Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Oil-for-Food Programme: Closing the Cycle

MEMRI was the first to publish in January 2004 the Al Mada article listing 270 individuals and entities who had received oil vouchers from Saddam. It is only fitting that it should now publish a comprehensive summary and analysis of the Volcker's reports on the Oil for Food scandal. Excerpt:

Not only was the OFFP the largest humanitarian program ever managed by the U.N. Secretariat and by the U.N. agencies; also it provided a budgetary bonanza never previously experienced by any of the nine U.N. agencies involved in implementing the program. While it has often been constrained by limited resources, occasionally caused by the withholding of assessments member governments are required to make, the U.N. system was suddenly awash in revenues, providing agencies a lot of breathing space. When faced with the choice between continuing to milk the cow by keeping the program going despite the many infringements or taking the cow to the slaughterhouse by suspending the program, they chose the former. Herein lies one of the principal reasons why the international bureaucracy looked the other way when confronted with clear violations by the Saddam regime.

Excellent; read it all.

Table of contents

The Independent Inquiry Committee – A List of Reports
Background of the OFFP
Significant Bodies Dealing with OFFP
Patterns of Corruption by the Iraqi Regime
Luxury amidst Misery and Disease
The Office of the Iraq Programme
The Performance of Benon Sevan
The Performance of the U.N. Secretariat
The Cover-up by the Secretary-General
Conflict of Interest
The Role and Greed of the U.N. Special Agencies
The Truth behind the Auditing of U.N. Agencies
The Agencies’ Difficult Task

This sums it up well:

"It was commonly known that Iraq monitored the U.N. more than the U.N. monitored Iraq."

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