Monday, August 19, 2019

UN Pension Fund: Staff Representatives Report Threats and Intimidation at Pension Board meeting, August 19, 2019

August 19, 2019

REPORT ON THIS YEAR'S PENSION BOARD MEETING: THREATS AND INTIMIDATION, UNPAID RETIREES, RISING COSTS, NEW LEADERSHIP, CHANGES TO INVESTMENT POLICY
Dear Colleagues
You may have read on social media about the chaos, physical threats and intimidation that marked last month’s annual meeting of the Pension Fund’s Board at the UN compound in Nairobi. As your elected staff pension committee representatives and members of the Board, we would like to share with you a full account of the meeting. Please note that while the Fund is actuarially in balance (0.1 percent unfunded), it faces significant governance and legal risks that can negatively impact its sustainability, putting it in a delicate position. Further, based on our own analysis we are unfortunately unable to assign credibility to the performance data published by the Fund.
(Version française en bas)
- The Fund is beset by governance and legal risks
This year’s session was sadly marred by shouting, banging on tables, intimidatory comments, and a physical threat by the Chair of the Board to remove one of your representatives from the room “involuntarily”. The Board also collaborated in illegally suspending another of your representatives from the meeting. One of your representatives was illegally barred from voting. Two of your representatives were illegally prevented from taking part in segments of the session, despite the UN Appeals Tribunal having three times ruled such acts contrary to the Fund’s regulations. Taken together this prevented us from effectively defending your interests and created an atmosphere of physical insecurity within a UN facility. Additionally the Board’s report to the General Assembly omits some of our interventions and misrepresents certain decisions, and is therefore not a true reflection of the Board’s proceedings, raising important issues of integrity.
Underlying this behaviour is a fear by Board members from certain small specialized agencies that sensible and much-needed reforms from a General Assembly-backed governance review that we pushed for, would reduce their voting weights in line with their organizations’ declining population weights and financial contributions to the Fund. Currently the agencies represent one-third of participants but have retained two-thirds of the votes. Your representatives are therefore outvoted on issues that matter to you, such as legal compliance, promptness of payments and sustainability.
It should be noted that as part of this governance review the Board rejected requests by the General Assembly, and for which we had made proposals, to assign greater voting weight to the UN, to make use of its executive committee, known as the Standing Committee, for dealing with urgent issues that require decisions between annual Board meetings, and to give retirees the right to elect their representatives to the Board. We nevertheless made sure our proposals were mentioned in the report. The Board did approve a proposal for terms of reference for Board members whereby they are now expected to have a knowledge of the Fund’s rules, which is welcome. However, we continue to have concerns about attempts to block transparency about the Board’s proceedings and decisions, and the intimidation we continue to face in communicating with you, our electors.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

UN Pension Board meeting marred by physical threats and intimidation, July 30, 2019




The UN Pension Board’s communiqué of its 66th session in Nairobi that ended on 26 July 2019 (link below) contains a status report by the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments, and very little else of substance. 

Nor is there mention of unprecedented levels of physical threats and intimidation, as well as shouting, jeering, and banging on tables, aimed at duly elected UN participant representatives. But it has much to say about establishing a Code of Conduct and related enforcement that's apparently urgently required for self-regulation. 


This communiqué follows the tactic of previous Board messages in its false implication that investment performance exists in a vacuum with no reference to, let alone dependence on, effective governance.

“The long-term financial stability of the Fund was reconfirmed,” crows Acting CEO Janice Dunn Lee – none of whose responsibilities include investments -- before she leaps to reinforce the fiction that “there is no backlog of entitlement cases”.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

UN Pension Board: Some throwing eggs; others breaking them. Hoping for constructive results, July 25, 2019




The UN Pension Board's 66th session in Nairobi, 22 to 26 July, is almost over.

While we'll find out soon enough what its members have done with the sweeping GA reforms contained in resolution A/RES/73,/274, there have been some disquieting signs for some time.

An example was the Board's obvious flouting of the GA’s directive regarding the composition of its Governance Working Group that has been considering several of the proposed reforms for presentation to the Board.

The dysfunction in the Fund Secretariat, currently under Acting CEO Janice Dunn Lee, will be on full display with what's reportedly deliberate and massive misrepresentation of the backlog in pension payments, and a proposed decapitation of the Geneva office for reasons reportedly not based in fact.

The Board will hear from the Representative of the Secretary-General for Investments who’s reportedly shaking up the Office of Investment Management (OIM) and in the process encountering opposition from some staff who apparently don’t share parts of his vision for the OIM.

