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March 23, 2005
Kojo's Take From UNSCAM: $300,000

The Financial Times reports that Kojo Annan, the son of the UN Secretary-General, received over $300,000 in payments from Cotecna, half of which went through channels designed to hide the payments (via Instapundit):

Kojo Annan, son of Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, received at least $300,000 from Cotecna, a Swiss inspection company awarded a contract ultimately worth about $60m under the Iraqi oil-for-food contract.

The amount was almost double the sum previously disclosed, but payments were arranged in ways that obscured where the money came from or whom it went to.

This shows that Cotecna knew perfectly well that their relationship with Kojo Annan would be viewed as inappropriate. Hiding payments demonstrates a knowledge of impropriety, which flies in the face of Cotecna's denials in the past. Cotecna made $60 million from the management of oil deals with Iraq based on the OFF program, which means Kojo by himself accounted for 0.5% of all revenue from the contract -- a rather amazing amount.

Of course, Cotecna claims that Kojo had nothing to do with the OFF contract. However, as FT reports, that disclaimer may run into the wall of reality rather quickly:

[Cotecna] insists his work had nothing to do with the UN contract and that it never took advantage of Kojo's access to the secretary-general.

But the FT/Il Sole investigation reveals that senior executives from Cotecna met Kofi Annan on various occasions, once at his UN office. A UN spokesman said the meetings had nothing to do with a contract awarded under the oil-for-food programme. Kojo Annan declined to comment.

What else would Cotecna need to discuss in Kofi Annan's office, other than the OFF program? The weather at Turtle Bay? The reason for the denials, which have worn threadbare by now, is that the meetings tie Kofi himself through Kojo personally to the corruption in the OFF program. If Kofi is to be believed, he let Benon Sevan run the entire program and he had nothing to do with it except supervising Sevan's work. He has consistently claimed that he did nothing operational with OFF. Now we have one of the prime contractors for the program meeting with Annan and paying his son wads of money through covert channels at the same time. That may not be enough to convict Kofi for a RICO indictment, but it's getting pretty close to it.

In other words, the stink has risen all the way to the top. Kofi Annan needs to explain why Cotecna met with him on "various occasions", what topics were discussed, and who arranged the meetings. Cotecna executives should be subpoenaed by Congress to testify under oath about their contacts with Kofi and these surreptitious payments to Kojo in order to ensure that the full story comes out.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 23, 2005 12:36 PM

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Tracked on March 23, 2005 3:07 PM

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