Roger L. Simon

Oil-for-Food... It Never Ends

Via Captain Marlow, who also has an interesting story on the execrable Mayor of London, this latest on Oil-for-Food:

UNITED NATIONS – The nine U.N. agencies involved in the oil-for-food program have agreed to pay Iraq about $40 million in oil proceeds they received in 2003 to finish their work but never spent, United Nations officials said Tuesday.

A U.N.-backed probe of the scandal-tainted operation, led by former U.S.Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, has been investigating the nine agencies and their handling of the money. The cash, which came from Iraqi oil revenue, was a flat fee and there had been no expectation that it would be returned.

Nonetheless, Iraqi officials and Volcker’s team had raised questions about the message that would be sent by keeping it. U.N. controller Warren Sach sent a letter on the issue to the nine agencies and all have agreed to pay back any surplus, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

The money was meant to help the agencies wrap up their work under oil-for-food, the 1996-2003 humanitarian operation that helped ordinary Iraqis cope with U.N. sanctions imposed after
Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

One of the largest humanitarian programs in history, it was a lifeline for 90 percent of the country’s population of 26 million.

Again, meant to be.