Major items on the Board’s agenda

As a main item on the Board’s plate is the GA directive in paragraph 14 of its resolution A/RES/73/274, which states that the “Pension Board established a working group, which should adhere to the tripartite structure of the Board, to consider…” issues including “(b) The composition and size of the Board, including the role of retiree representatives and the modalities for directly electing retiree representatives to the Board.”

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Update: UN Pension Fund: Toxicity and resistance to change in management culture, July 8, 2019


This article was first published on 6 July 2019 and updated on 8 July 2019.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Fund Secretariat, Janice Dunn Lee, moves to decapitate the Geneva office by transferring two of three senior posts to New York, continues the practice of misrepresenting the extent of the backlog in pension payments, goes along to get along with the Pension Board in its pushback against General Assembly reforms,  and refuses to meet with Fund staff representatives at the departmental level.

While this article mainly focuses on dysfunction in the Fund Secretariat, there is disconcerting information about the Office of Investment Management (OIM) under the leadership of Representative of the Secretary-General, Sudhir Rajkumar, who took up his duties in January 2018. 

Update: Since first publishing this article on 6 July, additional, and contradictory, information of the situation in the OIM has come to light. This precludes an objective account of reports that include insufficient transparency in investment reporting and the sidelining of some senior investment officers, among other concerns. There will be more on this as the situation clarifies.

The “Rules-are-like-guidelines” Acting CEO

As reported on 11 January 2019 (link 1), Dunn Lee, who had taken up her post only days before,   announced in her first meeting with  Fund staff representatives that “rules are like guidelines”. Since then, she’s reportedly repeated several variations on the theme, signaling, in the minds of many, that things were not about to get better,  and possibly worse. 

Taking cues from former CEO Sergio Arvizu's playbook, and employing former Acting CEO Paul Dooley as her adviser, Dunn Lee continues to decline to meet with staff representatives at the departmental level on matters concerning Fund staff.

Pushing back against reforms

In her role as Acting Secretary of the Pension Board, Dunn Lee appears to be collaborating with the  Board leadership’s foot-dragging on corrective actions and reforms made by the General Assembly in resolution A/RES/73/274 (link 2) in response to the comprehensive governance audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), A/73/341 (link 3). This follows the Board’s rejection of the OIOS governance audit’s findings and recommendations at its July 2018 annual meeting, and its attempt to discredit OIOS auditors (links 4 and 5).

Thursday, June 13, 2019

UN Pension Fund: Janice Dunn Lee on accountability and whistleblower protection, June 14, 2019




Janice Dunn Lee, Acting CEO responsible for managing the Secretariat of the $66 billion UN Pension Fund, sends a message in a Facebook comment (FCUNS Facebook group) about her views on accountability and whistleblower protection. She's reportedly a candidate for the (falsely advertised) post of CEO/Pension Benefits Administrator. The Fund has been suffering from management and oversight problems for years. We know that the Pension Board's succession planning committee, in picking her for the job, noted that she had limited technical and financial pension experience. (That was typical UN understatement). If this is an example of her management style, there could be much worse in the Fund's future. 

See below screenshot of her post and the video that she posted at 12.15 am on June 13, 2019, on FCUNS, in a comment responding to the article on 'The UN: where whistleblower protection and accountability are missing in action" posted on the blog on June 9, 2019: npension.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-un-where-accountability-and.html








Sunday, June 9, 2019

The UN: Where accountability and whistleblower protection are missing in action, 9 June 2019

In its  “Comprehensive audit of the governance structure and related processes of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board” the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) found several issues of mismanagement and conflicts of interest in the Fund Secretariat under the leadership of its former Chief Executive Officer, Sergio Arvizu, including that he had retaliated against three staff members. https://undocs.org/A/73/341

The UN Ethics Office established that retaliation had occurred and the UN Administration accepted (in writing) its findings in all three cases, and its recommendation of referral for possible disciplinary action.

The same UN Administration that determined that Arvizu (who was at the level of Assistant-Secretary-General) was guilty of retaliation had also formally defined retaliation as misconduct only a year earlier (para. 3.5(d) of Administrative Instruction ST/AI/2017/1).  https://undocs.org/ST/AI/2017/1

Therefore, by its own definition, the UN Administration had determined that Arvizu had committed misconduct. In the current UN environment of frenzied reform and accountability, one might assume that he would be held accountable. That was not the case.

