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Sunday
Mar042018

The Strange Saga of "South-South News" | May 2018

"We will be asking: is bribery business as usual at the UN?", US Attorney Preet Bharara, October 2015

"If proven, today's charges will confirm that the cancer of corruption that plagues too many local and state governments infects the United Nations as well.", US Attorney Preet Bharara, October 2015

"Corruption at any level of government undermines the rule of law and cannot be tolerated. But corruption is especially corrosive when it occurs at an international body like the United Nations. By paying bribes to two U.N. ambassadors to advance his interest in obtaining formal support for the Macau conference center project, Ng Lap Seng tried to manipulate the functions of the United Nations. The sentence handed down today demonstrates that those who engage in corruption will pay a heavy price and serves as a reminder that no one stands above the law.", Acting Assistant General John P. Cronan, May 2018

"It is important to send a message, to the people at the UN itself and to other institutions in this country, that perverting the decision-making or attempting to pervert the decision-making through bribes will not be tolerated.", US District Judge Vernon Broderick, May 2018

"South-South staff found him to be 'humble, very happy to host a meeting and become closer to the U.N.,' said Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, deputy director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, a division of the U.N., who met Mr. Ng in August when she traveled to Macau." The Wall Street Journal;(9 October 2015)

It is a story that has it all: the gambling sin-bin of Macau, human and sex trafficking, bribery, corruption, money laundering, spies, and, if they are to be believed, naive UN officials hiding behind their laissez-passer passports who knew nothing about all of this but were happy to take the money for a five-star conference and a trip to China (and a free iPad). How the UN ended up in this quagmire leaves many puzzled and perplexed. Then there is a so-called "21st century" media service that really is a "conduit" for bribery and money laundering (and possibly fake news), and who to this day is still reporting from the United Nations.

May 2018 saw the ending of one chapter in the ongoing corruption saga surrounding the executives of South-South News and their alleged bribery and money laundering conduit targeting the United Nations (UN). On 11 May 2018 Ng Lap Seng was sentenced to 4 years in prison for being the ring leader of an elaborate, multi-year, multinational scheme to bribe UN officials and launder money into the United States.

On 28 February 2018 Jeff Yin received a seven-month prison sentence related to the corruption scandal that first erupted in September 2015, with the arrests in New York (home of the UN's global headquarters) of his boss, Macau casino owner and businessman Ng Lap Seng and assistant, Yin, by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Foreign Policy called the case one of "The Worst Corruption Scandals of 2015". Read the US Justice Department Docket here: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/fcpa/cases/ng-lap-seng-and-jeff-c-yin.

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York at the time, Preet Bharara, released a flowchart showing how the alleged bribery scheme targetting the United Nations worked. A series of court trials followed for the various co-conspirators, including senior executives and board members for South-South News, culminating in the 27 July 2017 conviction of the alleged ring leader of the scheme, Macau casino billionaire Ng Lap Seng, on six counts "for his role in a scheme to bribe United Nations ambassadors to obtain support to build a conference center in Macau that would host, among other events, the annual United Nations Global South-South Development Expo". He used the news service South-South News as a "conduit for bribery and money laundering" at the United Nations, according to the FBI, something admitted to by various co-conspirators in court and under oath.

"South-South staff found him to be 'humble, very happy to host a meeting and become closer to the U.N.,' said Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, deputy director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, a division of the U.N., who met Mr. Ng in August when she traveled to Macau." The Wall Street Journal (9 October 2015)

Background

The "21st century" media service South-South News (which still exists) was founded in 2010 by Ng Lap Seng and Ambassador Francis Lorenzo with US $12 million. According to the FBI, Seng did this with the objective of bribing UN officials, laundering money into the United States - bringing US $4.5 million into the US in cash over a period of two years - and lobbying for the building of a new UN facility in Macau for the annual Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) - a "Geneva of Asia". The new facility would cost US $3 billion and be built by Ng Lap Seng's construction company.

Macau has been called by a former UN official in charge of the organisation's anti-human trafficking work a world centre of modern human slave trafficking. Ng Lap Seng, in a 2010 assessment by International Risk Ltd., was found to be "characterized in the media as a 'Macau Crime Lord' and kingpin of the international slave prostitution trade".  

Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Group was barred from the UN's Global Compact, according to The Wall Street Journal, and Seng was flagged up as a person not to do business with, including by Interpol. Despite this track record and multiple warning signs, both South-South News and the United Nations took money from Ng Lap Seng. The UN has clear rules regarding due diligence for income sources and has rules against bribery, corruption and human and sex trafficking in all its forms.

One of the co-conspirators in the scheme was former UN General Assembly President John Ashe. He died due to a weightlifting accident before he had to testify in a New York court room. According to Farrukh Khan, Program Manager on Climate Finance at the UN Secretary-General's Office, Ashe played a key role in the negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Other Co-Conspirators and Charges:

John W. Ashe, President of UN General Assembly: Filing False Income Tax Returns

Heidi Hong Park (Piao), Global Sustainability Foundation - Finance Director: Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

Shiwei (Sheri) Yan, Global Sustainability Foundation - Founder and CEO: Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

Francis Lorenzo, Deputy Permanent Respresentative to the UN for the Dominican Republic: Bribery

Sources: Foreign Policy, Stanford Law School, US Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal.

