Monday, November 29, 2004

Oil-For-Food, Part Three: Kojo Annan

Kofi Annan pronounced himself disappointed with his son today after revelations that he was paid by a firm with an Oil-For-Food contract until this February, despite previous assurances that the payments from Swiss-based Cotecna had stopped in 1999. Let's rephrase that: Kofi Annan's son didn't tell his dad, in the midst of a huge international scandal, "Oh, by the way, seeing as you're the head of the U.N., you might want to know I received payments related to this for an additional four years". Astonishing! This thing just gets uglier and uglier.

There are apparently five Congressional panels now asking for UN internal documents related to the UN's own investigation, headed by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, according to Fox News. Also, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office are involved, according to William Safire, who thinks this is it for Annan. Safire thinks this marks the ending of the beginning of the scandal, and says the ending won't begin until Annan resigns.

Annan said "...I really don't want to get into this". Well, you're into it, baby, big time. And who do you think broke the story? Claudia Rosett, who brilliantly analyzes the importance of this story and the pattern of Kofi Annan's responses in the two short excerpts below:
The importance of this story involves not only undisclosed conflicts of interest, but the question of the role of the secretary-general himself, at a time when talk is starting to be heard around the U.N. that it is time for him to resign, and the staff labor union is in open rebellion against "senior management."
The pattern in this scandal has been that Secretary-General Annan, until confronted by the press, has either failed to spot or failed to disclose timely information about Cotecna's paychecks for his son.

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