At the same UN press conference where he made his quip Wednesday morning about Kojo’s car (see post below), Kofi Annan was asked by a reporter whether –as required of all senior UN staff under his own “Ethics” reforms — he had filed a financial disclosure form.
Replied Kofi: “I honour all my obligations to the UN.”
Clever. The UN Secretary-General is above his own staff rules, so he is not actually obliged to submit the financial disclosure forms now required of his top staff (which, at the UN, hardly amount to real disclosure in any case, because they are not disclosed to the public; only to select UN officials).
When the UN introduced its financial “disclosure” policy, earlier this year, word was that Kofi Annan would be the first to comply, even though officially he didn’t have to. For months, reporters have been asking whether Kofi has done this (scroll down to the end of this NRO column for a chronicle of my own attempts, starting in June, to get an answer to this question).
In the wake of the UN Oil-for-Food scandal — in which Saddam’s graft habit became something of a problem in senior UN circles — it would seem fitting to expect voluntary and full financial disclosure, to the public no less, from a UN Secretary-General who might soon be asked to work on sanctions for Iran. Why does Kofi Annan not count such disclosure — required of him or not — among his vital obligations to the UN? And why can’t he answer the question about whether he has filed any such form with a simple “Yes” or “No?”