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Volcker Rips UN Oil-for-Food official

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posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 01:31 PM
So .. how exactly is Koffi Annan disciplining someone who has
already left the organization? Is it even possible? I think Koffi
is saying that he is taking discipline measures against these
people because he hopes that people will stop investigating
and they will think it's all over. Koffi is shaking and scared to
death that he will be outted as the corrupt yahoo that he is.

Volcker rips U.N. oil-for-food official
By Betsy Pisik

NEW YORK — An independent panel headed by former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker yesterday accused the former head of the U.N. oil-for-food program of "a grave and continuing conflict of interest" and said his actions had seriously undermined the integrity of the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-general Kofi Annan promptly announced that he had taken disciplinary action against the retired official, Benon Sevan, and a current U.N. employee named in the report, Joseph Stephanides.

Reaction to the report from Capitol Hill to Baghdad was largely exasperation and disappointment.

"The report indicates that the United Nations was simply not up to the task of managing such a vast operation in a transparent manner," said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "As this investigation moves forward, I expect that any individuals and companies identified as having participated in illegal activities will be brought to justice to the maximum extent possible, with the complete cooperation of their home governments."

Illinois Republican Rep. Henry J. Hyde, who heads the House International Relations Committee, said, "I am reluctant to conclude that the U.N. is damaged beyond repair, but these revelations certainly point in this direction."

His committee also is probing the scandal.

The interim report, which runs 219 pages plus annexes, has been anxiously awaited inside the United Nations and on Capitol Hill, which also is investigating the oil-for-food program for Iraq. The program was instituted to produce funds for needy Iraqis suffering under the burden of international sanctions.

Accusations about the $64 billion effort have drawn demands for Mr. Annan's resignation, and have clouded the integrity of the United Nations, most clearly in Washington.

The investigation report said Mr. Sevan solicited oil allocations from Saddam Hussein's regime on behalf of a trading company from 1998 to 2001, and it raised concerns that he might have received kickbacks for the help.

The report does not say how the former administrator profited, but it does say that he failed to account satisfactorily for $160,000 deposited into his bank account.

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