Dr. N. Singh’s work with the UN was not a secret.
It was perplexing to a lot of people when Naresh Singh’s coveted post of Deputy Secretary General for CARICOM (Caribbean Community) was withdrawn. But according to the press, allegations were made by Mario Dion, claims of unethical conduct while Singh was leading a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) program. According to the press, Dion claimed that Singh misappropriated office resources here, and that he undertook commissioning of similar services in the private sector while being paid by CIDA.
But there is a key piece of information that the press seems to have overlooked. While Singh worked for CIDA, he was approached to take on a private contract with the United Nations. Both sides, CIDA and the UN, knew on most occasions about the work Singh was doing for each other. Singh cites that he accepted the work with the UN when he had the “appropriate approval” from CIDA for all except two minor consultancies.
So, if both organizations knew about each other’s projects, what seems to be the problem? Is it the emails, phone calls, or a bit of photocopying that Dr. Singh handled with Party A while working for Party B and vice-versa? Are we really to believe that in our complex society, one that is dependent on multi-tasking, that there isn’t a bit of overlap now and then?
Whatever happened to intentions? Singh’s were honest and he remains adamant that, “in execution of my consultancies, I received a very small number of isolated emails and conference calls during business hours which were inappropriate; however at no time did I intentionally break the rules or attempt to enrich myself at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer.”
Singh was about to step into the CARICOM position when the negative assertions were revealed and then were proliferated by the media. He issued a statement that there was no reason for the Caribbean Community to pause in going through with his appointment. CARICOM not only paused, but they rescinded the offer.
There has not been any substantial evidence brought forth in the allegations that Dr. Singh broke any regulations set forth by CIDA. In fact, CIDA highly recommended him to FCM for the CARILED position, citing his outstanding work contributions.
Regarding accusations of conflict of interest when Singh accepted a position as Director with FCM, he was proven to have been chosen from among 200 applicants in an open competition.
Singh’s work with the United Nations was no secret, and he remains concerned that the false accusations were not related to consulting work, but rather were minor infractions involving e-mail and telephone communiques while on the job.
This has created quite a lot of fallout from an overblown situation, one that Singh wants very much to rectify.