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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Trouble brewing for Kofi

Times Online:

Two previously undisclosed memos have emerged which seem to implicate the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the UN's scandal-ridden oil-for-food programme. The memos appear to challenge Mr Annan's assertion that he knew nothing of the award of a lucrative UN contract to a company that employed his son. Last night, the Independent Inquiry Committee appointed by the UN to investigate corruption in the oil-food-programme said it was launching a fresh investigation into the documents. Until now, the committee has cleared Mr Annan of any conflict of interest in the award of UN contracts. The memos are the first evidence from the time to suggest that Cotecna Inspection Services, a Swiss company that employed Mr Annan's son, Kojo, may have had contact with the Secretary-General before making a successful bid for a UN contract issued under the oil-for-food programme. The memos describe a meeting between Cotecna and 'the SG and his entourage' in Paris in 1998 and say that Cotecna expected 'to count on their support.' The company was awarded a multi-million dollar contract a few weeks later.
Annan of course has previously denied any contact with Cotecna, which makes this look even worse for him.


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