UNITED NATIONS A portrait of Ban Ki-moon as a secrecy-obsessed U.N. chief seeking to wrest control of internal investigations emerges from a blistering 50-page confidential memo by his former oversight chief.
The unusual memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, describes Ban as more concerned with preventing news leaks than with releasing possible criminal evidence to prosecutors. It also details how she fought Bans efforts to set up a competing new investigative capacity within the United Nations.
The Swedish former auditor general also said that the secretary-general improperly refused to allow many of her offices audit reports to be made public, or to allow nearly all of its confidential investigative reports, with evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing, to be referred to outside prosecutors.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Thursday that Ban regrets that Ahlenius confidential memo was leaked, but he considers her frank thinking and advice an important tool for improving his management, and he and his senior advisers are carefully reviewing it.
Angela Kane, undersecretary-general for management, said Thursday the General Assembly, not Ban, had directed setting up a task force to help with investigations. It is not correct to say that the secretary-general was attempting to set up another investigative capacity, Kane said.
Ahlenius, who stepped down as undersecretary-general in charge of U.N. oversight last week, was appointed in 2005 to a non-renewable five-year term by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
She says in her end of assignment report to Ban that he tried to take control of investigations after her Office of Internal Oversight Services resisted his efforts to launch official probes into news leaks. The OIOS is meant to operate independently within the U.N.
Ahlenius at the time told Bans Deputy Chief of Staff Kim Won-soo that, in my opinion, it would also be seen as very negative on the secretary-general, who had advocated transparency, to pursue leaks.
She did not specify which news stories Ban was so concerned about.