KTFA – Frank26 and KTFA Members “News and Views” 2-9-2024



 Observer: Ending the mission of the United Nations office in Iraq takes Iraq out of Chapter Seven 


The United Nations office in Iraq takes Iraq out of Chapter Seven 

Information / Baghdad..

On Wednesday, political observer Sabah Al-Ugaili called on Prime Minister Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani to end the work of the United Nations representation in Iraq, indicating that “if this matter were achieved, it would remove Iraq from Chapter Seven.”

Al-Ugaili told Al-Maalouma, “The time is right for Sudanese to ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations to end the work of its representation in Iraq, especially after Plasschaert announced the end of its mission in Iraq.”

He added, “Plasschaert’s request to end its mission and the Chinese representative’s recognition of the existence of a state of political and economic stability in Iraq gives Al-Sudani the opportunity to ask the Secretary-General of the United Nations to end the work of the United Nations office in Iraq, or at least reduce it, and then Iraq will exit Chapter Seven.”

The representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jeanine Plasschaert, had asked the Secretary-General of the United Nations that it was her mission in Iraq during her periodic briefing at the UN Security Council yesterday, Tuesday.

It is noteworthy that Iraq has been subject since 1990 to Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter, which was imposed on it after Saddam’s regime invaded the State of Kuwait in August of the same year. This clause allows the use of force against Iraq as it constitutes a threat to international security, in addition to freezing large amounts of its financial assets in Iraq. International banks to pay compensation to those affected by the invasion.  LINK


Frank26:  “WALKINGSTICK REMINDS US…” …………….F26

 The Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq receives a delegation from the World Bank

February 07, 2024

His Excellency the Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, Mr. Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq, received a delegation from the World Bank headed by the Director of the World Bank’s office in Iraq, Mr. Richard Abdel Nour.

During the meeting, they discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation between the Central Bank of Iraq and the World Bank and discussing electronic payment projects and financial inclusion, as well as reform programs to enhance the stability and development of the financial sector.

The two parties also discussed the support of the World Bank to provide advice in establishing the Riyada Bank dedicated to financing small projects in Iraq, with the support of the International Finance Corporation.

In turn, the World Bank delegation praised the procedures of the Central Bank of Iraq in facilitating financial transfers to different segments in Iraq, noting that the infrastructure of electronic payment systems and software systems in Iraq are among the best systems in the region.

 Central Bank of Iraq
Information Office

7 – February – 2024


Henig:  UN to investigate claims of corruption in Iraq aid project

Guardian report found staff allegedly sought bribes in return for helping people win deals as part of $1.5bn construction programme

Simona Foltyn    Mon 5 Feb 2024 07.09 EST

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is dispatching a team to Iraq to assess allegations of corruption in its $1.5bn (£1.2bn) construction programme following a Guardian investigation.

According to an internal document obtained by the Guardian, the UNDP’s administrator, Achim Steiner, has “commissioned a management review and assessment of the allegations” after revelations its staff were allegedly taking kickbacks in return for helping business people obtain lucrative construction contracts.

The six-page document, sent to donors on 25 January, aimed to reassure western capitals that the UNDP could hold itself to account through internal oversight mechanisms. At a subsequent meeting, several donors pressed the agency to carry out an external review to help restore credibility.

An Iraqi government official with detailed knowledge of the matter said the country’s prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, had ordered the country’s integrity commission to launch a separate investigation.

The UNDP document said the agency had previously referred 136 cases to its Office of Audit and Investigations (OAI) in relation to the reconstruction programme – the majority of which were against suppliers rather than employees. It said 56 were substantiated, of which 52 were related to vendors who subsequently faced sanction. The document provided no further detail on the remaining four cases, or whether any disciplinary action had been taken.

The brief said the UNDP was “committed to fostering a work culture and environment where all UNDP personnel can report wrongdoing without fear of retaliation”.

Magnifying glass over the United Nations Development Programme UNDP company logo
UN staff on £1.5bn Iraq aid project ‘demanding bribes’
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However, since the Guardian’s report, more UNDP employees have come forward with allegations. They described a “culture of fear” and impunity that they said extended across the agency’s Middle East offices. They accused UNDP managers who had developed close relationships with government counterparts of weaponising those ties to shield themselves from accountability while retaliating against staff who spoke out.

One person who worked at an office in the Middle East said they tried to raise the alarm over hundreds of thousands of dollars being channelled to an organisation run by a government official, but that superiors “signalled very quickly that we ought not to get involved”. When they reported the case to the OAI, the person was told they had not provided sufficient documentation for the investigation to go ahead. “The OAI doesn’t work at all. It’s completely dysfunctional,” the person said.

At UNDP Iraq, one employee filed complaints to the ombudsman and OAI alleging mismanagement and bullying by a supervisor, only to watch senior management turn against them. “They told me, either I drop my grievance or my upcoming performance review would not look good and I would be let go,” they said. The Guardian has seen copies of the complaints, but is not making further details public on this and other cases to protect the whistleblowers.

Another employee who worked for the UNDP said they were threatened by a former manager after voicing concerns over wasteful spending. “Straight away, they said: ‘You know where the door is and you won’t have a job if you continue to raise things,’” they recalled. The manager’s close ties to government officials made them untouchable. “They are in each other’s pockets, and it’s enabled from the top,” the employee said.

Last week, the UNDP’s resident representative in Iraq, Auke Lootsma, wrote in a staff email that the Guardian investigation was “very unfortunate”, adding that his office was “working with UN headquarters to refute these unfair and unjust allegations”. Lootsma asked staff to “refrain from any comment”.

In a statement to the Guardian, a UNDP spokesperson said allegations that employees were threatened with retaliation for reporting wrongdoing were “completely at odds with UNDP’s commitment to accountability, integrity and openness to scrutiny”.

The statement said the allegations were not specific enough to be addressed individually and that the agency would “welcome more details to allow the appropriate independent channels to assess further”.

It added that the UNDP’s ethics office had invested heavily in training staff on issues related to conflict of interest and protection against retaliation, and that the OAI conducted audits and investigations “independently from UNDP management or any outside party and in line with UNDP’s whistleblowing and retaliation policies”.   LINK


Henig:  Dollar steps up over dong

By Dat Nguyen Tue 2/6/2024, 08:42 pm (PT)

 The U.S. dollar rose against the Vietnamese dong Wednesday morning.

Vietcombank sold the dollar at VND24,570, up 0.16% from Tuesday.

The State Bank of Vietnam lowered its reference rate by 0.03% to VND23,956.

It fell 0.40% to VND24,850 on the black market.

 The greenback has increased by 0.61% against the dong since the beginning of the year.

 Globally the dollar remained under pressure on Wednesday after retreating from a nearly three-month high against the euro in the previous session with a decline in U.S. bond yields adding to the drag, Reuters reported.

 Analysts pointed to technical factors for the dollar’s pullback, following a two-day rally of as much as 1.4% against the euro after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs data and more hawkish rhetoric from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell scuppered bets for an early interest rate cut.

The U.S. dollar index – which measures the currency against six major peers, including the euro – was flat at 104.14, following Tuesday’s 0.29% slide. It had reached the highest since Nov. 14 at 104.60 on Monday.   LINK