UN Pension Fund : Loopholes and double standards in disability awards? 9 June 2019

A senior position at the UN can be an attractive prospect: nice salary, travel, and benefits including membership in the UN's pension fund, one of the few remaining final salary schemes, i.e., benefits received on retirement are based on earnings and length of membership in the scheme.

But the system reportedly includes loopholes that work for the benefit of some while imposing onerous costs on the Fund. At the same time, the system also penalizes others. 

Former Chief Executive Officer of the Pension Fund Secretariat, Sergio Arvizu, whose five-year contract ended in December 2017, fought hard for a second and final five-year term. This would have taken him to his normal retirement age, entitling him to a pension of some $91,000 per year.

Instead, after successive internal audits revealed mismanagement, conflicts of interest, and procurement irregularities under his leadership, Arvizu received a three-year reappointment. This would have meant leaving two years before the normal retirement age and receiving a reduced early pension.

The day after he received the bad news about his shortened term, Arvizu went on sick leave.  A year and a half later, he received a disability benefit through the International Atomic Energy Agency, where he never worked a day, instead of through the UN Staff Pension Committee..

As the disability benefit is based on the pension that he would have received had he worked until the normal retirement age, Arvizu can now look forward to about $85,000 a year, instead of $65,000 if he had completed the three-year contract.

Friday, April 26, 2019

UN PENSION FUND: "CEO" job vacancy cancelled and reissued and still falsely advertised, 26 April 2019



"CEO" JOB VACANCY CANCELLED AND RE-ISSUED AND STILL FALSELY ADVERTISED 



UN Human Resources and the Pension Board have cancelled the original falsely advertised vacancy announcement (see links below) only to reissue it with most of the same mis-statements.

The post title has been partially changed:  from "Chief Executive Officer (CEO) -- Pension Fund Administrator" to "Chief Executive Officer (CEO - Pension Benefits Administrator".

It still falsely offers a title that includes "CEO" with a five-year contract, and the possibility of an additional five years, despite General Assembly resolution A/73/274 adopted on 23 December 2018, that clearly states neither title will exist less than a year from now - January 2020.

Quote: “ Para. 13.     Notes the current dual role of the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the Board; and decides to replace the existing post by two distinct and independent positions as “Pension Benefits Administrator” and “Secretary of the Board” no later than January 2020”.

It's corrected the name of the "Office of Investment Management", but still implies that the functions of the post extends to both sides of the Fund, quote:  "Overseeing the Pension Fund's operations and managing its staff of over 200." 

And it still states (for an ASG-level post) that "A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.”

 CURRENT VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT:


CANCELLED VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

False advertising: for UN Pension Fund CEO - Pension Fund Administrator, 10 April 2019








Vacancy announcement, United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund:

"Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Pension Fund Administrator, ASG" (see link below).

This vacancy announcement for head of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund Secretariat, at the level of Assistant-Secretary-General, advertises the title as  “Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - Pension Fund Administrator”. That's a problem and there are a few others.

According to UN General Assembly resolution A/73/274 adopted on 23 December 2018, neither title will exist less than a year from now - January 2020.

The job title of "Pension Fund Administrator" and the description of the job functions imply that the functions of the post extend to both sides of the Fund (benefits and investments). That is not the case.

The announcement implies a five-year contract with those titles, and holds out the possibility of a possible further five-year contract under the same titles. That is not the case.

(Note that for all that, the announcement holds no worries for potential candidates' educational qualifications:  “A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.”)

These are the facts:

Paragraph 13 of General Assembly resolution A/73/274 , requiring sweeping reforms to address issues in the  UN Joint Staff Pension Fund, including conflicts of interest caused by the dual role of CEO and Secretary of the Pension Board, whereby the former CEO controlled the agenda including his own performance evaluation,  states the following in paragraph 13:

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Oglesby against the UN Pension Board: More than one thing wrong with this picture. 2 April 2019



There's more than one thing wrong with this picture.

OGLESBY AGAINST THE UNITED NATIONS JOINT STAFF PENSION BOARD

Case no. 20181208

(Hear the judgment at minutes 57 to 62 on the video, and/or read the unofficial transcript below).

Pronouncement of synopsis of UN Appeals Tribunal Judgments

QUOTE “The exclusion of Mr. Oglesby’s spouse from the benefit undoubtedly denies him the conventional advantages of a family life in which spouses work together to contribute to their financial security, and more generally, perpetuates harmful and hurtful stereotypes, that same-sex relationships are unworthy of the family oriented characteristics of marriage, namely consortium, companionship, and support. This is demeaning, and an invasion of dignity and equality. There is accordingly merit in Mr. Oglesby’s argument, but unfortunately the Appeals Tribunal has no remedial power to grant him the relief he seeks.”

