NEWS

U.N. Employee Bites Security Guard During Scuffle Over Nepotism Allegation

By Matthew Harwood

In a bizarre incident that has just come to light, a security guard at the United Nations was bitten by an irate employee over nepotism allegations, reports The Times (of London).

On June 22, Nicola Baroncini, an Italian contract worker for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), went to his supervisor's office to complain he was passed over for a job because a high-level UN envoy lobbied to get his daughter hired instead.

Baroncini says U.N. security pepper-sprayed and assaulted him, according to the Associated Press. During the fracas, Baroncini allegedly chomped down on a security guard's hand. He says it was in self-defense.

"The UN says the bite was so serious that the guard had to be admitted to hospital and tested for communicable diseases," reported the Times. "He was forced to take sick leave."

Nevertheless, Baroncini's allegations seem to be warranted, exposing Alan Doss, the British head of the £800 million-a-year UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to internal investigation over how his daughter landed a job at UN headquarters in New York City.

The Times explains:

Mr Doss, from Cardiff, has spent almost his entire career at the UNDP, becoming one of a handful of British citizens at present to hold the rank of UN undersecretary-general. He transferred to a UN peacekeeping department contract on July 1.

Mr Baroncini alleges that before that transfer, in an e-mail dated April 20, Mr Doss asked Ms Elizondo to bend the UN’s anti-nepotism rules so that his daughter’s application could be considered before he moved away from the department. UN rules bar close relatives from getting jobs at the same agency.

Despite the investigation into Doss' conduct, the UN will not classify Baroncini as a whistleblower. Rather, a UN spokesman told the Times he was a "frustrated jobseeker."

Baroncini yesterday turned down a plea bargain in Manhattan Criminal Court. He is charged with third-degree assault. He will appear once again in court on October 28.


♦ Photo of United Nations Headquarters by Ashitakka/Flickr

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