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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch UNDP Haiti Country Director Previously Retaliated Against Whistleblower Who Exposed Fraud

UNDP Haiti Country Director Previously Retaliated Against Whistleblower Who Exposed Fraud

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Tuesday, 09 March 2010 16:46
Reuters reports today on the case of Ismail Ahmed, a whistleblower who worked for UNDP Somalia. Mr. Ahmed made protected disclosures of wrongdoing on the part of the UNDP, including "fraudulent payments and bogus contracts." The UN Ethics Committee ruled that he had been retaliated against for his disclosures. The retaliation included being transferred to a different country without proper support, and having damage done to his professional reputation.

The importance for Haiti is that the man Mr. Ahmed identifies as the main author of the retaliation is Eric Overvest, currently the UNDP Country Director in Haiti. The Government Accountability Project (GAP), which works to protect whistleblowers, issued a press release that states:
The move is a cause for concern as the ability of UNDP to monitor the disbursement of aid in Haiti has been severely compromised by the chaotic aftermath of the disaster.
The UN says that their investigation of fraud showed no wrongdoing, however the investigation is not public. Shelley Walden of GAP told Reuters:
"To a certain extent, this is a semantic trick bag as, strictly speaking, no UN agency finds that corruption has occurred. UN investigators are not agents of law enforcement . . . Legally, UNDP neither clears nor arraigns anyone," she said. GAP urged the UNDP to make its report public.

"In the absence of the investigative report, GAP cannot determine if there was a good faith effort to investigate Mr. Ahmed's disclosures," Walden told Reuters. "Indeed, a failure to disclose it suggests that UNDP is trying to hide something or inappropriately protect a malefactor."
Mr. Ahmed's disclosures included "detailed information about corruption in the procurement process and support provided to a company suspected of links with terrorist organizations," according to GAP.

Tags: contractors | eric overvest | ismail ahmed | undp | whistleblower

 

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