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August 14, 2005
Starring Kofi Annan As Archie Bunker

The Oil-For-Food scandal at the UN has begun to resemble a hilarious reconception of All In The Family, with yet another nepotistic element of UN corruption. First, OFF gave us the Kofi Annan-Kojo Annan connection to the major OFF contractor Cotecna. Next we found the Alexander Yakovlev connection to his son Dmitry, who got paid big bucks while his dad granted Dmitry's employer large UN contracts. (Alexander also got some cash himself, as he admitted when he pled guilty last week to bribery and corruption charges.)

Now the London Times tells us that another Annan has popped up in the Volcker Inquiry's investigation. Investigators have discovered financial connections between Kobina, Kofi's brother, and one of the central OFF figures at the heart of the corruption scandal:

THE official investigation into corruption in the 20 billion United Nations oil for food programme is now looking at the brother of Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general.

Kobina Annan, the Ghanaian ambassador to Morocco, is said by investigators to be connected to an African businessman at the centre of the scandal. ...

Inquiries into Kobina are at an early stage and he has not been interviewed.

However, investigators are understood to suspect that Michael Wilson, an African businessman, and Kobina had a business relationship at the time of the scandal.

A source close to the investigation said: We believe Kobina Annan may be involved with Michael Wilson and Kojo Annan. We know there is a connection between Kobina and Wilson.

Michael Wilson's name last appeared in CQ exactly two months ago, when two memos from Wilson specifically connected Kofi to the award of the Cotecna contract. At the time, The Guardian (UK) provided the background which showed Wilson's long and personal relationship to Kojo Annan and his father Kofi, whom he called "uncle":

The document is a memo from Michael Wilson, the vice-president of Cotecna Inspection SA, which employed Mr Annan's son Kojo. ... The Associated Press last night reported that a second memo from Mr Wilson had come to light expressing his confidence Cotecna would get the bid because of "effective but quiet lobbying" in New York diplomatic circles.

Mr Wilson is a childhood friend of Kojo Annan's and reportedly refers to Kofi Annan as "uncle". His memo was dated December 4 1998. A week later the company won the contract.

New links to Kofi's brother (Kojo's uncle) will make that Cotecna award look even more suspicious. The question that Volcker will undoubtedly need to ask will be whether the financial ties between Kobina and Wilson came before or after the Cotecna contract. Either answer will devastate Cotecna and the Annans, of course, but if they came after the contract, it will demonstrate a payoff to the Annan family for the award.

The Annan family should select a memorable place for their annual reunion this year, if they have inclination to hold those kinds of events. Next year, they may find themselves booked ... in all senses of the word.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 14, 2005 8:57 AM

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