serve out his full term till his retirement next year. Instead, he will leave at the end of 2022. Internal sources suggest that he will probably go sooner – around October – to enjoy a long ‘terminal’ leave.  For the hundreds of staff who have suffered indescribably due to him, his departure cannot come too soon. Apart from the former ED and Deputy ED who had titular authority, Mr Provenzano is probably the most important creator of the greedy shark culture created at UNOPS which ultimately thrashed the agency’s reputation.  Will Mr Provenzano be held accountable for his own misdeeds and egregious transgressions?

Close behind is  Mr Honoré Dainhi, UNOPS Director for Regional Portfolios  i.e.  ultimate master of all continents under whose remit abuses proliferated everywhere, while UNOPS country and field staff were degraded and denigrated.  In past days, he has been stripped of his title, and demoted just to the directorship of Africa. This does not bode well for the continent which needs most help.

These are small steps for accountability at UNOPS. But insufficient. Other key co-conspirators such as a CFO Marianne de La Touche,  Communications Director Peter Browne, Implementation and Standards Director Nick O’Regan,  and Europe Director Moin Karim remain in post. 

Several existing directors are even aspiring for the two new Assistant Secretary-General positions, and busily lobbying at present.  Indeed, it would be a travesty – adding insult to injury – if they remained in position for too long or, worse, even got promoted. 

Is the UNOPS reform glass half full or empty?

Some changes do appear to be underway at UNOPS. While the reform train seems to be moving in the right direction, stakeholders have been so deeply betrayed by UNOPS that regaining their trust will take more than bare intentions or cosmetic changes. The best to be said so far is that the UNOPS reform glass is still half empty.

For the glass to be half full needs not just structural, systems, and process reforms but hard accountability for the wrong-doings of individual UNOPS senior leaders, most of whom remain in position.

Frankly, Mr Wandel has done only the easy stuff so far, in a plodding bureaucratic manner that is a no-brainer.  Akin to the froth on top of a glass of beer being poured out. Whether Mr Wandel has the courage or stamina to make the real transformational shift at UNOPS remains to be seen.

Published by Mukesh Kapila

See http://www.mukeshkapila.org

64 thoughts on “Is the UNOPS reform glass half-full or half-empty?

  1. Good analysis Mukesh. UNOPS personnel and all the donors will forever be indebted to you. We know this is not an easy task for Jens. However, the baby steps he is making are appreciated.
    Jens should stop listening ears to soulless corrupt people like Honore Dainhi. Because his everyday actions shows that he is unapologetic. The sad part is that he is using other people to abuse his authority.

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  2. @M

    Indeed, a very good article and it depicts the underlying flaws of the UN System.
    We all hope that what ever reform will emerge in HQ, from firing all the crooks that have since years abused authority and establishing a functioning whistleblower system, a system that will ensure, that immediately after a whistleblower comes forward, the respective agency has no longer control and authority over this colleague and no retaliation can happen unlike in the many UNOPS cases where personnel was forced out or “not extended, it will not stop at HQ level.

    We hope that all the RDs that have mirrored the HQ SLT system will also depart, the sooner the better. All the Moin’s, Sanjays, Fabrizzios, Banas, Williams and all the other manager that used the system to benefit their own personal conditions or that of their close friends and family members, they should leave and never return.
    And as Mukesh said, it is worth it to read the Deloitte report, you will realized why UNOPS removed it from the public eye, it is painting a picture that is so shameful for the organization.

    Keep up your great work Mukesh, we all stay tuned.
    Greetings from Copenhagen

    Sempre Fi

    John Derrel

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  3. Jens Wandel should know that William Axelsson and Sarah O’Neill were reported to New York Human Rights Commission. The United States Board Members may take note of this. Continuing to put him to interface the most important government partners is a shame for all hard-working UNOPS personnel.

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  4. IAIG watchdogs are used to retaliate against unwanted personnel from the field.
    Similar to Jim, who hired and promoted the whistleblower to do all dirty stuff (and later sacrificed her), IAG director uses his loyal staff to rip out throats and clean up the mess.

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  5. Thanks Mukesh and Wandel for all your efforts but now the environment is more toxic than ever. Imagine working for a boss who is telling you that he will not go down alone. Some of us are new in UNOPS and the level of abuse of authority I have witnessed in less than 2 years I have spent in this organization is unbelievable. My Director is forever making unilateral decisions and sometimes making unpleasant jokes of me not being African even if I worked in Africa.

