Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More UN Backpedaling

The New York Sun reports that Kofi Annan has reversed his decision to reimburse Benon Sevan for his legal expenses. Link.
On the eve of a crucial report on Secretary-General Annan's role in the oil-for-food scandal, and amid a flurry of new press allegations of improprieties at the organization, the United Nations was forced to reverse a decision to reimburse Benon Sevan for his legal expenses.

One week after The New York Sun disclosed that Mr. Annan had decided to cover Mr. Sevan's legal expenses, using an account that drew on Iraq's oil money, spokesman Fred Eckhard said yesterday, "It has been decided that it is not appropriate" that the fees be paid by the U.N.

The original reimbursement plan was an abomination on several counts. It is not unusual for an organization or government to reimburse an officer for legal expenses incurred in the course of his performing his duties, but it is difficult to argue that participating in the largest bribery and kickback scheme in history was part of Mr. Sevan's official duties. Secondly, the source of the money couldn't have been worse. By reimbursing him from funds that remained in the Oil For Food program after the kickbacks drained it, Mr. Annan wanted to use funds that were designated for food and medicines for the people of Iraq. If that is the extent of the priority that is given to the people of Iraq by the UN, it is no surprise that masses of its officials enriched themselves by stealing from this supposedly humanitarian program.


Post a Comment

<< Home