Skip to comments.Senators Accuse U.N. Leader of Blocking Their Fraud Inquiry [Oil-for-Food Coleman, Levin write Kofi]
Posted on 11/10/2004 4:55:47 PM PST by Mike Fieschko
Leaders of a United States Senate subcommittee investigating allegations of fraud in the oil-for-food program in Iraq have accused Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, of obstructing their inquiry.
In a letter sent to Mr. Annan yesterday, the Republican chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations charged that the secretary general and a panel he appointed to conduct an independent investigation into the charges of abuses appeared to be "affirmatively preventing" the Senate from getting documents from a former United Nations contractor that inspected goods bought by Iraq.
The senators also complained that Mr. Annan was blocking access to 55 internal audit reports of the program and other relevant documents and refusing to permit United Nations officials to be interviewed by the subcommittee's investigators.
The United Nations-administered program, which ran from 1996 to 2003, allowed Iraq to sell oil to buy food and other essential supplies for Iraqis hurt by economic sanctions.
The senators said it had taken four months for Mr. Annan to reply to the subcommittee's requests, and when he finally did, he refused to cooperate with the Senate inquiry.
"We are concerned that the U.N.'s nondisclosure policy is being used as both a sword and a shield," the senators wrote, "sharing such 'internal records' when it favors the U.N., but then declining to do so when such disclosure could have negative implications."
The blunt letter is signed by the subcommittee's chairman, Senator Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, and Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan.
Edward Mortimer, director of communications in the secretary general's office, said United Nations officials would "carefully look into what is clearly a very awkward and troubling letter."
He said he would also consult with Paul A. Volcker, who heads the United Nations-appointed investigation panel. Mr. Mortimer emphasized that Mr. Annan had instructed all United Nations staff to cooperate with Mr. Volcker's panel, known as the Independent Inquiry Committee.
Neither Mr. Volcker nor members of his staff, who have had a tense relationship with several House and Senate committees investigating the program, could be reached for comment last night.
The subcommittee also announced yesterday that on Monday it would hold the first of several hearings into allegations of widespread corruption in the $64 billion program. Among the first witnesses scheduled is Charles A. Duelfer, the chief American adviser on Iraq's unconventional weapons programs. Mr. Duelfer, the head of the Iraq Survey Group, recently published a lengthy report on Iraqi weapons programs that documented Saddam Hussein's use of the program not to buy civilian supplies as intended, but to generate billions of dollars in illicit money, undermine sanctions and buy conventional arms.
In their letter to Mr. Annan, the senators cited the United Nations' refusal to permit Lloyd's Register, which the United Nations had hired to inspect Iraq's purchases, to provide documents to the Senate investigators.
In an Aug. 31 letter, the director of the United Nations' legal affairs office told Lloyd's that while Lloyd's should cooperate fully with Mr. Volcker's panel, "under no circumstances" was it authorized to provide documents to the subcommittee.
The letter also asks Mr. Annan to permit the Senate investigators to interview 11 senior United Nations officials, including Benon V. Sevan, who headed the program. Mr. Duelfer's report said Mr. Sevan might have received oil allocations from Saddam Hussein. Mr. Sevan has denied any impropriety.
I'm in shock. This is the first thing, in recent memory, that Levin has done that I agree with.
A Democrat actually thinks the UN is obstructing their investigation? Are pigs flying?
The OFF program must be taken care of. The people must know what went wrong there.
great, ever coalition member should agree to withhold funding until criminal annan coughs up the goods, otherwise shut this worthless organization down.
Of course he is blocking any investigation because his son has been implicated in the early investigations this past summer. United Nations, right--the most worthless organization in the world, as far as I'm concerned.
Levin might be going along with being a tough guy to help land Slick closer to the Sec. Gen. role.
Bush's Revenge!!!!!!!!!!!!Nukem Cowboy!!!!!!!!
I'm with you as to Levin. As to the UN, no surprise there. They are a most corrupt lot. May the light shine on them...
Says it all.
But we have every reason to be suspicious....about his REAL motives.
Will this hearing be public? Will it be on cspan?
Umm. Why is Levin doing the right thing?
