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With UN Corruption Case Ended in Guilty Verdict, Inner City Press Asks SG Guterres To Restore Acces

UNfree Press

Jul 28, 2017 — Antonio Guterres has been UN Secretary General for over 200 days, and whatever other reforms might be in the works, Inner City Press remains restricted, still unable to cover the UN's second floor without minders. All of this was based on Inner City Press trying to continue its covering of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery scandal, by openly live-streaming an event in the UN Press Briefing Room by an group which accepted funding from Ng Lap Seng's South South News and provided a venue for Ng to get photographs with Guterres' predecessor Ban Ki-moon.

On July 27 in a trial Inner City Press, alone among the UN press corps, covered every day for month, Ng Lap Seng was found guilty all on six counts, from money laundering to bribery to violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. While Guterres' holdover deputy spokesman insists that the UN is the victim and should be paid for its role, Inner City Press has written directly to Guterres (receipt confirmed) and his team, as follows: “Late yesterday the Macau-based businessman Ng Lp Seng was found guilty of bribery at and of the UN. The case and new evidence presented in the past month's trial which I have covered for Inner City Press would seem to require actions by the UN which you now head.

At today's noon briefing I asked whether your opinion was captured in your Deputy Spokesperson's quotes that UN was 'a victim of these crimes' and later that 'We are exploring the possibility of requesting restitution as a victim to these crimes, including recovering expenses incurred to provide the requested cooperation.'

Individuals still at the UN were known to have aided Ng; processes used by him and then President of the General Assembly John Ashe are still vulnerable to corruption. And, triggering this, the UN's decision without due process to evict Inner City Press from its long time UN office and continue to restrict me for 18 months since I sought to pursue the Ng Lap Seng corruption story in the UN Press Briefing Room should be immediately released.

On January 29, 2016 I went to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room by a group which received funds from Ng Lap Seng's South South News. I said I would cover it; when asked to leave I asked to see any paperwork that it was closed. Absent that, I said that if a UN Security officer asked me to leave, I would - and I did.

Nevertheless three weeks later with no hearing or appeal I was told to leave the UN, was physically removed and told I was banned from the UN worldwide. I have been banned from the second floor of the Conference Building, unless I have a minder, for 18 months and my long time office has been assigned to a state media which rarely comes in and never asks questions.

All this should be reversed, immediately, and going forward for other due process rules should be put in place. The acting head of DPI, out until Monday, has not done this, and claims that having the access of those who come to the UN only for General Assembly week, I am fine.
But this is not true: for example, after accompanying and covering the Security Council's recent trip to Haiti, I had nowhere to edit video for interviews I conducted there and when back. The office I had, sits empty - and should be restored, along with regular access, Resident Correspondent status. And, separately, Inner City Press asks you to make a substantive comment on the case, beyond the claim that the UN was only the victim. That is not the case, as even the audit shows - and more has come out since.

As to the names and flaws that came out in the trial, I repeatedly asked who at the UN was monitoring the trial, without answer. It is time. I am available to amplify or explain any of the above. I await your answer” - and full restoration." @InnerCityPress, InnerCityPress.com


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