The former head of the UN oil-for-food programme for Iraq has rejected accusations of corruption by an independent commission as “false”.
Benon Sevan has in turn accused the UN Security Council which he says was perfectly aware of how the programme was being run. The 1,000-page report produced by a team led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker names people, countries and UN bodies allegedly involved in mismanagement and fraud in connection with the 64-billion-dollar programme. It reveals Iraq had set aside 15 million dollars to bribe then UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to shape the programme according to Saddam Hussein’s liking. But there was no evidence that Boutros-Ghali ever received the money. Also under fire is current UN chief Kofi Annan, who is faulted for lax management and failing to investigate reports of fraud but not accused of any personal corruption. His son, a consultant for a Swiss firm, is suspected of using his father’s position to be get a lucrative contract with Iraq.