Update: As the net has widened, others have also been charged and associated with the original plot to bribe UN officials and launder money. They are: 

Jeff Yin, aide to Ng Lap Seng. South China Morning Post: Ex-aide of Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng, jailed by US in fallout from UN bribery scandal, blames 'traditional' Chinese upbringing

Ying Lin, Air China. Reuters: Ex-Air China employee wins dismissal of U.S. smuggling charge

Roger Uren, formerly of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. The Sydney Morning Herald: Charges loom for ex-intelligence official Roger Uren after ASIO raid

Julia Vivi (Vivian) Wang, Vice President, South-South News. Law 360: Woman Who Helped Bribe Top Diplomat Cops To FCPA Counts. WKZO: Chinese-born executive pleads guilty in U.N. bribery case . Stanford Law School: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Clearinghouse. Case Information: United States of America v. Julia Vivi Wang.

In the Headlines

2015

March

USA News Online.com: South-South Cooperation and Chinese Sun Kian Ip Group Signs [sic] Cooperation Agreement

August

Macau Daily Times: UN Holds High-Level Strategy Forum in Town for South-South Cooperation

September

ABCNews: FBI Arrests Chinese Millionaire Once Tied to Clinton $$ Scandal

October

News24: UN Looks at Donations Linked to Bribery Scandal

South China Morning Post: UN rejects US$15 million donation from Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng pending bribery investigation 

The New York Times: Former U.N. President and Chinese Billionaire Are Accused in Graft Scheme

The Wall Street Journal: U.N. Team Had Cleared Group at Center of Bribery Case: Officials met in April with Ng Lap Seng, didn't detect any problems

"South-South staff found him to be 'humble, very happy to host a meeting and become closer to the U.N.,' said Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, deputy director of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, a division of the U.N., who met Mr. Ng in August when she traveled to Macau." The Wall Street Journal (9 October 2015)

Jhon William Ashe, Presidente saliente de la Asamblea General de la ONU preso por corruption

The Sydney Morning Herald: Australia-China social queen Sheri Yan arrested for bribery

Vice: Feds Say Former UN General Assembly President Lived Large Off Chinese Bribes

Telegraph: United Nations officials charged with accepting massive bribes from China businessmen

Agence France-Presse: Corruption charges dampen launch of new UN global goals 

People Daily: Ban orders probe into bribe claims as FBI cites Kenya

November

Nikkei Asian Review: U.S. prosecutors allege Ng paid bribes until arrest

"Ng is charged with paying $500,000 in bribes to former United Nations diplomat John W. Ashe, primarily to get him to push for the construction of a "multibillion dollar" U.N. expo center in Macau for the benefit of Ng's Sun Kian Ip Group."

"Statements and briefs filed by the prosecutors indicate Ng's financial activities in the U.S. surged this year in the weeks before and after an Aug. 25-26 U.N. conference in Macau at which some 200 delegates endorsed the construction of a "South-South Expo" center in the city."

"Ashe played a prominent role at the Macau meeting both as chairman of the U.N. South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development and as co-chairman of Ng's Sun Kian Ip Group Foundation, which sponsored the event."

"Francis Lorenzo, who has been charged with acting as a middleman for Ng's alleged bribes, played a similar range of roles at the Macau meeting. He was there as executive president of the South-South steering committee and the International Organization for South-South Cooperation, president of the Sun Kian Ip Group Foundation and deputy U.N. ambassador for the Dominican Republic. Around 20 U.N. ambassadors attended the meeting."

"The Sun Kian Ip Group Foundation donated $1.5 million to the U.N. Office for South-South Cooperation to help finance the Macau meeting and another one held in Dhaka in May; the foundation earlier this year offered the U.N. office a further $13.5 million but U.N. officials have said that will not be accepted as the organization has launched multiple reviews of its ties to the foundation following the arrests of Ng and Ashe."

2016

March

Courthouse News: United Nations Bribery Scandal Snares Gala VP

PassBlue: John Ashe, Ex-UN Diplomat Facing Criminal Charges, Goes Begging

April

Reuters: U.N. news outlet at center of bribery case defends its intergrity

Macau Business Daily: Audit uncovers trail of 'support'

"Local billionaire Ng Lap Seng made use of five non-government organisations (NGOs) which are all affiliated to his real estate investment firm Sun Kian Ip Group to interact with six departments of the United Nations in various ways – such as sponsoring their events and funding staff travel – discloses the latest published internal audit report by the Office of Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) of the United Nations (UN).

The internal audit report, which was undertaken at the request of the Secretary-General of the UN and was released over the weekend, presents evidence that the local businessman’s attempts to curry favour with the UN could date back to 2008, when one of his NGOs was listed as a participant in the organisation’s Global Compact initiative.

According to OIOS, the five NGOs that Ng was using to interact with UN bodies are the Global Sustainability Foundation, International Organisation for South-South Co-operation, World Harmony Foundation, South-South News and Sun Kian Ip Group Foundation."

"The UN audit body stated in the report that Sun Kian Ip Group had offered iPads to all participants for a co-sponsored event titled ‘High Level Multi Stakeholder Strategy Forum on South-South and Triangular Co-operation’ in the Special Administrative Region last August.

The local developer contributed US$1.5 million (MOP12 million) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the event, which was attended by a number of UN Secretariat staff, OIOS said.

The report reads that the proffered iPads all had 64GB capacity and were engraved with the logo of the organisers on the back.

‘They received the iPads at the registration desk upon arrival, where they were informed that the forum was a ‘paperless event’; all documents relating to its meetings or presentations had been pre-loaded in the device for their use,’ OIOS wrote, adding that ‘there was no attempt by the organisers to take back the iPads’ when the event was concluded.

According to the audit department, three UN staff members who attended the forum only handed over the devices after the commencement of the audit. In particular, one from the Global Compact Office stated to the audit body that he kept the iPad for himself."

