Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Kojo Annan continued on payroll of oil-for-food inspection firm

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Monday he was "disappointed and surprised" to learn that his son, Kojo, had remained on the payroll of a company involved in the Iraq oil-for-food program, the subject of several corruption probes.

Kojo Annan received money for consulting work done in Africa for Geneva, Switzerland-based Cotecna Inspection, which was hired to verify whether food, medicine and other goods entering Iraq were on the approved list under the $64 billion oil-for-food program.

The United Nations previously said the payments stopped after Kojo Annan left the firm in 1997.

Earlier this year, it revised that statement, saying the younger Annan received money through the end of 1998 under an agreement not to compete with Cotecna in West Africa.

Cotecna had said the payments to Annan were halted when the firm won the contract to inspect oil-for-food humanitarian shipments starting in December 1998.

But late last week the United Nations said Kojo Annan had received payments as recently as February 2004 under the non-compete agreement.

The company said Swiss law required that it continue the payments for the length of time the younger Annan was prohibited from working for a competitor under the agreement.

At least six investigations are under way into the defunct oil-for-food program -- several in the U.S. Congress and one by an independent U.N. panel headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. (Full story)

Kofi Annan told reporters Monday he understands that with this latest oil-for-food news the United Nations faces the perception "of conflict of interests and wrongdoing."

"Naturally I was very disappointed and surprised," Annan said, when he learned his son had not fully disclosed his continued involvement with Cotecna.

He said he has spoken with his son, but he declined to reveal what was said.

Annan said he has "warm family relations with his son, but he is in a different field. He is an independent businessman. He is a grown man, and I don't get involved with his activities and he doesn't get involved in mine."

Annan said he had no personal involvement in the granting of contracts to businesses that participated in the oil-for-food program.

He walked away without a response to questions about calls for his resignation in opinion articles published in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard was quoted by Reuters as saying that those who signed the inspection deal with Cotecna in 1998 contended they did not know

CNN.com - Annan 'disappointed' son didn't tell all - Nov 29, 2004


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