Annan refuses to quit over oil-for-food but apologises
Thursday 08 September 2005
A chastened Mr Annan appeared before the UN Security Council yesterday to hear himself, UN managers and Security Council members criticised in public by the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker.
Summarising the "litany of inefficiencies" which allowed Saddam Hussein to illegally pocket almost $12bn (£6.5bn) from a UN-administered scheme, Mr Volcker said responsibility should be "broadly shared" and told the UN to swiftly enact administrative reforms.
Mr Annan, who had been warned of the charges against him before the council session, said he accepted the criticism that he had not been diligent in investigating his son's involvement with a firm which received a lucrative contract under the $64bn scheme. "I deeply regret that," he said.
But he noted that the findings were "deeply embarrassing for all of us," and told reporters that he did not intend to fall on his sword only days before world leaders gather in New York to endorse plans for sweeping reforms. "I don't anticipate anyone to resign. We are carrying on with our work," Mr Annan said.
While Mr Annan may hold on to his job, he hardly emerges unscathed from the Volcker investigation, which took a year and cost a total of $35m. The secretary general's behaviour "has not been exonerated by any stretch of the imagination", Mr Volcker told reporters.
He added that it "really was unfortunate" that Mr Annan failed to open a proper investigation of the role of his son, Kojo Annan, who was on the payroll of a Swiss firm, Cotecna, as it was bidding in 1998 for a major oil-for-food contract.
Mr Volcker continued to give the secretary general the benefit of the doubt that he had not been aware at the time of his son's activities on behalf of Cotecna and done nothing himself to steer the contract in the firm's direction.
The report plays down an internal memo from Cotecna suggesting that its bid had in fact been discussed with Mr Annan at a summit of French-speaking countries in Paris in late 1998.
Mr Volcker also noted that the oil-for-food programme, set up to lessen the suffering of ordinary Iraqis under UN sanctions, had its successes and certainly contributed to saving many Iraqi lives.
Mr Volcker strongly criticised the Security Council for failing to react to reports both of corruption in the programme and of continuing smuggling by Iraq. Political differences between members on policy towards Iraq "hampered any forceful reaction - or any reaction - to any reports of smuggling," he said.
The new US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said: "There were bribes; there were kickbacks; there was lax oversight from the Secretariat; and some member states turned a blind eye toward this corruption."
"We need to reform the UN in a manner that will prevent another oil-for-food scandal," he said.
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
'Santa Claus' dead: John Moore starred in Coca Cola and Morrisons adverts
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...