Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well, That Would Be "Culture"

Fraud allegations at UNESCO race

Well, well.

UNESCO denied allegations of last-minute bribery attempts to sway the voting that surfaced Tuesday, hours before the fifth-round balloting.

Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni and Bulgarian former Foreign Minister Irina Bokova are neck-and-neck. If they tie in the vote late Tuesday, UNESCO statutes provide that the next director be chosen in a draw - one of their names pulled out of a bag by the chairman of the executive board.

Such a move would be unprecedented in the agency's 64-year history.

Hosni was considered the favorite for the job, despite his past comments about burning Israeli books and Egypt's contentious record of cultural censorship under his watch. But he has been unable to win a majority of votes from the 58 delegates at UNESCO's executive board.

...Suspicions of fraud have risen as the unexpectedly intense race unfolded at the agency's Paris headquarters.

A UNESCO delegate told The Associated Press that at least one person was ejected from the agency's building by UNESCO security staff for trying to bribe delegates on Monday. The official said several UNESCO member states had complained to the director general about the bribery attempts.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the eviction had been reported by senior members of UNESCO's administration.

No comments: