Member States Seek Details Of UN Investigation On Alleged Misconduct At WIPO 12/04/2016 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A longstanding inquiry about alleged misconduct at the top of the World Intellectual Property Organization may be moving toward resolution one way or the other. The United Nations office of investigations in New York recently concluded an investigation of the charges and handed the highly confidential report to an ambassador in Geneva, who as of press time had chosen not to share the text with WIPO member states. But not content with an oral summary of the report by the ambassador given to regional groups, some member states are demanding to see the full report. According to a 3-page summary of the report dated 1 April and allegedly penned by the ambassador, Gabriel Duque of Colombia (who is this year’s WIPO General Assembly chair), there is no evidence that the WIPO director engaged in clandestine testing of several employees’ DNA that took place several years ago after threatening letters were sent to him as a candidate for director general. But the summary, obtained by Intellectual Property Watch, does say the UN report found that the director directly influenced the giving of a WIPO contract to a fellow internationally prominent Australian, though it says it is unclear what their relationship was. Now it is up to member states to decide what to do next, and some, such as the United States and, according to sources, members of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC), are asking to see the report in order to decide. Other member states were not as clear in demanding the full report. One delegate replied to a journalist’s question about the summary by stating strong concern about the leaking of documents, mentioning the recent Panama Papers in the same context. Gurry, who first took office in 2008 when Kamil Idris stepped down a year early, was re-elected for six years in 2014, overcoming concerns raised by opponents to win by an easy margin (IPW, WIPO, 8 May 2014). What Else Is in the Full Report? The United States has said publicly that it was invited to and attended the regional group meeting for the Group B developed countries, and that it told Duque and the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) it sees a need for “maximum transparency, including sharing of the report with member states.” “We believe this is necessary in order to assess accurately its findings and recommendations, and for member states to fulfill their collective responsibility for oversight of the organization,” a US spokesperson said in a statement. “The United States look forward to receiving a copy of the OIOS report, redacted if necessary to protect witnesses and other people involved in the investigation from possible reprisal,” it said. One observer said it would be important to decide who gets to make any such redactions. Several attempts were made to obtain a comment for this story from Amb. Duque or his staff by phone, email or in person but were denied. The OIOS also did not respond to requests. WIPO declined to comment for this story. Duque first met with regional coordinators and then is conducting meetings with each regional group. He met with Group B, GRULAC and the Central European and Baltic States (CEBS) last week, and was expected to meet with the Asian and African groups this week, according to sources. It was unclear at press time whether Duque shared the 3-page summary with the regional coordinators, but a number of member states confirmed they had not seen the document, which has not been shared with the broader membership. The 3-page document summarizing the report’s findings said the investigation report was dated 10 March 2016 and was submitted to Duque on 15 March. Some observers said there may have been an earlier version of the report as early as December 2015. The document summarizes the allegations, saying the Investigations Division of the OIOS received a request for investigative services on this matter on 29 April 2015. The request had been internally recommended by the WIPO Independent Advisory Oversight Committee. It referred to a report of possible misconduct submitted in April 2014. The description of the allegations said that personal items containing DNA of three WIPO staff members were taken without their consent in late 2007 and provided to the Swiss police for testing. The tests proved inconclusive, according to a copy of the report inadvertently made public by the hospital. The allegations detail attempts by Gurry to influence and intimidate in regards to an investigation about the DNA samples. DNA The Duque summary indicates that Gurry has been cleared of this allegation. The summary provided four minimal points on the DNA issue, stating that the DNA samples were taken by “unidentified persons” from the three WIPO staff members. But it has been raised by observers that the Swiss police would have been unlikely to conduct forensic tests on samples without knowing who provided the samples to them, and that this might hold a key to what actually happened. The summary says that although there are strong indications that Gurry had a direct interest in outcome of the DNA analysis, there is no evidence that he was involved in the taking of the samples. There is also no evidence Gurry attempted to suppress an investigation, and no evidence that a settlement agreement made with a staff person who had made complaints against him violated WIPO regulations. Asked about the report, a spokesperson for Switzerland said: “An initiative, led by the president of WIPO General Assembly, is in progress. Switzerland supports all efforts to clarify facts in conformity with the legal status of the international organizations in order to guarantee transparency and good governance of the international organizations. Switzerland holds that UN rules in granting access to investigation reports should be respected.” Procurement But on the other allegation related to a procurement contract, the summary states that the OIOS “finds that Mr. Gurry, in his capacity as Director General and Chair of the ICT Board, directly influenced both subject procurement processes … in order to facilitate the award of a WIPO contract” to the unnamed person. Intellectual Property Watch previously revealed the name of the contractor, a former head of an international organization and a public figure, but took down the name after receiving a legal threat from his legal representative. The summary said the person who got the contract was given a slightly higher (less than one percent) technical evaluation score than his nearest competitor, but proposed costs that were nearly double those of the competitor, which normally would have disqualified him. Gurry recommended the evaluation team disregard the financial weight of the evaluation and choose on the basis of the technical evaluation only, which the summary said was contrary to WIPO’s Procurement Instructions, which state that the process should be based on pre-established criteria. The summary said Gurry expressed to them that he firmly believed the chosen contractor was the best for the job, and also found no evidence that Gurry directly or indirectly gained from the procurement. Some Gurry supporters have therefore emphasised that he is cleared of the DNA allegations and that the action seems to be of a relatively minor nature and should not warrant an overly strong response. The conclusion to the summary provides only one recommendation, despite making clear there were others in the original report. It states: “The established facts constitute reasonable grounds to conclude that the conduct of Mr. Francis Gurry may be inconsistent with the standards expected of a staff member of the World Intellectual Property Organization.” Now it is up to member states to decide how to proceed. And it seems at least some want the full report in order to do so. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at email@example.com."Member States Seek Details Of UN Investigation On Alleged Misconduct At WIPO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.