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UNESCO Moez Chakchouk Put on Leave With Pay Tunisia Politics In Guterres Corrupt UN

By Matthew Russell Lee & UNESCO sources

UN GATE, Aug 31 – Inner City Press has been reporting regularly on the messy situation of UNESCO, even while banned from the UN by corrupt Antonio Guterres, now 790 days. Now this:

Serious misconduct was proven in the case of the Tunisian Assistant Director general for communication and information Moez Chakchouk. The confidential report by IOS detailing the wrongdoing was submitted earlier this year to the DG of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay according to the rules.

In an effort to cover up this case with one of the most senior members of her team, DG Azoulay preferred to close her eyes to the seriousness of the proven by the investigation misbehavior and made a decision to keep Moez Chakchouk in his position.

 However, after noticing the criticism against him at the last session of the executive board and the complaints by member states about the mismanagement of the programs and activities under the responsibility of Moez Chakchouk, DG Azoulay realized that he is slowly but surely becoming a liability in the campaign for her reelection in 2021. The granted full protectiveness to Chakchouk, because of her family ties with Tunisia, got severely shaken and the investigative report by IOS discomposed Azoulay’s plans to have a spotless senior team with which to fly over towards her reelection. 

Obviously, Moez Chakchouk therefore had to go. This is now done and he is on special leave with pay since last week, waiting for the next political moves in his home country before leaving the communication sector in shambles.

  [This contrasts to Guterres' Tel Aviv whoremongers, the procurer for which was announced to be put on leave WITHOUT pay but has been returned to pay with Guterres lying about it, here.]

In less than 2 years of his leadership of the communication sector of UNESCO, Moez Chakchouk dismantled its functional structures despite the resolution of the General conference of UNESCO explicitly commanding the secretariat not to do so, and cut or shrank most of the programs but those dealing with freedom of expression and protection of journalists. Still, when Inner City Press asked UNESCO's Guy Berger, the grandly titled Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development about his activities and those related to no content-neutral UN access rules (see here) there was no relevant answer of any kind.

At UNESCO, under Moez Chakchouk and Audrey Azoulay, promoting freedom of expression means celebrating once per year the International Day on Freedom of Expression - last year in Ethiopia, so well-known historically for its press freedom... The Agency is actually doing very little with tax payers money to protect press freedom and journalists - quite the contrary. Even the list of killed journalists established by UNESCO is only selectively updated, here.  This is hardly a surprise. If press freedom was a real priority for UNESCO, DG Azoulay would have never picked up and appoint a totally unexperienced Assistant Director general for communication and information and subsequently sit and serenely watch him destroying the sector. 

In 2018, the recruitment panel for the ADG position of Moez Chakchouk, was composed of the yes-man Firmin Matoko, the former ADG for sciences Flavia Schlegel (discharged since then), the Director Human Resources Hong Kwon, (dismissed since then because of the UNESCO cases lost in Geneva’s ILO Administrative Tribunal amounting to more than one million US dollars of tax payers money) and of the Director Cabinet Nicolas Kacyanides.

Several annotations were made following the recruitment interview about the totally empty statements of Moez Chakchouk and about his obvious lack of experience. In fact, prior to his UNESCO job, Moez Chakchouk was the head of the National Postal Service of Tunisia, and certainly not up to the UN job. Still, the decision to appoint him had been taken well in advance by DG Azoulay whose close family ties with Tunisia are well known. According to our sources, she actually committed to appoint him before even the recruitment process had been initiated officially.

Moreover, DG Azoulay being herself an expert in empty statements and general incompetence, felt rather comfortable appointing him as a senior manager, demonstrating straightforwardly that cronyism will be the only recruitment standard at UNESCO.  Since 2018, DG Azoulay put aside the HR manual and exempted most recruitments from the HR rules and regulations. Those included the one of ADG for culture (baby-Pinochet Ernesto Ottone Ramirez), of the DDG appointed directly by China with no recruitment per the rules (the semitransparent Xing Qu, who seems to still wonder what did he do wrong in his life to end up in that mess), as well as of more than 20 French nationals getting cushy positions in the Paris based UN agency as the “best” ever candidates.

Covered up and orchestrated by the Director HR Ogawa, the appointment of so many Azoulay’s compatriots is of course a farce to which only member states can put an end.  Moez Chakchouk move to the government of Tunisia is the perfect joke actually. The most incompetent ADG, with a heavy record for misconduct, was selected to join the Tunisian ‘Government of Competencies’.

Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate Hichem Mechichi will continue his political consultations and hopefully will not fail to reach progress with blocs representing key parties in the parliament. “It would be a calamity to have Moez Chakchouk back to UNESCO now that the announcement of his departure has provoked relief and hope for quick recovery of the damaged sector”, said a UNESCO source to Inner City Press. “We cross our fingers to have the government approved and wish good luck to Tunisians although they certainly deserve better qualified people to lead them through the stormy political situation”. 

Most of his colleagues hoped that Chakchouk would show some inclination for taking the job honestly, but he did not. For two years now, he has shown no capacity nor interest in putting in the work. However, even if Chakchouk leaves the UN Agency in the coming days, as in previous cases of serious misconduct, member states can still request to access the IOS report and submit it to the Executive board for consideration and accountability check of DG Azoulay’s role and decision to cover it all up.

Inner City Press will have more on that.


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