"The UN audit also found that Ng’s self-owned news outlet South-South News had funded travel for a staff member of the UN Department for General Assembly and Conference Management for two seminars in Hong Kong and Macau last April and August, respectively. The two seminars were both on the topic of ‘South-South Co-operation’.

Another staff member of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) was funded by the news company to participate in a high-level meeting in Hong Kong in April 2012. The audit report stated that the UN-Habitat later signed a memorandum with South-South News as a media partner for co-operation on the ‘World Urban Campaign’ in July 2012.

South-South News had actually been accorded media accreditation and provided office space in the UN secretariat by the UN Department of Public Information since 2010, the report claimed."

"Recent leaks from the Panama Papers have disclosed that such a company of the local businessman was established in the British Virgin Islands in May 2010, indicating the news outlet had sponsored UN events on at least three occasions."

"In the report, OIOS highly criticised the lack of due diligence checks by UN departments in selecting their partners, allowing the organisation to be involved with parties ‘whose interests may be at odds with those of the UN’.

‘Various resolutions of the General Assembly have recognised the importance of developing partnerships with the private sectors, NGOs and civil society… However, engaging in partnerships requires that a robust due diligence process is established and consistently applied to ensure that the attendant risks are mitigated,’ the audit body said.

The above instances of non-compliance with due diligence requirements exposed the organisation to the risk that it could get involved with external parties whose interests may be at odds with those of the United Nations – particularly its integrity, independence and impartiality,’ it concluded."

South China Morning Post: Prominent Hong Kong politicians and businessmen named in new round of Panama Papers leaks

"Ng Lap Seng, Macau businessman charged by US authorities with bribing former United Nations leaders - Owned a BVI firm that ran South-South News, which had been granted the right to be stationed in the UN headquarters despite its lack of journalistic track record."

May

Reuters: Auditors rebuke U.N. development agency after U.S. indictments

August

The Wall Street Journal: Former Air China Manager Charged with Smuggling in U.S. for Chinese Military: Suspect is associate of Macau billionaire in U.N. bribery scheme

The Wall Street Journal: U.N. Bribery Probe Uncovers Suspected Chinese Agent: U.S. officials look into Beijing businessman's ties to indicted Macau billionaire

2017

June

ABC News: ASIO investigation targets Communist Party links to Australian political system

The Sydney Morning Herald: China's Operation Australia: Payments, power and our politicians

July

Financial Times: Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng convicted in UN bribery case: Tycoon paid inducements to promote 'Geneva of Asia' project in Macau

The Sydney Morning Herald: Charges loom for ex-intelligence official Roger Uren after ASIO raid

Global Investigations Review - Just Anti-Corruption: UN bribery trial heats up with tales of extramarital affair and cash bag carried across Manhattan

AP: UN ambassador testifies he didn't know what 'bribe' meant

"Lorenzo testified Ng paid him up to $50,000 monthly to push the ambitious multibillion-dollar project along and funneled another $300,000 to former U.N. General Assembly President John Ashe, who was charged in the case before he died last year in an accident at home.

Over several days, Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind elicited from Lorenzo an unsavory depiction of the ease with which Lorenzo and Ashe accepted and sometimes solicited tens of thousands of dollars to supplement modest salaries as ambassadors.

Within months of meeting Ng in late 2009, Lorenzo testified, he agreed to supplement his $72,000 salary at the U.N. with $20,000 a month as president of Ng’s new not-for-profit, South South News.

“Did you have any experience in media or in news reporting?” Zolkind asked.

“No,” Lorenzo said."

December

Macau Business: MB Aug | House of Cards

"The political endeavours of Macau tycoon Ng Lap Seng over the years have seen his business empire grow across the continents, but at the ultimate price - behind bars." 

Macau News Agency: Macau in 2017 | The case of Ng Lap Seng - Politics

"A summary of the corruption case against local businessman Ng Lap Seng." 

2018

March

South China Morning Post: Ex-aide of Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng, jailed by US in fallout from UN bribery scandal, blames 'traditional' Chinese upbringing  

April

Macau Daily Times: Prosecutors Want Six Years in Ng Lap Seng Sentencing

Reuters: Chinese-born Executive Pleads Guilty in U.N. Bribery Case

May

ABS-CBN News: Chinese Billionaire Sentenced Four Years in UN Scandal

The New York Times: Macau Tycoon Gets 4 Years in Prison for Bribing U.N. Diplomats

News Americas: Jail for Chinese Billionaire Who Bribed Caribbean Born UN Officials

Reuters: Macau Billionaire Gets Four Years Prison for Bribing U.N. Officials

LawFuel: Billionaire Jailed for 4 Years Over Casino Bribery Role

South China Morning Post: Chinese Billionaire Ng Lap-Seng gets Four Years in US Prison for Bribing UN Officials US$1.7m to Support Plans for Macau Conference Centre

The Sydney Morning Herald: Political Donor Chau Chak Wing Behind UN Bribe Scandal, Parliament told

Channel NewsAsia: Chinese-Australian Political Donor 'Linked to UN Bribery Scandal'

The New York Times: In Australia, Fears of Chinese Meddling Rise on U.N. Bribery Case Revelation

The Australian: China's UN Power Game

The FCPA Blog: Is China Trying to Corrupt the UN? 

