Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Kofi Annan must be held accountable for the U.N.'s corrupt Iraqi Oil for Food program

"A man I can do business with" - Kofi Annan

Last January, a Baghdad newspaper, al Mada, published a list of U.N. officials who allegedly took bribes from Saddam Hussein under the guise of the Oil for Food program. There were a total of 270 names on the list including that of Benon Sevan, a U.N. assistant secretary-general, who was appointed to administer the oil-for-food program in 1997. The New York Post said that Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British businessman and adviser to Iraq's Governing Council, claimed he saw Iraqi documents indicating that vouchers for the sale of more than 7 million barrels of Iraqi oil were steered to a Panamanian-registered company in which Sevan had a connection. Hankes-Drielsma also said that family members of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali are company officers, too. These vouchers allowed the accused to make between 10 to 60 cents profit on each barrel of oil.

The General Accounting Office reported that Saddam Hussein was able to earn $10 billion from 1997 to 2002 by smuggling oil and taking kickbacks on oil purchases intended to pay for medicine and food. According to the GAO, between $10 and $40 billion are still unaccounted for.

Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, worked for a Swiss company, Cotecna. The United Nations hired Cotecna to monitor the Iraqi Oil for Food program. Cotecna’s successful bid was $1 million lower than any of its competitors. Others who might be implicated in this growing scandal include the PLO, the Russian Communist Party and a businessman with close ties to French President, Jacques Chirac. A French bank, BNP Paribas handled the $100 million Oil for Food program, at Saddam Hussein’s urging.

Much more information including government reports, testimony and newspaper articles concerning the plagued Iraqi Oil for Food program follows in this space. . .

Mar 18- General Accounting Office report: Recovering Iraq's Assets.
In December 1996, the United Nations and Iraq agreed on the Oil for Food Program, which allowed Iraq to sell a set amount of oil to pay for food, medicine, and infrastructure repairs. The United Nations monitored and screened contracts that the Iraqi government signed with commodity suppliers. Iraq’s oil revenue was placed in a U.N.-controlled escrow account. From 1997 through 2002, Iraq sold more than $67 billion of oil through the U.N. program and issued $38 billion in letters of credit for humanitarian goods. In May 2003, the Security Council passed Resolution 1483, which recognized the United States, Great Britain, and coalition partners as the authority for providing security and provisional administration in Iraq. The resolution also ended the sanctions, except for the prohibition on exporting arms to Iraq.

We estimate that from 1997 through 2002, the former Iraqi regime acquired $10.1 billion in illegal revenues related to the Oil for Food Program—$5.7 billion in oil smuggled out of Iraq and $4.4 billion in illicit surcharges on oil sales and commissions from suppliers. This estimate is higher than our reported May 2002 estimate of $6.6 billion because it includes 2002 data from oil revenues and contracts under the Oil for Food Program, newer estimates of illicit commissions from commodity suppliers.

The GAO report explains how Iraq smuggled oil through Syria, Jordan, Turkey and other routes. . .

Oil entered Syria by pipeline, crossed the borders of Jordan and Turkey by truck, and was smuggled through the Persian Gulf by ship. In addition to revenues from oil smuggling, the Iraqi government levied surcharges against oil purchasers and commissions against commodity suppliers participating in the Oil for Food Program. According to some Security Council members, the surcharge was up to 50 cents per barrel of oil and the commission was 5 to 10 percent of the commodity contract. The funds were paid directly to officials connected with the Iraqi government.

Iraqi families were cheated by greedy and corrupt members of the U.N.

April 7- Defense Contract Audit Agency: Statement for the record of Michael Thibault, Deputy Director to Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (Charts, graphs, tables included)
The team noted potential overpricing totaling $656 million in 48 percent of the contracts evaluated. The team was unable to form a definitive conclusion on 44 contracts, valued at $1.1 billion because the contracts lacked sufficient detail to make price comparisons to similar goods or the team was unable to obtain independent pricing data for comparable goods.

Finally, the team also identified items of questionable utility for use by the Iraqi people. For example, among the contracts reviewed by the team were two contracts valued at more than $16 million for high-end Mercedes Benz touring sedans (a total of 300 cars).

A series of New York Post articles highlighted the United Nation's complicity over Saddam's corrupt involvement in the Oil for Food program.

Mar 17- Kofi Probes Saddam Oil "Bribes" For U.N.
An embarrassed U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan confirmed yesterday he has ordered a probe into allegations that top U.N. officials were getting payoffs from Saddam Hussein under the controversial Iraqi oil-for-food program before the war.
At a press conference at U.N. headquarters yesterday in New York, Annan yielded to intense international pressure to address allegations of a gigantic swindle in which Saddam is said to have handed out more than $2 billion in sweetheart oil deals to U.N. diplomats and friendly politicians.

Saddam is believed to have pocketed $4.7 billion in kickbacks for himself through the U.N.-run program designed to help feed the Iraqi people during international economic sanctions.

Mar 18- Saddam was a $10B Bandit
The [GAO] report comes days after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reluctantly agreed to launch an investigation into allegations of rampant corruption within the oil-for-food program, which was set up to allow Iraq to sell oil to purchase humanitarian goods at a time when it was under worldwide economic sanctions.

[Juan] Zarate, [deputy assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes], reported recent progress in the hunt for Saddam's missing billions, including the seizure of a luxury Falcon 50 executive jet in Lichtenstein secretly owned by Saddam, as well as catching the former Iraqi ambassador to Russia trying to get access to about $40 million that was stashed away in his embassy account.

Mar 18- U.N. Oil Biz Hired Kofi Son
Fred Eckhard, spokesman for the secretary-general, confirmed yesterday that Annan's son, Kojo, worked for three years for the Swiss company, Cotecna, which the United Nations hired in 1999 to inspect food and medicine being shipped into Iraq under the program.

Mar 19- Kofi Flips On Outside Saddam Bribe Probe
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan reversed himself yesterday and said an outside investigation was needed into the mushrooming Iraq oil-for-food bribery scandal, conceding it is "highly possible there has been quite a lot of wrongdoing."

Kofi Annan and Benon Sevan. . .the heart of the matter

March 24- U.N. Stalling Iraq Gov't Probe of $ecret Oil Acct.

March 26- Pentagon Audit Confirms $lick Saddam Oil Graft

March 29- 3,000 U.N. Staffers Probed

April 2- Kofi Annan's Corrupt Enterprise

April 2- Oil for Palaces

April 3- Pol Rips U.N.'s Iraq Oil Probe

April 12- Here's the Real Scandal

The story has received world-wide attention. . .

April 12- Financial Times- UN's oil-for-food programme under scrutiny
A Detroit-based businessman of Iraqi origin who financed a film by Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector, has admitted for the first time being awarded oil allocations during the UN oil-for-food programme.

April 13 - Insight on the News- Documents Prove U.N. Oil Corruption
Among the revelations at the April 22 hearings, Insight has learned from investigators directly working on the case, will be new details of oil vouchers allegedly granted to Patrick Maugein, a prominent crony of French President Jacques Chirac, said to total 72.2 million barrels.

Others highlighting the scandal include, Instapundit, Le Sabot Post-Moderne says that Saddam took John Kerry's advice to "call in the U.N.".

April 19 Update: Here is a NY Times article and others updating and following the story, Vodka Pundit, Occam's Toothbrush, Eleven Day Empire, and Bejus Pundit.



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