IFAD top lawyer "suspended" as Tribunal slams "malevolence"

Troubled: Ifad HQ in southern Rome

ROME– IFAD Director General Kanayo Nwanze has suspended the UN agency’s General Counsel, Rutsel Martha, after adverse labour tribunal rulings cost some dlrs 1 million, IFAD sources say.

Martha, a former legal advisor of Interpol, was apparently suspended as a scapegoat amid increasing concern over the cost of payments by the famine-fighting agency for employment tribunal judgements, the sources say. The cost and nature of the judgements have attracted criticism from donor governments as Nwanze starts a controversial second four year term at the helm of the troubled agency.

An IFAD spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the suspension of Martha, saying in response to an enquiry by Italian Insider it is IFAD policy not to comment on staffing matters.

IFAD has been at the centre of scandal for some time now and the suspension of Rutsel Martha came after the International Labor Organisation Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) lashed out at IFAD for refusing to pay out after loosing a landmark unfair dismissal case.

A tribunal judgement rendered public in Geneva on Feb.6 ordered IFAD to pay Venezualan employee Ana Theresa Saez Garcia hundreds of thousands of euros in compensation following her unfair dismissal last year. However, IFAD is still attempting to revoke all responsability and are refusing to pay out any money. This led to the accusation by ILOT that "by acting in disregard of res judicata, IFAD not only ignored its duty, but also behaved towards the complainant with a bad faith ill-fitting an international organisation".

The tribunal goes on; "At every stage of the procedure the Fund constantly raised futile or unwarranted objections, procrastinated and even acted with deliberate malevolence".

The dismissal of Garcia was closely followed by the departure of Christian Mersmann, the respected head of the UN’s Global Mechanism combating desertification. UN sources said that he was sacked by the "erratic and tyrannical" President Nwanze with just 2 days notice.

The source told the Insider that a recent staff survey revealed an alarmingly low level of morale within IFAD. It also showed a startling lack of confidence in the institution’s leadership, which critics say is riddled with cronyism.



Rutsel Martha