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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

UN Agency Punished Somalia Whistleblower

, March 10, 2010

A United Nations Development Program (UNDP) whistleblower and GAP client was recently vindicated by the UN Ethics Committee. However, the UNDP refuses to disclose information about their investigation. After Ismail Ahmed blew the whistle on corruption in UNDP’s Somalia program, he was retaliated against by officials and transferred to another office without proper visa support. The UNDP Somalia office later told a potential employer not to hire him because of his “silly non-proven accusations.” Ahmed had reported fraudulent payments and contracts in the program, and said it had supported a company with suspected links to Islamist militants.

Disturbingly, one of Ahmed’s retaliators was the head of the UNDP office in Haiti at the time of the devastating earthquake. A UNDP spokesman said that they are pleased with the retaliator’s work in Haiti. From the article:

GAP International Program Officer Shelley Walden said it was unclear how widely or narrowly the UNDP was defining corruption.

"To a certain extent, this is a semantic trick bag as, strictly speaking, no U.N. agency finds that corruption has occurred. U.N. 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."

On a related note, the New York Times yesterday described a new UN Security Council report that claims regional Somali authorities are collaborating with pirates, and that as much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted to “a network of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local UN staff members.”

Click here to read GAP’s press release