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May 14, 2005
Annan Initially Hid Cotecna Contacts

The AP reports this morning that the Volcker investigators that resigned over the last interim report may have done so because it hid key information about Kofi Annan and his lack of cooperation with the investigation. Robert Parton's files show that Annan failed to mention his contacts with Cotecna when first confronted about the conflict-of-interest issue with his son's employment at the OFF contractor:

Secretary-General Kofi Annan neglected to mention two key meetings when he was first questioned last year about contacts with his son's company when it was soliciting business under the U.N. oil-for-food program.

After investigators first interviewed Annan in November, the secretary general revised his account of those contacts, which occurred just months before the company won a U.N. contract.

Though Annan acknowledged meeting with the officials in subsequent interviews, his revisions raised doubts for the probe's chief investigator, Robert Parton. In the months after the initial interview, Parton's team had carried out a massive search of Annan's computer files and uncovered the contacts with the officials in calendars, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

Parton sought to make an issue of Annan's veracity, concluding the U.N. chief wasn't initially forthcoming and his story evolved as new facts emerged. Parton also noted Annan's account sometimes conflicted with other witnesses deemed credible. Drafts of Parton's report, however, were substantially revised.

Apologists for the UN have expressed outrage that the United States has insisted on parallel investigations into the UNSCAM embezzlement, accusing Norm Coleman and others as being shills for the Republican far right. However, the closer we look at the UN, the more that corruption appears to start at the very top. Volcker now looks suspect himself. Why would Paul Volcker edit Parton's report to edit out Annan's evasions from the record?

The idea that the UN can reform itself clearly exists either as a Utopian fantasy or a bigger scam than Oil-for-Food itself. As long as the Annan regime remains in place, the corruption and incompetence at Turtle Bay will never be cleared out. Investigations that remain responsible to Annan's office will never reveal the truth, as this episode clearly shows.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 14, 2005 11:50 AM

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