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Good Intentions Corrupted: The Oil-For-Food Program and the Threat to the U.N.by Jeffrey A. Meyer
Synopses & Reviews
The definitive report on the oil-for-food scandal, with an introduction by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
By March 2003, seven years after it was begun to alleviate the threat of starvation in Iraq, the Oil-for-Food program allowed Saddam Hussein to reap billions of dollars from kickbacks and smuggling. More than 2,000 companies made illegal payments to Saddam's regime, and he bestowed oil allocations on scores of politicians and influential figures worldwide. The UN Security Council knew about abuses of the Program but largely looked the other way. Meanwhile, corruption reached into the upper echelon of the UN's administration, and fall out from the scandal would lead to multiple criminal indictments, the flight from U.S. jurisdiction of the corrupt UN administrator of the program, the arrest of France's former UN ambassador, the resignation of India's foreign minister, and a widening scandal in Australia. The Secretary-General himself was tainted by his son's scurrilous efforts to exploit his father's name for personal gain.
The UN asked an Independent Inquiry Committee — chaired by former U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker — to conduct an unprecedented investigation of the inner workings of the UN. The Committee's investigation included more than a thousand witnesses, and 12 million documents (including diplomatic documents of the type never before exposed to the light of an international investigative inquiry).
But the whole story of the Oil-for-Food Program has never been told in one place. Here Jeffrey A. Meyer, former Senior Counsel to the Committee and chief editor of the reports, and Mark G. Califano, former Chief Legal Counsel to the Committee who led major aspects of the Committee's investigation have provided a narrative of the most compelling events. And as Paul Volcker's introduction makes clear, the threat to the UN is real if major reform does not follow.
The book about the definitive report on the oil-for-food scandal, with an introduction by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker
Despite its good intentions, mismanagement and corruption plagued the UN's Oil-for-Food Program:
More than 2,200 companies paid $1.8 billion in illegal surcharges and kickbacks to the Iraqi regime
The UN Security Council stood by as the Iraqi regime outright smuggled about $8.4 billion of oil during the Program years in violation of UN sanctions
The Iraqi regime steered oil contracts for political advantage by giving rights to buy oil to dozens of global political figures sympathetic to Iraq's goal to loosen or overturn the UN sanctions
The Iraqi regime provided Benon Sevan, the UN's chief administrator of the Program, with rights to buy more than 7 million barrels of oil
UN-related humanitarian agencies collected tens of millions of dollars for costs they never incurred, and some built factories in Iraq that weren't needed or that never worked at all
Even UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was tainted by it
But the whole story has never been told in one place.
About the Author
Led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker, the Independent Inquiry Committee revealed the Program's flaws and the urgent need for UN reform. Jeffrey A. Meyer is former Senior Counsel to the Committee and chief editor of its reports, and Mark G. Califano is former Chief Legal Counsel to the Committee, who supervised and led major aspects of the investigation.
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