Something Stinks At The UN

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Well lookey lookey here. It seems that the report that was was released recently about the Food For Oil scam, which pretty much exonerated Kofi, might not have all the facts in it: (hat tip American Future)

A REPORT that ?exonerated? Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary-general, of knowing about his son?s alleged links to the Iraqi oil for food affair has been called into question by a key witness.

Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that the witness?s evidence was downgraded in the report on the eve of publication by the committee charged with investigating Annan?s role.

The witness, Pierre Mouselli, is a French former business partner of Annan?s son Kojo. When he was initially interviewed, Mouselli claimed that the secretary-general was aware of plans by his son to do business in Iraq.

Late last month, his lawyer e-mailed the committee to make it clear Mouselli could not be sure that over a lunch in 1998 they had specifically told Kofi about Kojo?s visit to the Iraqi embassy in Nigeria. The lawyer believes that this e-mail has been seized on by the committee to discredit Mouselli.

Kofi Annan firmly denies any knowledge of Kojo?s links to Iraq, and the committee, following the lawyer?s e-mail, appears to have given the UN chief the benefit of the doubt ? dismissing Mouselli?s recollection of the lunch because it believed there was a ?conflict in statements?. However, Mouselli?s lawyer is furious at what he describes as a ?cover-up?.

Last week, Annan was able to claim that he had been cleared of a conflict of interest after the committee, headed by Paul Volcker, the former head of the American Federal Reserve, concluded that no evidence directly implicated the secretary-general in a decision to award a contract to a firm paying his son.

Volcker is investigating the UN?s massive oil for food scheme, which allowed Saddam Hussein to sell oil to raise funds for humanitarian supplies under the auspices of the UN. It is now alleged that the programme was tainted and the committee is investigating whether Annan and other senior UN officials acted properly throughout.

Any evidence suggesting that Annan knew his son had, or was planning to, profit from the scheme would be devastating to his future at the UN.

Mouselli had provided the committee with evidence about Kojo Annan but he says he and his evidence have been unfairly discredited. He claims:

– The committee has accepted the bulk of his evidence in relation to Kojo Annan but has also selectively downgraded any evidence damaging to Kofi.

– The committee had acquired a fax from Cotecna, which paid Kojo as a consultant, just weeks before the Swiss firm won a key UN contract in Iraq. The fax asked Kojo if he had received information from his ?main mentor?. The committee?s investigating team is understood to suspect this was a reference to Kofi. However, the existence of the fax was never disclosed in the report.

– Lawyers for Kofi and Kojo Annan contacted Mouselli and his lawyer after receiving early drafts of the report. They contacted Mouselli to probe him about evidence he had given about the visit to the Iraqi embassy in Nigeria. This led to Mouselli?s lawyer?s e-mail.

– Just three days before publication, the committee interviewed an anonymous Iraqi ambassador who described Mouselli as ?not quite stable?. This comment, added only to the report?s third and final draft, undermined his credibility, even though other testimony by Mouselli had been independently verified.

Mouselli?s lawyer, Adrian Gonzalez, of August and Debouzy Avocats, last week described the committee?s report as a ?disgrace?. ?It is clear to everyone, including Mr Mouselli, with knowledge of the committee?s work that there has been a cover-up,? he said.

?Crucial information about Kofi Annan was removed at the last possible moment. My client has no agenda or views about what should happen to the Annans, he just told the truth but now his reputation is being ruined.

I think most of us will not be surprised if lots more comes out about this report and what a whitewash it was.

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