Roger L. Simon

Oil-for-Food - The Parton Connection

The resignation of lead UN investigator Robert Parton from the Volcker Committee investigating OFF first revealed on this blog is now easier to understand. According to an article from ISN Security Watch, it was Parton who discovered the two emails that possibly implicate Kofi Annan in the Oil-for-Food scandal and which, for some reason, were omitted from the Committee’s report.

Two emails dating from 1998 suggest that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan may have known about a multimillion-dollar UN contract awarded to the Swiss company that employed his son Kojo, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Annan had initially failed to tell investigators who scrutinized the Oil-for-Food program that he had taken part in meetings with members of the Swiss firm that employed his son, shortly before the company began soliciting UN business.

Electronic memos recovered from computers by the UN’s chief investigator at the time, Robert Parton, revealed Annan’s contacts with the company.

Given the Volcker Committee declined to put these memos in their report is it any wonder that Parton felt constrained to resign? The article continues:

One of the emails, which AP and The New York Times claim to have obtained, describes an alleged encounter between Annan and officials from Cotecna Inspection S.A. in late 1998, during which the Swiss company’s bid for the contract was raised.

The second, from the same Cotecna executive, expresses confidence that the company would win the bid because of “effective but quiet lobbying” in New York diplomatic circles.

Annan had been exonerated by an interim report on the case released in March by the Independent Inquiry Committee, chaired by former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.

The discovery of the email memos could cast doubt on the UN-backed committee’s finding that there was not enough evidence to show that Annan had known of efforts by Cotecna to win the Iraq Oil-for-Food contract.

Through his spokesman, Annan said he did not recall the late 1998 meeting with the Swiss company. He has repeatedly insisted that he was unaware that Cotecna was pursuing a contract with the Oil-for-Food program.

Does Paul Volcker have a comment? Or will he leave his reputation to history?

UPDATE: More on the second email.

MORE: It is interesting (as Instapundit writes and as was also noted in the comments) that the Fox story above contains a direct link to PDF files of the emails – original source material. These same PDFs were emailed to me and I was about to post them on the nascent Pajamas Media site when I was informed they were already up on Fox. Is the MSM imitating Pajamas before we have even gotten started?