WFP Inspector General 'jumps ship' after leaks fiasco
24 March 2017
ROME -- As WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin prepares to hand over the helm to nominated successor David Beasley, the UN agency's Inspector General, David Johnson, has begun clearing his desk after deciding not to seek renewal his contract as the organisation's anti-corruption czar.
Mr Johnson, a Briton who worked previously at the UK development agency DFID after graduating from the London School of Economics, was one of the most senior appointments made by Ms Cousin during her reign.
A WFP spokesman in London, Geoff Barrow, confirmed to Italian Insider that Mr Johnson is not seeking renewal of his four year contract expiring March 31 but the spokesman declined to comment on speculation by WFP sources that the inspector general was pushed out for allegedly leaking confidential audit documents to third parties including donors.
Whatever the case, filling the sensitive oversight position will be a priority for Mr Beasley as he seeks to crack down on croneyism and skullduggery at the agency while battling to prevent the Trump administration from slashing its voluntary contribution to WFP.
The appointment of effective corruption watchdog figures at the UN food agencies in Rome has been an open scandal that has allowed their management's to run the organisations as personal feifdoms.
At WFP's sister agency FAO staffers were surprised to learn that Director General José Graziano da Silva had appointed as its Inspector General Thierry Rajaobelina who as director of internal oversight at WIPO was responsible for denying Ms Miranda Brown’s whistleblower complaints against murky DG Francis Gurry.
Rajaobelina's predecessor in the post at FAO was well known for whitewashing mismanagement at the agency. Staffers at the troubled Budapest office of FAO bombarded the IG's office in Rome with complaints about the pisspoor pay and conditions at the Hungarian outpost and a dictatorial management style but were regularly referred to New York on the rare occasions they received a reply, for example. New York in turn referred them back to Rome and unsurprisingly there was a mass staff exodus.
Against this background, Mr Beasley will be looking to the new Ambassador to the UN food agencies, Samuel Brownback, the current governor of Kansas, for support in appointing a straightshooter as IG at WFP in the face of entrenched bureauracy, WFP watchers say.