After Somalia & Eritrea Monitor Resigns, UNSC Chair Thinks “Taken Care Of”

Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group

some question what the chairman of the #SEMG knew & the impact of the involvement of the now-resigned Mahtani

By Matthew Russell Lee

On October 7 Inner City Press exclusively reported that a member of the UN’s Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group Dinesh Mahtani used UN SEMG time and letterhead for unrelated advocacy regarding Eritrea. Mahtani’s letter was exclusively put online here by Inner City Press.

On October 15, the Somalia and Eritrea sanctions committee chairman Ambassador Oh Joon of South Korea, when Inner City Press asked of Mahtani, said no, “we didn’t have a discussion on him. It’s been taken care of, I think.” Taken care of.

Since October 8 not only Reuters but also Agence France Presse have retyped copies of the SEMG report given to them — with no mention of the SEMG scandal and resignation acknowledged right in the UN Press Briefing Room on October 8.

Isn’t this like “reporting” on a panel of judges’ ruling without mentioning that one of the judges just resigned after being confronted with a letter he wrote about the subject matter of the case?

On October 15, when the UN Security Council met behind closed doors about SEMG and the report, the bylined scribe of Reuters Mahtani-less story about the report stood briefly in front of the Council, then left.

After an hour and a half when the meeting ended, Inner City Press asked the sanctions committee chairman Oh Joon if Mahtani and his resignation has been raised in the meeting. No, Oh Joon replied, “we didn’t have a discussion on him. It’s been taken care of, I think.”

But some question what the chairman of the SEMG knew, and how the involvement of the now-resigned Mahtani in the report under review impacted it. We’ll have more on this.

On October 8, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Mahtani’s letter and if it was appropriate behavior for a sanctions monitor.  No, Dujarric said, adding that the letter was “shown” to Dinesh Mahtani, who has resigned. Video here.

On October 10, Reuters two UN correspondents dutifully regurgitated the SEMG’s most recent report, even called it “exclusive” — a basis on which Reuters pays — with no mention that one of the SEMG’s members had resigned after being exposed for pushing regime change.

Key fact: Dinesh Mahtani used to work for Reuters, see c.v. here.

This puts Reuters’ non-mention of SEMG member Mahtani’s resignation is a different light.

On October 13, AFP in English retyped its copy of the SEMG report, no mention of regime-change scandal. This too is how the UN works, or doesn’t.

Sources had told Inner City Press that Mahtani, the finance expert on SEMG and previously on the DR Congo Sanctions group, was found requesting favors from a member state, to which the SEMG reports. Here is a document:

a letter from Dinesh Mahtani, ostensibly in his SEMG role, saying that former Eritrean official Ali Abdu “has great potential to play a stabilizing role in Eritrea with the country possibly headed to an uncertain period in its history.”

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