QUESTIONS: What is the applicability of the following Fund regulation covering marriage after the date of separation from service? Did the UNAT address this very relevant issue? What is the obligation of the Fund to inform its members of its relevant Regulations? What are the options for redress in this case?

If you are getting married after separation from service, there is no eligibility for a widow(er) benefit unless you elect to purchase an annuity within one year of the marriage (Article 35 ter of the Fund’s Regulations). Such election will be effective 18 months after the date of your marriage. For more information about the option to purchase an annuity for a spouse you married after separation from service, pleasecontact the Fund or check out our comprehensive booklet on Survivor’s Benefits.” (See link to the UNJSPB website below)."


Unofficial transcript:


Mr. Oglesby appeals against the decision of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board refusing to recognize his spouse as a prospective survivor for the purposes of a widower’s benefit under articles 34 and 35 of the Fund’s Regulations. Mr. Oglesby, a national of the United States of America, participated in the Fund for approximately twenty-five years. Upon his separation from service in 1998, Mr. Oglesby opted for a reduced early retirement benefit  under Article 29 of the Regulations.

At the time of his separation from service, Mr. Oglesby was unmarried but in a same-sex relationship.  On 23 April 2018, twenty years after his separation from service and after they had lived together continuously for thirty-six years, Mr. Oglesby married his partner in New York. Same-sex marriage only became lawful in New York in 2015. Under the expressed terms of Articles 34 and 35, Mr. Oglesby’s spouse is not entitled to a survivor’s benefit. At the time he separated from service, Mr. Oglesby was not married, and his same-sex relationship at that time did not enjoy similar status to marriage under the law of the United States. Moreover, the Fund’s extended concept of marriage to include same sex relationships, adopted by the Pension Board in 2016, does not apply retrospectively. 

Mr. Oglesby’s contentions, however, go beyond a claim to benefit under Articles 34 and 35 of the Regulations. He argues that the provisions of Articles 34 and 35 restricting his entitlement are inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations and that he should be afforded relief on that basis. The universal principle of nondiscrimination in article 8 of the Charter and Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights prohibits unfair discrimination on illegitimate grounds including sexual orientation and marital status. Mr. Oglesby submits that articles 34 and 35 of the Regulations unfairly discriminated against persons in same-sex relationships. Had his relationship been heterosexual, there would have been no legal obstacle to marriage and his spouse would have qualified for a spousal benefit at some time in the future.

The exclusion of Mr. Oglesby’s spouse from the benefit undoubtedly denies him the conventional advantages of a family life in which spouses work together to contribute to their financial security, and more generally, perpetuates harmful and hurtful stereotypes, that same-sex relationships are unworthy of the family oriented characteristics of marriage, namely consortium, companionship, and support. This is demeaning, and an invasion of dignity and equality. There is accordingly merit in Mr. Oglesby’s argument, but unfortunately the Appeals Tribunal has no remedial power to grant him the relief he seeks. The Appeals Tribunal does not have the prerogative to apply the Charter directly, nor the power to strike down internal or subsidiary legislative provisions inconsistent with the norms it enacts.  The jurisdiction of the Appeals Tribunal is restricted by Article 2, Subarticle 9 of the UNAT statute to determine whether there has been non-observance of the regulations. The Fund has acted in keeping with its Regulations. If there is indeed any enduring discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation inconsistent with the Charter that is a matter for the Secretary-General or the General Assembly. In the premises, the appeal regrettably must fail. The appeal is dismissed and the decision of the Standing Committee is affirmed.

http://webtv.un.org/watch/pronouncement-of-synopsis-of-un-appeals-tribunal-judgments/6020079678001/http://webtv.un.org/watch/pronouncement-of-synopsis-of-un-appeals-tribunal-judgments/6020079678001/



https://www.unjspf.org/help-tutorials/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/faq-beneficiaries/https://www.unjspf.org/help-tutorials/frequently-asked-questions-faqs/faq-beneficiaries/

Monday, April 1, 2019

UNAT Orders the Pension Fund to Pay Widow's Benefit, 1 April 2019



Pronouncement of synopsis of UN Appeals Tribunal Judgments

Quote: “We accordingly uphold the appeal, set aside the decision of the Standing Committee and order the Fund to pay Ms. Clemente a widow’s benefit with effect from 29 June 2016 together with other consequential brief.”

Case 20181206:  Clemente against the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board

(View video from approx. minutes 50-55, or read transcript below).

Unofficial transcript:

Ms. Clemente appeals against a decision of the Standing Committee of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board refusing to pay her a widow’s benefit in terms of article 34 of the Fund’s Regulations. 
Article 34 provides that a widow’s benefit will be payable to the surviving spouse of a participant who is entitled to a retirement benefit at the time of his death if she was married to the deceased at the date of separation of service and remained married to him until his death.

Ms. Clemente married her deceased husband in the Philippines in March 1995 and remained in a relationship with him for twenty-one years until his death on the 29th of June 2016,  a mere seven months after he had retired from service on the 30th of November 2015. Mr. Clemente  listed Ms. Clemente as his spouse throughout his participation in the Fund,  from October 1999 until his retirement.  However,Mr. Clemente was previously married in the Philippines to Ms. Madeline Agbyane.  He married her in 1978,  but this marriage was not annulled by a court in the Philippines until the 21st of August 1996, about a year after his marriage to Ms. Clemente. Divorce is not legal in the Philippines. The only manner in which a marriage can end other than through the death of a spouse is by annulment.  The causes for annulment are of a restricted nature, for example, fraud or one of the parties not being of sound mind.  

The Fund informed Ms. Clemente that on its understanding of Philippine law, her marriage to Mr. Clemente was bigamous and thus null and void because it predated the annulment of Mr. Clemente’s first marriage. Accordingly, it rejected her request for a widow’s benefit under Article 34.  

In accordance with the general principles of private international law, the validity of a marriage is usually assessed and determined in accordance with the lege loco celebrationem, law of the place of celebration, being in this case the law of the Philippines. The Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled on various occasions that although a second marriage celebrated while a first marriage was still subsisting might be presumed to be void ab initio, it would be presumptively valid until declared a nullity by a court.  The reasoning of the Supreme Court of the Philippines reflects pragmatism in assessing the consequences of illegality. In most municipal legal systems,  illegal juridical acts are often deemed to exist until they are set aside by a court in appropriate proceedings because they have legal consequences that cannot be simply overlooked.  A marriage may be hypothetically a nullity but remains effective and is in reality valid until a judicial declaration to the contrary.  The evidence does not disclose that Ms. Clemente’s marriage has been the subject of any legal proceedings for a declaration of nullity in the Philippines. The marriage is recognized by the competent authorities of the Philippines. Her presumptively valid marriage was extant at the date Mr. Clemente separated from service and she remained so married to him until his death.

In the premises,  Ms. Clemente is entitled to payment of a widow’s benefit in terms of article 34 of the Regulations. Ms. Clemente’s request for costs of the appeal cannot be sustained.  Article 9, Subarticle 2 of the UNAT statute permits the Appeals Tribunal to award costs only if a party has manifestly abused the appeals process.  The decision of the Standing Committee was reached in good faith and in the interest of the other participants of the Fund. It stands as by no means an abuse of the process. We accordingly uphold the appeal, set aside the decision of the Standing Committee and order the Fund to pay Ms. Clemente a widow’s benefit with effect from 29 June 2016 together with other consequential brief.







United Nations Appeals Tribunal: "The Fund's actions in this regard are egregious". 1 April 2019





SHE WON HER CASE. THEY TRIED AGAIN. SHE WON AGAIN. NOW THE PENSION BOARD IS TRYING TO CHANGE THE FUND'S REGULATIONS....

Michelle Rockcliffe vs. the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board

UNAT Judgment 20181201 (watch video approx. minutes 31 to 37, link below,  or read transcript). 

When Michelle Rockcliffe was elected in 2017 to the Pension Board as a UN Participant Representative, the Pension Board, pushed by the former Fund CEO, tried to block her membership to the Board on grounds of a conflict of interest. The United Nations Appeal Tribunal found it her favor and she took her seat on the Board.

The Pension Fund management and the Pension Board, were relentless. Subsequently, with help from the Ethics Office, the Pension Board again sought to deny her membership on the Budget Working Group, on the basis of the same grounds of conflict of interest which had been vacated by the Tribunal. The UNAT has now ruled that the actions of the Board were “egregious” in failing to comply with the UNAT order. 

Quote: “The Fund’s actions in this regard are egregious. The ruling of the Tribunal explicitly ordered that Mrs. Rockcliffe should be allowed to participate and function as an elected member to the Pension Committee in all relevant areas including the Pension Board’s constituent groups, committees, and working groups. ....We thus order that Mrs. Rockcliffe be allowed to participate as an appointed member of the Budget Working Group without prejudice to her recusing herself when an actual conflict of interest emerges.” 