Don't worry, he'll find some way to blame the corruption on Republicans or Haliburton. The French, Germans, and Russians were innocent victims!
Judith Miller writing an article? Isn't she supposed to be in jail somewhere?
Lets hold up our UN funds and see how fast the come up with the docs.
We should leave the UN, its fundamentally UNAMERICAN institution.
I'm not surprised at Annan's attempts to block the investigation. I am disappointed in Volcker.
I am surprised at Levin signing the letter and I am thrilled (but not surprised, since I knew they'd be held eventually) to learn about the hearings being scheduled.
If I may say so,Coffee Anan has little real power.He is mired by baseless accusations of corruption-the Democrats are in charge now -in my opinion....
I wonder if there is any chance GW will have a little "chat"
No. The ruling is being appealed.
Not one more penny until they fully comply.
Scandal ping (and a shocker on who signed a letter).
That hand holding looks a little too intimate for my homophobic eyes.
Bump. There were people on the Charlie Rose show discussing this a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I woke up and dozed off. These were not Republican politicians discussing it. They were people (probably liberals)that worked on behalf of the U.N. They seemed very nervous and very upset about the whole thing.
There is one quick way to get results from the UN. Cut of the $$. The bastards are useless without US $$.
Levin signed the letter, and The New York Times actually reported on it. If this had happened a week ago, they never would have run this story.
I'll be curious what page they put this article on. But I believe Judith Miller is one of their few honest reporters.
Interestingly, she has been blamed by the leftists for supporting both Iraq wars. Do a Google search on her and you'll turn up a whole slew of attacks on her by the usual suspects, such as Alexander Cockburn.
It looks as if pigs are flying today, all right.
The zipper-heads in the blue states often confuse the United Nations with the United Federation of Planets from Star Trek. They can't tell the difference.
And they call red staters' dumb.
Bill Clinton has be gunning for that job since before his re-election
Smells fishy, doesn't it?
That's what I've always assumed. I trust Volcker as much as I trust Kofi.
Annans critical view of Christians who struggle against the culture of death was made evident in December 2000 at a farewell event for Nafis Sadik, the former head of the UN's population control arm, UNFPA.
Annan praised Sadik for her promotion of population control around the world. "You have done more than anyone to bring about a radical change in the way the world sees population issues, he said. In a revealing quote Annan lauded Sadik's "willingness to brave the wrath, if not of the Almighty Himself, then certainly of those who claim to speak for Him here on earth. ... And what is more, you have won your point."
After comments like these, I would think that Annan's blocking access to 55 internal audit reports and other relevant documents to the leaders of a United States Senate subcommittee, is mere child's play.
You have a devious mind. I like it : -)
In my opinion, you should step back from the crack pipe and then remain away from it for a period of several days. Unless of course you merely forgot the /sarcasm tag.
Coughing Anus wields plenty of power when you consider he is the official leader of a completely irrelevant organization that is rapidly heading to its' demise. He gets to determine which countries will attempt to undermine the US on which issues, and he also gets to issue those "stern warnings" and "threats of sanction" which help mold the very fabric of our daily existence. Without him, the UN may have actually become a world government, so he is actually owed our thanks.
His complete ineptitude at administering the UN has accelerated its' hypersonic ride into oblivion. I can't think of more than a couple of other leaders who could've done nearly as well in dooming the UN. Clinton comes to mind, along with Jimma Carter,or just about any head of state from the EU. Hell, I'll admit it. The much awaited death throes of the UN are all Bush's fault.
If that doesn't put him on Mt Rushmore, nothing will. Not even The Gipper was able to kill the UN.
And the new organization should have a termed life of 50 years. Then we start over again, based on what the world looks like then.
Naa. I honestly can't voluntarily atribute high-ground motives to any Demoncraps any more. I honestly have to think that a lot of RATS are squirming pretty hard at the scrutiny that Kofi and Co. are under. They'd rather it go away, because the UN is their solution to world peace, but they can't speak out against the investigation because of the scope and magnitude of the scandal.
A real pickle for the RATS. Heh.
Sounds an awful lot like "No controlling legal authority."
why would a criminal allow you to investigate him? we need to get out of the UN and stop financing these terrorists.