The United States Department of Justice: Chairman of Macau Real Estate Development Company Sentenced to Prison for Role in Scheme to Bribe United Nations Ambassadors to Build a Multi-Billion Dollar Conference Center

"The trial evidence showed that Ng bribed Ambassador Ashe and Ambassador Lorenzo (together, the “Ambassadors”) in exchange for their agreement to use their official positions to advance Ng’s interest in obtaining formal UN support for the Macau Conference Center.  As the evidence demonstrated at trial, Ng paid the Ambassadors in a variety of forms.  For example, Ng appointed Ambassador Lorenzo as the President of South-South News, a New York-based organization — funded by Ng — which described itself as a media platform dedicated to advancing the implementation of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, a set of philanthropic goals.  Ng provided bribe payments to Ambassador Lorenzo through South-South News by transmitting payments from Macau to a company in the Dominican Republic affiliated with Ambassador Lorenzo’s brother (the “Dominican Company”).  Through South-South News, Ng also made payments to Ambassador Ashe, including to Ambassador Ashe’s wife, who was paid in her capacity as a “consultant” to South-South News, and to an account that Ambassador Ashe had established, purportedly to raise money for his role as President of UNGA." 

June

ArtVoice: Judicial Watch: Russia, China may have bribed Clintons

November

The Sydney Morning Herald: Beijing's secret plot to infiltrate UN used Australian insider

"Charming and gregarious, Sheri Yan was once known for hosting soirees around the world where diplomats mingled with millionaire business executives and socialites. But her life changed forever in October 2015, when she was arrested by FBI agents in New York and accused of bribing the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe."

"In 2012, the woman who had left China almost two decades earlier was preparing to launch her own organisation to help the UN reduce global poverty and aid development.

The Global Sustainability Foundation would, according to Yan’s pitch, be backed by 'political leaders, successful business people, and members of the world’s best-known families.'"

"When Ng set up his UN-affiliated NGO South-South News, the FBI again found evidence that the Communist Party was influencing the organisation and determining the agenda it would push as it hosted conferences and published news stories."   

Yahoo News: China wants a new world order. At the U.N., NGOs secretly paid cash to promote Beijing's vision.

"In August 2013, South South News, a U.N.-accredited nonprofit bankrolled by Macau casino tycoon Ng Lap Seng, began depositing $20,000 each month into Ashe’s bank account. Ng was already on the radar of U.S. authorities: In the 1990s, Senate investigators identified him as the likely conduit of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to the Democratic National Committee and 1996 Clinton re-election campaign." 

"Now almost two decades later, Ng was using South-South News, a small New York-based media outlet that covered development and U.N.-related news, as a front to pay Ashe to get his support for a project to build a U.N. conference center in Macau, according to U.S. prosecutors.  In addition to enhancing China’s power and prestige, the establishment of a U.N. conference center in Macau would present China with significant intelligence-gathering and recruitment opportunities, said one former senior U.S. intelligence official."

"The center never materialized, but court filings say that Ng was secretly being investigated as part of a counter-espionage probe of a suspected Chinese spy, and business associate of Ng’s, named Qin Fei; Ng paid to renovate Qin’s $10 million mansion on New York’s Long Island. The mansion was being converted into a conference center for South-South News, Ng’s U.N. nonprofit, said Ng’s lawyer, Hugh Mo, who denies his client had any connection with Chinese intelligence (though Qin, Mo said, was being wiretapped under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)."

"Yan, like Ng Lap Seng, created her own U.N. nonprofit, the Global Sustainability Foundation. And like South-South News, it also received U.N. accreditation and championed the U.N’s millennium goals, an ambitious set of voluntary, country-by-country targets aimed at reducing global poverty.  Yan also arranged for bribes to Ashe to benefit three other Chinese businessmen, say U.S. court documents."

Further Reading

The Bro Code: Booze, Sex, and the Dark Art of Dealmaking in China by James Palmer, China File, February 4, 2015

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Handbook: A Practical Guide for Multinational General Counsel, Transactional Lawyers and White Collar Criminal Practitioners by Robert W. Tarun, American Bar Association, 2010

ONU: la grande imposture by Pauline Lietar 

"Le bureau de la Cooperation Sud-Sud l'a trouve tres 'humble, tres heureux d'organiser une reunion et d'etre plus proche de l'ONU', declare Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, une des membres de l'equipe." 

China Digital Times: Sinopsis and Jichang Lulu: UN with Chinese Characteristics 

Official photographs of the Macau High-Level Multi-Stakeholders Strategy Forum and its participants (including John Ashe) can be found here: http://www.barbarossayilgan.com/high-level-multi-stakeholders-strategy-forum-macau-china-2015/0sxxmg0jh0ss5keym50d5p63diztpd

Statement concerning the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation

"The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) is an independent entity created by the General Assembly in 1974, General Assembly resolution 3251(XXIX), to support cooperation among developing countries.

UNOSSC receives its mandate and policy framework from General Assembly decisions and resolutions. UNOSSC also serves as the Secretariat of the High-level Committee (HLC) on South-South Cooperation, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly.

UNOSSC is hosted by UNDP and, as is the case with similar entities, is expected to follow UNDP;rules and regulations, including those pertaining to financial and HR management. UNOSSC is likewise subject to UNDP’s oversight and due diligence instruments.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Information Warfare: the Communist Party of China's Influence Operations in the United States and Japan

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs: Spotting China's Influence Operations, with Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

UNDP’s Office of Audit and Investigation (OAI) recently published an Audit of UNOSSC which rated the Office ‘unsatisfactory’.

