Thursday, April 21, 2005

Too Soft for the Investigators

The Washington Times has the latest developments on the UN Oil-For-Food scandal investigation. Link.
Two senior investigators with the U.N. committee probing corruption in the oil-for-food program have resigned in protest, saying they think a report that cleared Kofi Annan of meddling in the $64 billion operation was too soft on the secretary-general, a panel member confirmed yesterday.
The investigators felt the Independent Inquiry Committee, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, played down findings critical of Mr. Annan when it released an interim report in late March related to his son, said Mark Pieth, one of three leaders of the committee.

The UN may have chosen an honest man to head the investigation, but they did not give him subpoena power, so he has not received the cooperation he would have needed to get to the bottom of the scandal. It is a typical case of an inside investigation, intended for PR and not for finding out the truth and punishing the guilty. Happily, Congressional committees and US attorneys do have subpoena power, and they have the incentives to use it. They cannot get any information from anyone with diplomatic immunity, but there are plenty of UN employees who do not have such a luxury. Let us hope that Congressional Democrats do not obstruct investigations of their favorite "government."


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