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  6. I am glad that Jim is finally going, but is he going to pay for all the crimes he committed? I hope colleagues in LG and Ethics have taken note that they should do their jobs in a professional way.

    As for the manipulative and two – faced Honore demotion, is the damage he caused not enough? How much longer are we going to be expected to clean up the mess he is creating everyday?

    Abdoul, think of all the obstacles in your career, it was your integrity and professionalism that saved you. Aligning yourself with a character like Dainhi who thrives on backstabbing others is detrimental to your work and the department you are trusted to lead.

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  7. Thanks Mukesh for your tenacity. UNOPS personnel appreciate your courage to get to the bottom of all the corruption and mismanagement at UNOPS. We also appreciate bold statements from USA, Finland and Germany during the Board meeting yesterday. However, we want to see real changes at UNOPS. What is happening now is a mockery to hard working personnel. Although there is so much changes proposed on paper, some senior managers and their proteges attitude did not change. We are still witnessesing cases of witchhunting and retaliation.
    Since we no longer have confidence in UNOPS mechanisms, we will continue to raise our issues directly with the Board.

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  8. Hello all, we are working on a story on this at the NRK, the Norwegian Public Broadcast. Would be very interested in hearing your stories, about how it is/was to work at UNOPS etc. You can be anonymous of course. Please do reach out: heidi.taksdal.skjeseth@nrk.no / +4797102993 (Signal). Thank you!

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    1. I sent you a collective email from junior HR personnel in Copenhagen. We are forced manipulate policies and if we refuse we are either transferred to other departments or our contracts will not be renewed. Everybody assumes we don’t know our work but we are working in a very difficult environment.

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  9. Yes, baby steps but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The atmosphere at HQ is changing although some of the usual suspects are not willing to repent.
    It is relieving to know steps are being taken to hold accountable all the SLT members.
    I hope it is not too late to review all the cases of abuses by the same culprits.

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  10. The so called phrase of running a UN agency like a business ‘for profit’ is what destroyed UNOPS. We all know that Vitaly and Honore were the champions of these idea and they got kickbacks from SHS. Laughable to learn that Honore is trying to manipulate the working group that he was innocent.

    More information will be submitted to KPMG.

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  11. The tension between the DRC MCO and the Africa Regional Office is getting out of hand. How many more hardworking staff are we going to lose? UNOPS is not an oil company.
    Wandel please intervene!

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  12. Is Mr Wandel not contradicting himself? The Bureau and member states are asking for accountability. Former SLT members should step down to allow independent review.These are people who enabled the looting of the so called S3i funds.

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  13. I can’t agree more with Ambassador Lu. It is demoralizing for hardworking UNOPS employees to see that the culprits are still in office and even more sad that they continue to abuse their authority. What we are witnessing is purely bureaucratic changes not reforms.

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  14. US Mission please be informed that New York Human Rights Commission has established a case on the human rights violation and abusive treatments of US citizens in UNOPS by Jim P, William Axelsson (Swedish National on G4 VISA) and Sarah O’Neill (French National on G4 VISA).

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  15. Secretary-General seems like a weasel. Man up. Say something or do something about this shitpot at UNOPS. So gutless, man.

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  16. New York needs a leader that has integrity, such as Andrew Reese. Based on the comments and videos, William seems to be someone who can only think with the lower half of his body.

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  17. The glass is broken. SLT members were self- serving and had no respect for UN values. Bullying of hardworking personnel is ongoing. The updated ethics policy looks good on paper but do we really expect the same people who were used by SLT to change their tactics? Of course, no!

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  18. How ironic? The person who was preaching to have all Asians contracts terminated in one of the office he oversees is now consulting with Asians to challenge his demotion.

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  19. Any sane people would have submitted enough job applications to get the hell out of UNOPS. But the world is reading this blog, everyone who has been reported multiple times here will probably have a hard time finding a job anywhere. Who wants the shit that ruin the soup. 😂

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    1. Some of the names we are reading here have always boasted how the UN salary is peanuts for them. For now, they are ensuring that their proxies are in strategic positions so that they will keep benefiting through kickbacks.

