According to a six month long investigation put forward by the BBC the UN knew full well of the Saddam’s misuse of the Oil for Food program. Not only
did they know about the program exploitation also that an extension of it was the starving of the Iraqi people yet they did little to stop it.
I am posting the entire report since it is behind a registration site.
The United Nations knew that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was stealing from the oil-for-food program - and, by extension, starving his own people -
but did little to stop it, according to a special report by the BBC at the weekend.
After a six-month investigation, the BBC said it had evidence that Saddam took billions from the oil-for-food program, and that "these abuses were
widely known about at the time". The BBC said there was evidence that Saddam demanded a kickback from companies that wanted to do business with Iraq
under the oil-for-food program.
Australia sold wheat worth about $A1 billion to Iraq under the program but the Australian Wheat Board strongly denies wrongdoing. However, US
congressman Chris Shays told the BBC that Saddam "didn't participate with you if he couldn't get kickbacks.
"He didn't buy commodities unless he got kickbacks so, if you agreed to participate, you agreed to do it on his terms. And we know what those terms
The Age reported last year that Australia sold wheat to Iraq at what appears to be an inflated price.
The wheat board says it never gave a cut of its contracts to Saddam. It was forced to pay a Jordanian trucking company to move its wheat around Iraq.
That trucking company was selected by Saddam.
The BBC sent a reporter to Iraq and Jordan to track down people involved in the oil-for-food program, which has been described as the largest
financial swindle in history. Virtually all said that Saddam took kickbacks from companies who sold goods to Iraq, and that the UN knew this. The
businessmen - most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity - said it was standard to pay commissions, that nobody complained, and that was the
price of doing business with Iraq.
A Jordanian banker said it was an open secret that contracts were inflated so Saddam could take 10 per cent. "We knew it was there," he said.
"(But) actually, it's not our business, you know. Banks are (only) interested in their money, and to make money."
The allegations have left the UN fighting for its reputation. The oil-for-food program is being investigated by six US congressional committees and by
the UN itself.
Many UN officials believe the US is trying to divert media attention towards the oil-for-food program as a way of punishing the UN for failing to back
the war in Iraq.
Others believe the US is using the investigations as a way of distracting attention from the war. Mr Shay said: "Well, the UN is sure making it easy
The oil-for-food program ran from 1997 to 2003. It was supposed to allow Saddam to sell oil, provided he used the money only to buy food and
Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, evidence has emerged that Saddam found many ways to skim billions from the program. Some of that money
allegedly went to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. It is also alleged that Saddam paid foreign journalists and sympathetic foreign
officials, as a way of getting them to campaign to get the sanctions lifted. Around 270 people are alleged to have received vouchers to sell oil for
millions of dollars in profit.
Among the people accused of taking these bribes are the former president of Indonesia, Megawati Soekarnoputri, and, most explosively, the head of the
UN's oil-for-food program Benon Sevan.
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