With the election now past, and the future of Iraq riding on the upcoming elections in January, the long-simmering Oil-for-Food (OFF) scandal is beginning to heat up. The pot may soon boil over, spilling out corruption of the highest order, along with several deposed world leaders.
Senator Norm Coleman, chaiman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, wrote in today's Wall Street Journal Online that he believes Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the UN, should resign. Senator Coleman's committee has been investigating the OFF scandal for seven months now, and as many of us have suspected, and as the Duelfer Report (discussed here) suggested, the OFF program turned into the biggest get-rich-quick scheme in history. Even Kofi Annan's son has been implicated, as well as many companies and leaders throughout the world, mostly in France, Russia, and Germany, though the investigation is not yet complete and will likely expose other countries, companies, and individuals. No wonder so much of Europe was opposed to the Iraq war; they never wanted the 'gravy train' to stop!
Here is an excerpt from Senator Coleman's column:
Our Investigative Subcommittee has gathered overwhelming evidence that Saddam turned this program on its head. Rather than erode his grip on power, the program was manipulated by Saddam to line his own pockets and actually strengthen his position at the expense of the Iraqi people. At our hearing on Nov. 15, we presented evidence that Saddam accumulated more than $21 billion through abuses of the Oil-for-Food program and U.N. sanctions. We continue to amass evidence that he used the overt support of prominent members of the U.N., such as France and Russia, along with numerous foreign officials, companies and possibly even senior U.N. officials, to exploit the program to his advantage. We have obtained evidence that indicates that Saddam doled out lucrative oil allotments to foreign officials, sympathetic journalists and even one senior U.N. official, in order to undermine international support for sanctions. In addition, we are gathering evidence that Saddam gave hundreds of thousands -- maybe even millions -- of Oil-for-Food dollars to terrorists and terrorist organizations. All of this occurred under the supposedly vigilant eye of the U.N.
Here is a link to the whole article.