UN - Iraq Oil Scandal

Plastic Yank

War Hero
From today's BBC web-site.

The BBC does it again!! Only 7 months after the rest of the world's media has been reporting on the UN Oil for Food Scandal, does the BBC now have Exclusive news that a scam took place! Well done those reporters.

I wonder what tipped them off:

Amercian press investigation in Sept 2002!
US Congress Investgation that started in April 2004
UN's own internal investigation (head by Paul Vockler) in June 2004

The BBC has found evidence of corruption by companies around the world doing business with Iraq while it was under the sanctions regime.
Our investigation has found that many businesses were willing to pay Saddam Hussein's government illicit surcharges on oil-for-food contracts.

These abuses were found to have been widely known about at the time.

The oil-for-food programme was a scheme administered by the UN allowing Iraq to export oil despite the sanctions.

The revenue went into accounts controlled by the UN and was supposed to be spent on food and medicines to improve living conditions in Iraq.

The scheme ran for seven years ending with fall of Saddam Hussein's government.

UN officials have been accused of either turning a blind eye to abuses, or in some cases of being corrupt themselves.

It has been described as the biggest financial scandal in history.

According to US senate investigators, Saddam Hussein embezzled $21bn by evading UN sanctions over a period of years.

That figure released earlier this week is double previous estimates.

Attention has focussed on the kickbacks the former Iraqi leader's officials allegedly extracted from foreign companies doing business under the UN administered oil for food programme.

We travelled to Jordan, which is an important entry point for trade with Iraq, to check out some of the claims.

'Common practice'

A former senior official at one of Jordan's major banks told us his bank alone had processed at least $100m of fraudulent contracts.

Businesses trading with Iraq, he said, routinely paid hidden surcharges of around 10% of the value of the deal.

Businesses paid illicit surcharges to secure contracts
Most of the deals involved Russian and Middle Eastern firms
Corruption on contracts alleged to be worse in post-Saddam Iraq
The money allegedly went into accounts at the Jordan offices of the Iraqi national bank.

Some of the deals involved western firms, but most were companies from the Middle East and Russia.

Jordanian businesses we spoke to confirmed that illicit commissions on trade with Saddam Hussein's Iraq were common practice.

So common in fact they were barely concealed. But intriguingly one prominent businessman told us the corruption on Iraqi contracts had actually got worse since the former Iraqi dictator fell from power.

We also uncovered anecdotal evidence of collusion by international oil companies in sanctions busting.

In a small way our inquiries confirm the picture of massive abuse of UN sanctions that is emerging from multiple investigations in the United States.

But we also found that the oil-for-food affair is far more complex than is often portrayed.

Splits among the diplomats on the UN security council and flaws in the design of the oil for food programme played at least as much a part in what happened as negligence by UN officials or collusion in corruption by foreign firms trading with Iraq.

And it is often forgotten that most of Saddam Hussein's illicit income came from oil smuggling, not kickbacks on UN contracts.

Dealing with smuggling was mainly the job of the American navy, not the UN.

Notice how the BBC even here are able to blame this on the Yanks! I see no mention of Mr Kofi Annan's son, who is being investigated?

NOT from the BBC, but the Christian Science Monitor, July 2004

Mr. Annan and Benon Sevon, who oversaw the oil-for-food program and is accused of accepting $3.5 million worth of Iraqi oil vouchers, are in the two hottest seats. Annan's son, Kojo, was briefly employed as a consultant by Cotecna Inspections, which in December 1998 - just after he left the company - won the UN contract to check all goods coming into Iraq. Both Mr. Sevon and the secretary-general, on behalf of his son, have denied any wrongdoing.
The main stream media [left leaning] love the UN and so would be loathe to attack it or even to investigate that august body. UN officials made millions of dollars as did alot of other people that received oil voucher's from Saddam. Had the Oil for Food Program been run honestly Saddam wouldnt have been able to divert $22 billion and the money would have been used for the children of Iraq.

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