Report to criticise Annan over oil-for-food scheme

 

US: A report to be made public tomorrow on alleged corruption in the United Nations oil-for-food programme is expected to criticise UN secretary general Kofi Annan over money paid to his son by a company involved in contracts between Saddam Hussein and outside contractors.

The report will clear Mr Annan of benefiting personally or trying to influence contracts. However, he will be faulted for overlooking the possibility of conflict of interest in his son's involvement, according to reports.

This could add to pressure from the US Congress on Mr Annan to resign, and the UN secretary general is said to be depressed at the findings of the inquiry conducted by former US federal reserve chairman Paul Volker.

The report is expected to show the UN chief's son Koji Annan received up to $400,000 during 1996 to 2004 from Cotecna Inspection Services, a Swiss company that monitored the food contracts under the UN programme. This is more than twice the figure previously disclosed.

Mark Malloch Brown, the UN chief of staff, said, "We believe that the secretary general will be cleared of any wrongdoing."

The UN has been roiled by corruption allegations and reports of sexual abuse by peacekeepers.

On Friday the UN announced that a report requested by Mr Annan on sexual exploitation on peacekeeping missions recommended that the UN standardise rules so that all personnel are held equally accountable and that laws in troop-contributor countries and individual responsibility for victims, including "peacekeeper babies", be strengthened.

The report was prepared by Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, the UN permanent representative of Jordan who last year visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where many of the allegations surfaced.