The Audit makes 16 recommendations with the objective of improving UNOSSC’s  effectiveness in the areas of: governance; programme and project activities; and operations." Excerpt from Statement (5 May 2016)

UNDP Accountability: Disclosure of internal audit reports

Audit Ratings

"On the basis of its audit results, OAI assigns an overall rating for the business unit audited. OAI uses four rating categories: "satisfactory"; "partially satisfactory/some improvement needed"; partially satisfactory/major improvement needed; and "unsatisfactory". A definition of each audit rating is available below."

Audit Ratings - Definition

"A rating of "satisfactory" means that the assessed governance arrangements, risk management practices and controls were adequately established and functioning well. Issues identified by the audit, if any, are unlikely to affect the achievement of the objectives of the audited entity/area.

A rating of “partially satisfactory/some improvement needed” means that the assessed governance arrangements, risk management practices and controls were generally established and functioning, but need some improvement. Issues identified by the audit do not significantly affect the achievement of the objectives of the audited entity/area.

A rating of “partially satisfactory/major improvement needed” means that the assessed governance arrangements, risk management practices and controls were established and functioning, but need major improvement. Issues identified by the audit could significantly affect the achievement of the objectives of the audited entity/area.

A rating of “unsatisfactory” means that the assessed governance arrangements, risk management practices and controls were either not adequately established or not functioning well. Issues identified by the audit could seriously compromise the achievement of the objectives of the audited entity/area."

Reuters: Auditors rebuke U.N. development agency after U.S. indictments (3 May 2016)

How to Report Corruption and Bribery at UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)

The Office of Audit and Investigations (OAI) "provides UNDP with effective independent and objective internal oversight that is designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UNDP's operations in achieving its development goals and objectives through the provision of internal audit and related advisory services, and investigation services."  

They can be directly emailed here: reportmisconduct@undp.org

How to Report Human Trafficking at the United Nations

To report staff of the United Nations either involved in human trafficking or facilitating human trafficking, contact 1-866-347-2423.

Key Terms and Definitions

Bribe: Ttry to make someone do something for you by giving them moneypresents, or something else that they want.  

Bribery: The crime of giving someone money or something else of value, often illegally, to persuade that person to do something you want.

Corruption: Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. 

Discovery: The process of finding information, a place, or an objectespecially for the first time, or the thing that is found. Part of a legal process in which the lawyers from one side in a case give documents relating to their case to the other side, before the trial begins.

Due Diligence: Action that is considered reasonable for people to be expected to take in order to keep themselves or others and their property safe. The detailed examination of a company and its financial records, done before becoming involved in a business arrangement with it.

Espionage: The practice of spying or use of spies, typically by governments to obtain political and military information. 

FCPA: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq. ("FCPA"), was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person.

Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime. To report staff of the United Nations either involved in human trafficking or facilitating human trafficking, contact 1-866-347-2423.

Influence Operations: China's Influence Operations Are Pinpointing America's Weaknesses (Foreign Policy, October 4, 2018)

Money Laundering: The crime of moving money that has been obtained illegally through banks and other businesses to make it seem as if the money has been obtained legally.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) seeks to provide leadership and catalyse action in promoting and coordinating implementation of internationally agreed development goals, including the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UN: The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  It is currently made up of 193 Member States.  The mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

UNDP: United Nations Development Programme. On the ground in about 170 countries and territories, UNDP works to eradicate poverty while protecting the planet.

UN Global Compact: A call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.

UN General Assembly: The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the United Nations, the only one in which all Member States have equal representation: one nation, one vote. All 193 Member States of the United Nations are represented in this unique forum to discuss and work together on a wide array of international issues covered by the UN Charter, such as development, peace and security, international law, etc.

UNOSSC: United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (formerly the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation). The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) is a knowledge hub providing advisory and consulting services to all stakeholders on South-South and triangular cooperation. It enables developing countries to effectively face their development challenges and harness opportunities to address them.

Note:

1) This blog post provides a summary of the unfolding corruption case that targeted the United Nations from 2010 and was revealed in 2015 by US authorities. It is offered as a resource for those interested in the role played by corruption in international development and international institutions, or who are interested in case law and the application of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If anything, the case stands as a brazen act of criminality and corruption, and, with South-South News still based out of the United Nations and still functioning as a news service, maybe proof the UN has a long way to go to walk the talk on fighting corruption.

In future blog posts we will explore what the ongoing trials have revealed about this case and the United Nations and what lessons can be learned. 

2) Some stories and legal documents have been blocked on search engines when doing name searches for various individuals. To avoid missing key stories and documents related to this case (and, if you are a journalist, wasting precious time), we will keep this blog post up-to-date as more material related to this multinational bribery and corruption plot becomes public. We believe it is unethical for a person or persons who were receiving public funds, enjoying the privileges of an international salary and post-retirement pension, to avoid scrutiny for their actions, especially when the law is broken. We also believe it is a danger to others if entities or employers retain the services of these corrupt individuals and risk unwittingly exposing themselves to future criminal prosecutions.  

Monday
Oct022017

Innovation Agenda and Timeline | 2007 - 2015

 


 

2007: David South Consulting retained to research and write the United Nations e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions for the then-Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (now the UN Office for South-South Cooperation). 

We were able to identify numerous trends that were at the time being overlooked or under-reported; trends that could radically re-shape international development. This included the rapid rise of mobile phones in the global South and their powerful impact on economic development, the rush to cities and urban areas that was turning the world into a majority urban place, and the shift to greater South-South trade, investment and contact. Whereas the past involved people always looking North for inspiration, capital and business and trade relationships, this was shifting to South-South arrangements. And there were plenty of inspirational, modern, 21st century examples of economic, social and human development achievements across the global South to report on. By consistently tracking and chronicling a quiet revolution underway in the global South, the e-newsletter was able to draw attention to a rising 21st-century global innovator culture being shaped by the use of mobile phones and information technologies. Few at the time had grasped how much this was going to reshape the international development paradigm. 

