Aug 08 2005
I think it is fair to say Americans are watching how the UN Oil For Food (or Oil for Saddam and UN Officials) program will be dealt with. I am confident that future support levels in the US for the UN are riding heavy on how those who lined their pockets are dealt with. Ed Morrissey as a good post on Sevan’s long overdue resignation and the games the UN is playing with those closest to the scandal:
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.
Sevan is a class A idiot it appears. He spills the beans on the heads-up he was given in the investigation and implicates the standard operating procedure at the UN where the Secretary General is supposed to cover up for Sevan’s bad deeds. If you are innocent you face your day in court, you do not get special treatment by the UN leadership.
Want proof Sevan is an idiot? Check out this report from the Guardian:
Mr Sevan, in a letter of resignation, claimed he was being made the fall guy. “As I predicted, a high-profile investigative body invested with absolute power would feel compelled to target someone and that someone turned out to be me,” he said.
He was in charge of the programme in which Saddam was allowed to sell some of Iraq’s oil to pay for food imports. [emphasis mine]
Is Sevan saying the head of a corrupt program, one which allowed tens of billions of dollars to be stolen and plowed back into Saddam’s brutal regime, should not be a target of this criminal screw up??? Is he seriously going to make that his claim?
Forget about that idea right now. But of course that is not the only thing that points to Sevan. He is most likley your classic greedy criminal:
Sevan’s lawyer Eric Lewis said in a statement last week that his client had been informed that the report would contain a new allegation that Sevan took money from a contractor which bought oil from Iraq under the now defunct program.
Sevan better get used to the idea he will either serve jail time or his beloved UN will become a shell of its current self image. There is no reason to give the UN powers to intercede in serious international conflicts if it is unwilling to, unable to, or simply going to steal from the needy. I for one will be out campaigning to gut the UN down to its humanitarian role, and removing it and the world court from the international stage, if this is not resolved right.
Brussels and Turtle Bay will need to start looking for a new line of work ASAP if heads do not role in the UN, even for a $100 bribe.
UPDATE 4:20 Eastern:
The news is out and it is not good for Sevan
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.
Jail time is required here. Here is a link to the full report. Key challenge for the UN is removal of Sevan’s immunity from prosecution.
Some good comments by Mark Coffey on the subject.