Note that in response to this case, and in its continued quest to reduce transparency and oversight of its actions, the Pension Board, spurred on by the Fund management and Board Chair, has continued its attempt to bar Fund staff from being elected to the Board by proposing a change to Article 6 of the Fund’s Regulations as well as Article 48, where it’s attempting to limit the jurisdiction of the UNAT. The General Assembly is apparently not so easily hoodwinked. In para. 20 of its resolution A/73/274 calling for sweeping reforms in Fund governance, it “Requests the Board to provide further analysis on the impact of the proposed amendment to Articles 6 and 48 and to report in the context of the next report.” 


Unofficial transcript: 

Pronouncement of synopsis of UN Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) Judgments

Case no. 20181201, Rockcliffe against the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board

The crux for consideration and determination of this application for execution is whether it falls within the scope of the Appeals Tribunal’s order in its previous judgment issued on Dec 8 2017.  In the previous case, the issue of conflict of interest alleged arose from the fact that Mrs. Rockcliffe had been elected to the Pension Committee and consequently to the Pension Board while being a staff member of the Pension Fund.  It was contended that Mrs. Rockcliffe would be overseeing her own work and that of the CEO of the Pension Fund as well as approving the budget requests and deciding on appeals against the Fund.

The main findings of the Appeals Tribunal on the merits was firstly, there was no law then prohibiting Mrs. Rockcliffe from running for election to the staff Pension Committee; secondly, she was lawfully elected; and thirdly, Mrs. Rockcliffe should consequently be accorded the same rights and privileges as the other duly elected Pension Committee members, including participating in Pension Board sessions and meetings and its constituent groups, committees and working groups. 

We find that although the Appeals Tribunal did not explicitly address the issue of conflict of interest in the previous judgment, it implicitly rejected it by applying the law in force at the time. The Appeals Tribunal stated that at the time when Mrs. Rockcliffe decided to be a candidate in the election, there was no law which prevented her from being elected to the Pension Committee. The Appeals Tribunal then held that the Standing Committee’s decision to prevent her from participating in any form of preparations for the Pension Board sessions and meetings and its constituent groups, committees and working groups is not in accordance with the law and is therefore flawed. It ordered that she should be allowed to participate and function as an elected member of the Pension Board in all relevant areas including its constituent groups, committees and wording groups.

Subsequent to the judgment, Mrs. Rockcliffe as a member of the Staff Pension  Committee was  appointed by the Board to be a member of the Budget Working Group. However, her name was removed from the list of its members based on an opinion from the UN Ethics Office which by and large repeated the earlier arguments of the Standing Committee which had been vacated by the Tribunal.

While the argument of retaliation cannot be considered in the present application for execution of judgment since it was not dealt with in the previous judgment and cannot be brought to the Tribunal’s attention at this stage, the grounds to refuse Mrs. Rockcliffe to participate as an appointed member to the Budget Working Group are basically the same used with regard to her participation in the Staff Pension Committee, which had already been rejected by the Appeals Tribunal.

What the Pension Fund seems to seek with the second decision based on the same argument of conflict of interest is to revisit the underlying factor and legal premises applicable to Mrs. Rockcliffe’s situation resulting from her being a staff member of the Fund. The Fund’s actions in this regard are egregious. The ruling of the Tribunal explicitly ordered that Mrs. Rockcliffe should be allowed to participate and function as an elected member to the Pension Committee in all relevant areas including the Pension Board’s constituent groups, committees, and working groups.

We consider therefore that the previous order is flawed.  By preventing her from serving as a Budget Working Group member, the Pension Fund failed to comply with the UNAT order. Instead the Pension Fund erroneously concluded that a possible potential conflict of interest could justify excluding Mrs. Rockcliffe from participating in any activity of the Budget Working Group. It would have been a better conclusion to comply with the UNAT order and allow her to participate in said group entirely. If any specific circumstance brings about an actual conflict of interest, it should be dealt with as it arises.  If there is indeed a conflict, Mrs. Rockcliffe can then appropriately recuse herself from that decision and that would be in keeping with the declaration referred to by the Pension Fund.

We thus order that Mrs. Rockcliffe be allowed to participate as an appointed member of the Budget Working Group without prejudice to her recusing herself when an actual conflict of interest emerges.  Mrs. Rockcliffe’s application for execution is partially upheld and the decision to remove her name from the list of members elected to the Budget Working Group is rescinded.