Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Annan Failed to Curb Corruption in Iraq's Oil-for-Food Program, Investigators Report

A yearlong investigation has concluded that Secretary General Kofi Annan failed to curb corruption and mismanagement at the United Nations, but it did not find evidence to support charges that he improperly influenced the scandal-tainted oil-for-food program."His sins were ones of omission basically; there were things that he might well have done and should have done that he didn't do," a senior investigator said Tuesday.
Typical of the lapses, the investigator said, was Mr. Annan's failure to look more thoroughly into the activities of his son, Kojo Annan, to see if his working for a company that received an oil-for-food contract posed a conflict of interest for his father.It says that an Iraqi-American businessman, Samir Vincent, and a Korean lobbyist, Tongsun Park, tried to pass $1 million to Mr. Boutros-Ghali but that there was no evidence that Mr. Boutros-Ghali had received or agreed to receive the money.
The report says that Iraq also tried to secure another high level contact at the United Nations in 1997 when Mr. Park invested $1 million of Iraqi money in a company controlled by Maurice Strong, a Canadian entrepreneur then serving as Mr. Annan's coordinator for United Nations reform. The committee said it found no evidence that Mr. Strong himself was involved.
Mr. Vincent pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal charges of illegal lobbying for Iraq. Mr. Park, who was also charged, is believed to be in South Korea. Mr. Strong stepped aside from his post as Mr. Annan's special envoy to North Korea because of past associations with Mr. Park...


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