DotConnectAfrica has taken a swipe at the delay of ICANN to check into the detailed issues of the conflict of interest, and has made apparent its impatience in the pace at which ICANN is dealing with its whistle blowing, in its 4th letter to ICANN dated January 31st, 2013
“However, we write to express our lack of dissatisfaction with the report of the Ombudsman to the extent that no recommendation was made by the Ombudsman regarding any future Conflict of Interests
” and continued that “In our estimation, this remains a critical but unresolved issue.”
Quoting the Ombudsman’s
report, that said
“it is clearly apparent when the records are examined, that the 2 board members have not participated in any decision-making about .africa”, and concluded that “no disqualifying conflict of interest, or indeed any conflict of interest at all is present in the actions of both Chris Disspain and Mike Silber.” DotConnectAfrica opines that
“It is the belief of DCA Trust that such a conclusion is not only rather ‘convenient’, but is also, quite significantly, a ‘no-brainer’ to the extent that no new gTLD discussions have so far taken place prior to the Ombudsman’s review, but it is quite obvious that such discussions would quite possibly take place in the very near future. Says DotConnectAfrica’s response, a clear exclamation that this does not need much research to find the Conflict of Interest.
I find this a bit strange for an examination of a COI myself. It is like saying I listened to the flight data recorder in an air flight investigation, right up until the plane crashed, as in listening to clear air during the flight as opposed to the turbulence.
The Kiwi Lawyer from New Zealand who is a contract personnel, seem to follow the path of his predecessor, Frank Fowlie, the ICANN Ombudsman who was heavily criticized for his lack of independence in decision making and the civil discourse he imposed on others but did not follow himself, and the final scandal that confirmed his exit from ICANN.
One report that covered Fowlie’s scandal titled “Civility and Humility: The story of ICANN’s Ombudsman” mirrors the lack of independence of the current Ombudsman response to DCA’s complaint over the COI issues as well as his directions for .africa applicants to simmer down their noise to a civil discourse. The report noted. “Civil discourse campaigns, especially when they come from the top down, can easily be used to suppress meaningful dissent and discussion.”
DotConnectAfrica’s lack of dissatisfaction with the report of the Ombudsman that claimed innocence of the two officials to the extent that “no recommendation was made by the Ombudsman regarding any future Conflict of Interests when the two Board Members are confronted (at some futurity) with a decision to be made regarding the new .Africa gTLD.” Says the letter and goes on to conclude that “ in our estimation, this remains a critical but unresolved issue.”.
The same letter goes to emphasize that “DotConnectAfrica Trust has always insisted that Messrs. Mike Silber and Chris Disspain should recuse themselves from participating in any ICANN Board-level and new gTLD Program Committee discussions and decisions regarding .Africa.” DotConnectAfrica further states that their position regarding the COI “remains unchanged.” Even though they had sought certain reassurances from ICANN over the matter..
They report that thus far they have not yet received any responses from ICANN to confirm that they will not tamper with the new gTLD process of .africa a matter close to the heart of the applicant.As the Ombudsman has already observed in his report, “there is a considerable amount at stake both financially and for other reasons”.
This means that should the two officials continue to operate without due measures and assurances from ICANN over their participation and due influence, the stakes are totally biased. ICANN must therefore consider strongly to act on the issues raised by DotConnectAfrica if at all the .africa new gTLD process is to run on level ground.