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August 8, 2005
Sevan Quits Before He Gets Fired

In anticipation of a highly critical report coming from the Volcker Commission, UN Undersecretary and Oil-For-Food administrator Benon Sevan has called it quits. The BBC reports that Sevan bitterly blames Kofi Annan for sacrficing him to the UN's political enemies in what he says is a futile attempt to appease them:

Benon Sevan's announcement on Sunday came a day before a third report on the scandal-plagued programme is published.

It is expected to accuse Mr Sevan of receiving cash in return for allocating Iraqi oil contracts in the mid-1990s. ...

In his letter Mr Sevan insisted he was innocent of any charges that would be made against him.

"The charges are false and you, who have known me all these years, should know they are false," he wrote.

This sounds rather suspicious to me. If the report hadn't come out yet, Sevan should not have that much information on its content. No doubt Annan shared some of the information with Sevan in the last couple of days before its public release. Even at that, blaming Annan for the findings of Volcker doesn't exactly add up. Volcker's investigation is supposed to be independent of Annan; how exactly can Annan use that to "sacrifice' him? Also, Sevan has well-known close personal links to the UN Secretary-General, and any report slamming Sevan and documenting payoffs will not help Annan in the slightest. In fact, it will make his survival that much more tenuous, as the US and others will make the case that Annan's incompetent management and oversight allowed Annan's inner circle to run the OFF program into a shambles.

The outrage and the resignation appear to be calculated to shift the focus off of the charges and their implications and towards the counterargument that Volcker has conducted a witch hunt on behalf of the US. More importantly, it will apply even more directly to American investigations still under way, notably Norm Coleman's in the Senate. It allows Annan to mourn the loss of a good man's services to the UN and play victim, enduring the wrath of a friend in order to appease those aligned against Turtle Bay. It's all a charade, anyway; given the breadth and depth of the corruption in OFF, its administrators should have been fired at once, not allowed to hang around for a couple of years to interfere with the investigations.

The only positive development in this will be Sevan's absence at the UN from this point forward. Annan should be next, and if either man had any honor at all, they both would have resigned in the face of the OFF debacle that wound up enriching the genocidal lunatic that its design meant to render powerless.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 8, 2005 7:05 AM

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» Sevan to Annan: You're Going Down, Too from DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS
Sevan's statement seems a lot like..."I would've gotten away with it, too, if not for you meddling kids." (It's nice to know the United States Congress can uncover wrongdoing as well as four hippies and a dog.) UPDATE: Ed at Captain's Quarters says som... [Read More]

Tracked on August 8, 2005 8:30 AM

» Walking alone from Ann's Fuse Box
Who are these mysterious "others" Captain Ed refers to? It was my understanding that outside the US this story is barely being mentioned [Read More]

Tracked on August 8, 2005 11:10 AM

» UN’s Corruption Unfolds from The Strata-Sphere
I think it is fair to say Americans are watching how the UN Oil For Food (or Oil for Saddam and UN Officials) program will be dealt with. I am confident that future support levels in the US for the UN are riding heavy on how those who lined their po... [Read More]

Tracked on August 8, 2005 11:13 AM

» UN's Oil for Food Chief Resigns from RightPundit
In anticipation of a highly critical report from the Volcker Commission, the United Nation's chief of the Oil for Food Program, Benon Sevan resigned Sunday. Mr. Sevan has taken considerable heat before the Commission's report for the corrupt-rife Oi... [Read More]

Tracked on August 8, 2005 12:49 PM

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