To start, the e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions (begun in 2006), was used to gather together as many stories, data, trends, and contacts as possible and get this message to as wide a group as possible. Luckily, this coincided with the very moment whole swathes of the global South were coming online, either through connecting with mobile phones or through the Internet. Quickly, it became clear there was not a lack of inspiring stories and innovations and solutions to share, but a lack of resources to communicate them. One solution was to utilise a new publishing tool that emerged in 2007: crowd-powered news services. It became a great way to bypass the stranglehold on news and information held by traditional media. Read more on this here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/251968773/Southern-Innovator-Summary-of-Impact-2011-to-2012

In particular, the e-newsletter caught the eye of those looking for inspiration in the wake of the 2007/2008 global economic crisis: 

“Great economic and business reporting! Very helpful for us.” Africa Renewal, Africa Section, Strategic Communications Division, United Nations Department of Public Information

“I just went over your June newsletter. It’s very well done and far reaching. Congratulations!” Violette Ruppanner, Director, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy, Geneva, Switzerland

“Just to let you know I enjoyed the newsletter a lot – it was interesting to learn about things going on that I would never otherwise find out about, and also the listing of future conferences and events proved very useful.” Ian Sanderson, Deloitte, Geneva, Switzerland

“Congratulations on another great newsletter that’s packed with fascinating information! I really enjoy getting it each month.” Whitney Harrelson, Making Cents, Washington D.C.

Stories we published that year include: 

Computing in Africa is Set to Get a Big Boost 

Trade to Benefit the Poor Up in 2006 and to Grow in 2007

Social Networking Websites: A Way Out of Poverty

Innovation from the Global South

Creative Use of Wi-Fi to Reach the Poor

Web 2.0 to the Rescue! Using Web and Text to Beat Shortages in Africa

A New House Kit for Slum Dwellers that is Safe and Easy to Build

Afro Coffee: Blending Good Design and Coffee

2008: Development work begins on the concept for a book on innovation in the global South. Attend an Africa trade-focused meeting in Switzerland just as the global crisis breaks. Witness attendees dash from the event as they get frantic calls from London and New York. Undertake Cuba study tour with the BSHF.

Stories we published that year include:

Cyber Cities in the South: An Oasis of Opportunity

Decent and Affordable Housing for the Poor

Nollywood: Booming Nigerian Film Industry

Illiterate Get Internet at the Touch of a Button

Insects Can Help in a Food Crisis

New Weapon Against Crime in the South

Urban Farming to Tackle Global Food Crisis

Urban Youth: A Great Source of Untapped Growth

2009: The book concept becomes a magazine. Attend the UN Conference on the Social and Political Dimensions of the Global Crisis: Implications for Developing Countries in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Stories we published that year include:

Debt-free Homes For the Poor

 Rickshaw Drivers Prosper with New Services 

Cuba’s Hurricane Recovery Solution

Rebuilding After Chinese Earthquake: Beautiful Bamboo Homes

Crowdsourcing Mobile Phones to Make the Poor Money

African Ingenuity Attracting Interest

Making the World a Better Place for Southern Projects

Growing a Southern Brand to Global Success: The Olam Story 

2010: Begin working with graphic designer and illustrator Solveig Rolfsdottir and graphic designer Eva Hronn Gudnadottir in Reykjavik, Iceland on the initial concepts for what would become Southern Innovator. The working title for the new magazine is Creative Sparks. 

Stories we published that year include:

Shoes with Sole: Ethiopian Web Success Story 

Housing Solution for World’s Growing Urban Population

Indonesian Middle Class Recycle Wealth Back into Domestic Economy

Crowdfunding Technology Start-up Success in Africa

Mongolia Looks to Become Asian IT Leader

Innovation in Growing Cities to Prevent Social Exclusion

Maker Faire and the R&D Rise in the South

Food Diplomacy Next Front for South’s Nations 

2011: In 2011, a new magazine, Southern Innovator was launched at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in Rome, Italy, using the insights gleaned from the e-newsletter. The first issue on mobile phones and information technology was called “a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space…”. A further four issues were published on different themes (and launched at global expos around the world), culminating in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) adopting innovation and South-South cooperation as its guiding approach in its new strategic plan for 2014 to 2017 (http://ssc.undp.org/content/dam/ssc/documents/Key%20Policy%20Documents/N1362177.pdf) (UNDP’s second ever). Southern Innovator was cited as one of the reasons for this. Issue 2 of Southern Innovator, on the theme of youth and entrepreneurship, was also cited as a resource in the first-ever UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 (http://www.pnud.org.br/arquivos/Youth%20Strategy%202014-2017.pdf)  (http://www.youthpolicy.org/library/wp-content/uploads/library/2014_UNDP_Youth_Strategy_Eng.pdf). 

Stories we published that year include:

Food Inflation: Ways to Fight It

Disaster Recovery, Ten Years After: The Gujarat, India Experience

Cambodian Bloggers Champion New, Open Ways

Indian ID Project is Foundation for Future Economic Progress

African Youth Want to do Business in Fast-growing Economy

Anti-bribery Website in India Inspires Others

Data Surge across Global South Promises to Re-shape the Internet

Filipino Architect wants to Transform Slum with New Plan

2012: Two issues of Southern Innovator are launched this year: Youth and Entrepreneurship and Agribusiness and Food Security. They are launched at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in Vienna, Austria.

