Benon Sevan, the former head of the corrupt Oil For Food program, quits just before the release of the 3rd report from Volcker:
The former head of the United Nations’ oil-for-food programme has quit the UN, lashing out at Secretary General Kofi Annan for “sacrificing” him.
Benon Sevan’s announcement on Sunday came a day before a third report on the scandal-plagued programme is published.
The timing of his resignation is quite suspicious. He quits just before the release of the report like he know’s what was going to be in it. Who spilled the beans? Even funnier is the Benon lets on that he know’s whats in the report…what a idiot. The Captain is suspicious also:
This sounds rather suspicious to me. If the report hadn?t come out yet, Sevan should not have that much information on its content. No doubt Annan shared some of the information with Sevan in the last couple of days before its public release. Even at that, blaming Annan for the findings of Volcker doesn?t exactly add up. Volcker?s investigation is supposed to be independent of Annan; how exactly can Annan use that to ?sacrifice? him? Also, Sevan has well-known close personal links to the UN Secretary-General, and any report slamming Sevan and documenting payoffs will not help Annan in the slightest.
A Blog For All has a few choice words for Benon:
Of course, Mr. Sevan thinks he’s done nothing wrong, and that he’s being smeared by folks who are against the UN. If you’re a kleptocrat and have overseen these programs in the past, of course you don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. If you’re always cozy with dictators and are at their beck and call, you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. Of course you claim that its part of some anti-UN conspiracy that your ‘good works’ are being denigrated.
Benon is saying the only reason he quit is because Kofi is using him as a scapegoat.
There is probably a little truth in the fact that Kofi is sacrificing Benon since he knows that the guy is guilty as sin, plus it will hopefully keep the wolves from catching his own corrupt scent.
Then the report is issued yesterday which, surprise surprise, details lots of corruption going on in the UN:
The panel, led by Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said that Mr. Sevan had accumulated nearly $150,000 in his New York accounts from exploiting the program that he headed and that Alexander V. Yakovlev, a procurement officer, had sought money in exchange for confidential bidding information.
While the bribe offer was unsuccessful, the committee said it had turned up ?persuasive evidence? that Mr. Yakovlev gained as much as $1.3 million in payments from contractors in other United Nations programs and deposited it in an offshore account.
Read the whole thing here.
Following on the heels of the release comes news that Benon’ partner in crime Alexander Yakovlev pled guilty to Bribery:
NEW YORK (AP) – A former United Nations procurement officer pleaded guilty Monday to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from U.N. contractors, federal prosecutors said.
Alexander Yakovlev also admitted to soliciting a bribe under the U.N. oil-for-food program, making him the first U.N. official to face criminal charges in connection with the scandal-tainted program for Iraq.
He pleaded guilty to all three counts in the indictment – wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering – and could face up to 20 years in prison for each of the charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Yakovlev, who lives in the New York City suburb of Yonkers, was taken into custody and released later Monday on a $400,000 bond, with no new court date immediately set, said Megan Gaffney, a spokeswoman for David Kelley, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
Coming from experience within the criminal justice system I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is a plea deal in exchange for his testimony. Kofi is hopefully getting a bit worried about now.