Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars. . . .
The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having "pressed" contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food "strictly as a humanitarian program."
Representative Christopher Shays, the Connecticut Republican who chairs the subcommittee, said in an interview that there was no doubt that the abuses were systemic and that blame for the widespread corruption must be shared by Security Council members, the United Nations office that administered the program, and the contractors hired by the United Nations to inspect Iraq's oil exports and aid purchases.