Stories we published that year include:

Microwork Pioneer Transforms Prospects for Poor, Vulnerable

Venture Capital Surge in Africa to Help Businesses

Africa’s Tourism Sector Can Learn from Asian Experience

Designed in China to Rival ‘Made in China’

China Looking to Lead on Robot Innovation

Kenya Turns to Geothermal Energy for Electricity and Growth

Global South’s Rising Economies Gain Investor Spotlight 

Cooking Bag Helps Poor Households Save Time, Money

2013: In 2013, the global Human Development Report took on the theme “The Rise of the South”: a theme first mooted as a potential cover story for Southern Innovator’s launch issue while in development in 2010 (http://www.davidsouthconsulting.com/blog/2015/7/27/you-heard-it-here-first-influencing-perspectives-on-the-glob.html). 

The Cities and Urbanization issue is launched at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Stories we published that year include:

Global South Experiencing Transportation Revolution 

Global South’s Middle Class is Increasing Prosperity

African Digital Laser Breakthrough Promises Future Innovation

Boosting Tourism in India with Surfing Culture

US $1 Trillion Opportunity for Africa's Agribusinesses Says Report

Time-Tested Iranian Solutions to Cool and Refrigerate

Small Fish Farming Opportunity Can Wipe Out Malnutrition

Vietnamese Google Rival Challenging Global Giant

2014: The fifth issue of Southern Innovator is launched at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in Washington, D.C.. Southern Innovator has always tried to inspire others to take action and this has turned out to be the case. 

"Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation. Heart is pumping adrenaline and admiration just reading it”

Once blazing a lonely trail, there are now many places to find stories on global South innovation (The Guardian, SciDev, Devex, Business Fights Poverty, Zunia etc.). Mainstream media have also woken up to the energy and change sweeping across the global South, disrupting its regular diet of negative news stories focused around war, disasters and failure (unfortunately, still the majority of what most people see on their TV). 

"I liked your latest Southern innovator! Always inspiring.”

"Btw, I really enjoyed reading them, impressive work & a great resource. Looking forward to Issue 6. My best wishes to you & your team at SI.”

"The magazine looks fantastic, great content and a beautiful design!"

Most importantly, it is the young who have told us they ‘get’ Southern Innovator. It portrays a world they know - comfortable with new technologies, looking to solve problems, open to doing things in new ways. And it is that audience that excites us the most: the youth of the global South (Africa’s young population will be a huge contributor to the world's working-age workforce by 2050): they are shaping the new world we live in and seeking a role in it.

On Twitter, comments included: From @CapacityPlus Nice job RT @ActevisCGroup: RT @UNDP: Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @UNDP Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @JeannineLemaire Graphically beautiful & informative @UNDP Southern Innovator mag on South-South Innov. 

The phases of this project have been compiled in two e-books and published online here: 

Phase 1: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=llSeBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:6eHzE10XqZIC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjSlZz3hv_KAhUDNhoKHetuA6EQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Phase 2: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lK4jBgAAQBAJ&pg=PP4&dq=southern+innovator+compilation+of+documents&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwicqc3yhv_KAhVGPxoKHc5KC08Q6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=southern%20innovator%20compilation%20of%20documents&f=false

Phase 3: Scale-up Southern Innovator by seeking funding and support. 

Stories we published that year include:

Women Empowered by Fair Trade Manufacturer

Global South Trade Boosted with Increasing China-Africa Trade in 2013

India 2.0: Can the Country Make the Move to the Next Level?

“Pocket-Friendly” Solution to Help Farmers Go Organic

The BRCK: Kenyan-Developed Solution to Boost Internet Access

3D Printing Gives Boy a New Arm in Sudan

China’s Outsourced Airliner Development Model

Big Data Can Transform the Global South’s Growing Cities

2015: In September 2015 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-34372188), China's President Xi Jinping announced China would spend US $2 billion on South-South cooperation initiatives. This has been called “a ‘game changer’ in international relations” (http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/11/opinion-chinas-new-south-south-funds-a-global-game-changer/). President Xi also said of South-South cooperation, it is: “a great pioneering measure uniting the developing nations together for self-improvement, is featured by equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit, win-win result, solidarity and mutual assistance and can help developing nations pave a new path for development and prosperity.”

© David South Consulting 2017 

 


Sunday
Sep242017

UNDP Clients | 1997 - 2014

UNDP Mongolia Communications Office 

A sample of the many publications developed by the UNDP Mongolia Communications Office between 1997 and 1999. Photographed in our London, UK HQ.

UNDP Mongolia staff photo 1997. I served for two years as the UNDP Mongolia head of communications (1997-1999). I am sitting front row centre left of the UN Resident Coordinator Douglas Gardner.

United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

Resulting from the influential UN e-newsletter Development Challenges, South-South Solutions, Southern Innovator magazine published five issues between 2011 and 2014. Designed by Solveig Rolfsdottir in Iceland using 100% renewable energy.

Senior Partner David South at the Sydney Opera House in 2013.

© David South Consulting 2017

Tuesday
Jul112017

Why David South Consulting (DSC)/David South International (DSI)? 

 

How we work is as important as the results we get. In fact, we believe it shapes the result. Get the journey to the goal right, and the goal will be better for it; more substantial, more effective, more long-lasting. We have developed a methodology and way of working that can take complex and complicated mandates and turn them into clear achievements.