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  20. Good article Mukesh! And a good reminder to all of us that power is not eternal. Provenzano and Dainhi abuse of power was unprecedented in the UN. We pray that we get an upright Ethics Director to ensure that all their victims get justice.

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  21. It is really good to see that tyranny at UNOPS is finally being challenged. It was painful to see some offices being run like mafioso.

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  22. Some of us were amazed how people with shady pasts were recruited and eventually elevated to positions that require high level of integrity. When they eventually start showing their true colors PCG was informed but they always played the race card and going around about being targeted. Time will tell.

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  23. Trust can only be restored if those who are responsible are shown the door. We are not fools to believe that the culprits are now in charge of implementing the reforms.

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  24. Wandel should stop wasting time and do what the Board asked him to do. Maintaining all culprits is harming UNOPS reputation. Donors are withholding the funds and this is negatively impacting our work in the field.

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  25. It will be interesting to see how the revised Ethics policy is going to be implemented and it’s practicality. Abuse of authority was about to become a culture in UNOPS.

    The scandal UNOPS found itself in is a result of power in the hands of few people and lack of oversight.

    Units like PCG and Ethics were only for window dressing and used as tools to manipulate policy. It is my sincere hope that with the new reforms, they will do they work independently and objectively without interference.

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  26. It will be interesting to see how the revised Ethics policy is going to be implemented and it’s practicality. Abuse of authority was about to become a culture in UNOPS.

    The scandal UNOPS found itself in is a result of power in the hands of few people and lack of oversight.

    Units like PCG and Ethics were only for window dressing and used as tools to manipulate policy. It is my sincere hope that with the new reforms, they will do they work independently and objectively without interference.

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  27. Mr Wandel and the working group are scratching the surface. It is important to note that there is disconnect between the HQ, Regional and Field offices.

    Most of the personell at HQ and Regional Offices are blind to the field contexts. They don’t care much about the impact of their decisions. We in the field offices are overworked, some of us are doing work of up to 3 people and we are in and out of the hospitals suffering from stress related diseases.

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  28. These reforms should serve as a lesson to everyone in UNOPS management. Leadership positions are a privilege and should not abused.

    Donors are keenly following all the developments and I believe it is not yet to late restore the organization trust.

    Despite all the challenges we are encountering, UNOPS personnel in the field continue to deliver projects and answer difficult questions from the member states we are serving. As it was highlighted times without numbers during the GLM, stumbling blocks in our work are the regional offices and some departments in HQ whose interest is only to accumulate as much money as they can.

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  29. Dear Mukesh,

    Since the launch of this platform, many changes have been implemented. We are also happy that some members of the Executive Board are engaging directly with UNOPS personnel to understand how the organization operates because what is on paper is hardly what is being implemented.
    The support from the US , Finland and Norway representation has been immense.
    I am confident that accountability will follow soon.
    Colleagues in the field, we are aware of the ongoing witchhunting but be rest assured that we are together in this. Most of the culprits and their cronies will be send packing soon. We are watching every step they are making.

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  30. Really impressed about how Wandel is shaking up the system. Considering how corrupt UNOPS was, Wandel efforts should be commended.
    But let’s not forget that there are thousands of hardworking colleagues in the field, some even putting their lives at risk. They need our moral support. They are first defenders of our good work in these difficult times.

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  31. Ego is the biggest enemy of true leadership.
    Reading these comments, one can tell that S3i saga is only the tip of the iceberg.
    Until such a time that those with power understand that their role is to facilitate solutions but not to excert authority, things will remain the way they are.

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  32. Why would UNOPS personnel expected to be easy on SLT when we know that they have never apologized for the damage they caused to the organization with their irresponsible actions and yet some of them are still continuing to witchhunt the people who spoke out against their irresponsible deeds!! Why would UNOPS personnel expect ed to be easy on them?

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  33. Wandel’s yesterday message to all staff is somehow soothing. We are happy to learn that accountability actions will be instituted as soon as the independent review is finalized.
    His efforts to have an inclusive governance structure are also commendable. What is left is for him to ensure we have the right people in right portfolios. Some regional offices are now on autopilot. The situation is deteriorating.

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  34. @Adolf
    yes, I have to agree with you, honestly I would have expected a bit more from Wandel but guess some stuff never changes.
    If the responsible people will not be held accountable and brought to justice, then I am afraid, UNOPS is done.
    But most likely it will be as always, some staff will leave the organization with a golden handshake and then they are no part of UNOPS anymore and the organization exercises a hands-off approach.

