One way to bury a scandal is to hold a confidential investigation, ignore the findings and pension off the alleged culprit. The United Nations, helped along by diplomatic immunity, does this with such expertise that it’s surprising they haven’t set up entire agencies devoted to this art. Or maybe they have. At the UN, top management has been sitting for more than two months now on a confidential report from the UN’s own anti-corruption task force alleging “gross negligence” and diverted funds within — I’m not kidding — the UN’s own good governance office. Does Ban Ki-Moon care? Or is he too busy jetting around the world opining that we should let the UN serve as world’s chief rationer of energy? More on UN lessons on how to indulge in bad governance and get away with it, in my article in today’s New York Post.
For connoiseurs of UN scandal, it seems the UN official currently busy burying these latest signs of institutional rot in his “In” tray is Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang, a member of the UN Management Group which Ban Ki-Moon chairs.
Who is Sha Zukang?
He’s one of China’s men at Turtle Bay. Based in New York, Sha runs the UN’s sprawling Department of Economic and Social Affairs — an influential position with broad reach, spending lots of money (including lots of U.S. tax dollars) around the globe on all sorts of nebulous projects — including the dissemination of principles of governance.
That bears thinking about, because in a previous incarnation, Sha was based in Geneva as an envoy of the People’s Republic of China, busy shaping the disastrously warped dictator-friendly UN Human Rights Council (which replaced the grotesquely twisted Human Rights Commission). Among Sha’s functions, from 2004-2007, as described in his UN bio, was “Coordinator of the Like-Minded Group of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.”
What was this “Like-Minded Group” that Sha Zukang coordinated, and on behalf of which he gave speeches urging the UN to avoid the practice of “naming and shaming” the world’s worst human rights violators? It was a group of about 20 countries consisting largely of some of the world’s worst violators — including Sha’s own China, Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Burma, Sudan, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.