UN News Service
UN awaiting reply from Governing Council on Oil-for-Food probe - spokesman
23 Mar 2004
23 March 2004 – With Secretary-General Kofi Annan set to appoint an
independent panel this week to look into allegations of corruption within the
United Nations Oil-for-Food humanitarian operation for Iraq, the country's
Governing Council still has not replied to Mr. Annan's request for help in
investigating the charges, a UN spokesman said today.
The UN's in-house watchdog - the Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) -
has written the Governing Council twice, on 6 February and 11 March, asking for
cooperation, spokesman Fred Eckhard said in answer to press questions in New
York. The United Nations did not know why it had not yet received a response.
He noted that OIOS has received a letter from the Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA), signed by Administrator L. Paul Bremer, promising support to
the Office and that the UN's auditing branch was satisfied by the response.
Yesterday Mr. Eckhard announced that Mr. Annan expected to communicate to the
Security Council the details of the panel's terms of reference and the names of
Asked today whether the Secretary-General would need a response from the
Council, the spokesman said Mr. Annan did not feel that there needed to be a
Council resolution, but there could be a statement or letter in response.
"The whole point of this consultation with Council members over the last two
weeks was to convince them of the need for such an independent investigation in
the hopes that he would get their support," Mr. Eckhard said. "Without
government support this investigation is not going to go very far, so he is
hoping for some kind of signal from the Council that they support this effort."
Responding to a question about the growing number of UN and outside
investigations into the allegations, Mr. Eckhard said the United Nations would
only have one probe, with OIOS turning over to the panel whatever evidence it
"The Secretary-General has been working for several weeks to get this broader
investigation going. I think he would welcome any additional light that others
could shed on the situation, either out of Baghdad or out of a national
capital," the spokesman said. "But I think he feels it's his responsibility to
launch a UN-based investigation of this UN programme."