    Autopilot is a good expression but I am afraid that the Regional Offices are nothing else but an exact mirror-image of the HQ and the SLT. The Regional Directors have been enablers and supporters of a system that goes far beyond s3I. A system that obviously is filled with abuse, nepotism, corruption and self-serving interest.

    Wandel and the EB should look into issues where RDs have used the system and colleagues to provide favors that benefitted them or their family members. There are countless violations of UN values, norms and regulations but I am afraid they will get away again as a few from HQ maybe sacrificed and over the rest the blanket of silence will fall.

    We all hope that with a new ED, the old RDs, Moin, Bana, Sanjay and Fabrizzio and their networks will be gone too, only then the organization may have a chance to heal and to be reborn.

    Sempre Fi

    John Derrel

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    1. @John, You are spot on about how the abuses are mirror- imaged at the Regional Offices. Having worked in HR related roles at HQs I have seen it all.
      Be it the recruitments of incompetent people just to get the gender numbers right or highly qualified colleagues being frustrated into resignation.

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  35. Dainhi demoted to an ordinary Director? So, his backstabbing and obsession with Nick academic qualifications did not yield any results?

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  36. I got hold of some shocking exchanges between my colleagues in PCG and one of the regional director. Unbelievable a person at that level is asking people to lie.
    Another shocking revelation is the recruitment of consultants to provide counseling to personell. Pure nepotism!

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  37. It is good to see that one of the dubious portfolio is scrapped off the new governance structure. However, I don’t believe our partners are ready to engage with some of these characters mentioned in these blogs. UNOPS needs serious cleansing.

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  38. In French they say, “le poisson pourrit de la tête vers le bas.” Meaning the fish spoil from the head. If you have leaders with no values, they will spoil good people low in the hierarchy. Most of the abuses which were only happening at regional offices are now spilling over to the MCOs.

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  39. We are anticipating another eventful week in Copenhagen. With the ongoing independent reviews, the anxiety levels are very high. For the past 3 months we were tasked to conduct an assessment of an office that is overcharging donors. Is there a reason why the results of the assessment are withheld? Or should we email the results to Mukesh to publish them?

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  40. A very good presentation by the Ethics Director a.i during the Townhall meeting.
    But is he aware that most of the preparators of unethical behaviors and abuse of authority are people high up in the rank. The Regional Director for Africa fought tooth and nail to have personell contracts terminated in Kenya. In DRC, the Africa Regional Office use the divide and rule tactics until good personell were frustrated and left the organization. The close of the Tunisia office is a retaliation case. All these cases were reported to the Ethics Office. What did they do? Nothing!

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    1. Really? I though his presentation was terrible. It was overly polished and rehearsed and did not acknowledge their office’s massive failings, or the complete loss of trust have in them.

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  41. The Townhall was a joke. How can one talk about the new policy on retaliation if the whistleblower contract was terminated for exposing corruption and the S3i masterminds are still getting their fat salaries. Wandel you are letting the board down.

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  42. There has never been a more important time to save UNOPS from the corrupt cabal than now. It is impossible for Vitaly to authorize all the payments to the Kendricks without help of other SLT members. What is the role of the EAC committee? What risk assessment was conducted? Who signed the cheques?

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  43. There will be no trust without accountability!
    Evidence is now everywhere that UNOPS was not run based on UN values but as a private entity. This will be soon corroborated by the independent review.

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  44. The former SLT created a very toxic culture which is now mirror- imaged in some of the regional offices. Wandel and your advisors, you heard for yourself during the GLM what most of the senior managers said about the management.

    I hope the independent review of the Ethics function will look at the real cases which were raised, how they were addressed and what were the outcomes.

    It is also important if the independent review can look at the issues which were raised with Internal Grievances and how they were handled.

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  45. One must be completely idiotic to still think internal grievances office actually exists after witnessing how many people were fired for reporting wrongdoings. Alejo is a weasel. But the entire UNOPS management culture has been breeding weasels.

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  46. Interesting comments here, but is anyone listening? What can we do to restore the trust from our beneficiaries, partners and UNOPS colleagues? We all need to do a deep introspection of our daily actions.
    I still believe that UNOPS services are needed. Are we able to put aside our egos and do things differently?

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