Through our case studies, we show how messy, complex and often conflicting mandates are re-shaped into substantial achievements that inspire others. We have done this for large institutions undergoing great stress and transformation (usually in some way brought on by digital change), and for smaller organizations and start-ups. 

Modern organizations are diverse, often under stress, and buffeted by shifting political demands. 

We understand complexity is the norm for any organization working with highly educated professionals seeking to be leaders in their field. If you do not engage them, they leave for greener pastures. 

We listen, we review the mandates and research the data; we get to know the players and stakeholders; and then we act, with the staying power and focus required to get substantial results. It has made many of our past clients’ careers - and money. 

This includes offering strategic support to senior large institution leaders, including high-profile women leaders and senior UN officials and healthcare professionals

For example, we have twice helped in making UNDP (the UN’s development agency) relevant to the digital era, adapting to the new way of doing things, in particular how young people can be better engaged. We have worked in a major crisis in Asia, during rapid transformation to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) (being called a “role model”), and with a wide range of clients, from youth media start-ups to a prestigious academic research institute. 

Quick to spot trends and consistently viewing them from a human development perspective (UNDP’s development methodology, which is championed every year in its global and national human development reports), DSC/DSI was able to build a respected profile and brand for the United Nations, while drawing others into the innovation and South-South space, making it ‘cool’.

When this work had started at the end of 2006, there was very little coverage online and in the media of the quiet solutions revolution in the global South; today there are many services, media outlets and websites covering stories on the global South and innovation. Examples include The Guardian, SciDev, Devex, Planet Earth Institute, Quartz, etc. And the innovation message has been picked up by governments around the world. 

While consulting for UN missions in the early to mid-2000s, we had noticed a disconnect between how development was being done and what was happening in information and mobile technology and its potential. 

As far back as the late 1990s in Mongolia (then embroiled in a major crisis), DSC/DSI was able to leverage the emerging Internet and information technologies to address the crisis response. Called a “role model” for other UN missions in a global UN assessment, this work inspired the wider UN to alter its approach to these new technologies and capabilities.

During several years of working as a consultant in various UN missions around the world, we also noticed further disconnects. The rapid take-up of mobile phones being the most important. This had gone on quietly but it was revolutionary in what it could do for development. In fact, it was clear there was a quiet revolution happening in how people solved problems and dealt with the problems in their lives and it had little to do with ‘high-level’ declarations or elaborate plans. Instead, people were adapting these new technologies and potentialities to solve their problems organically: how to make money, how to support their families, how to get an education and learn, how to live in the rapidly urbanising world of their lived experience.

In 2007 we were hired by the UN’s then-Special Unit for South-South Cooperation (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) to document this quiet revolution and champion its innovators and pioneers.    

© David South Consulting 2017

Sunday
Jul092017

Southern Innovator and Development Challenges, South-South Solutions | UNOSSC Client

 

Since 2007, DS Consulting has been working with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) in UNDP (formerly the United Nations Development Programme’s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation), tracking the most exciting event of our times: the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse. Learn more about South-South cooperation from Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South%E2%80%93South_cooperation.

On top of documenting the trends and new players shaping this fast-changing world, DS Consulting worked on developing Southern Innovator, launched in May 2011. Southern Innovator (ISSN 2222-9280) is designed by Icelandic graphic designer Sólveig Rolfsdóttir and is intended to showcase innovation-led ways people across the global South are making money and fighting poverty. It is being distributed around the world and online.

“As a communicator, UNOSSC uses a variety of tools to promote, advocate for and share information on South-South cooperation. These tools, which have enabled partners to take leadership and ownership roles, show results and claim credibility, include the annual United Nations Day for SSC, exhibitions at the GSSD Expo [Global South-South Development Expo], Southern Innovator, the quarterly multi-agency “South-South in Action” and the Creative Economy Report.” Compilation of Case Studies on Management of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, March 2015, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Strategic framework of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, 2014-2017

In 2013, the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Office for Project Services had this to say:

"In providing secretariat services to the High-level Committee, UNOSSC will provide Member States with evidence-based research and analysis on trends, opportunities and challenges to South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation through reports prepared in collaboration with other United Nations organizations, including the annual reports of the Secretary-General on the state of South-South cooperation, biennial reports to the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, policy briefs, public statements, advocacy e-newsletters, the Southern Innovator magazine and many other publications on South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation, as resources permit."

View the PDF of the Strategic Framework for South-South Cooperation here: http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/cooperation/en/south_south/docs/unossc_strategic_framework_2014-2017.pdf

Two e-book compilations are also available showing key documents and artwork from the magazine since 2011.

Southern Innovator Magazine from 2012 to 2014: A compilation of documents from the magazine's recent years

Southern Innovator Magazine from 2012 to 2014: A compilation of documents from the magazine's recent years 

Southern Innovator Magazine from 2011 to 2012: A compilation of documents from the magazine's early years 

From 1997 to 1999 I headed the UN's Communications Office in Mongolia. This was a time of great change and crisis in the country. In 1998, I wrote an update on the unfolding political crisis. Mongolia Update - Coverage of 1998 Political Changes can be downloaded here. Some highlights from this briefing include an introduction to the new prime minister (and now current president) and an explanation of the turbulent forces behind Asia's newest democracy. A lively account of this time is Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia by Jill Lawless. For a thorough account of Mongolia's transition experience, try reading Modern Mongolia: From Khans to Commissars to Capitalists by Morris Rossabi.

Curated content is now also online. This includes:

Mongolia Crisis 1997 to 1999 Resources

GOSH Child Health Portal 2001 to 2003 Resources

 

© David South Consulting 2017