Volcker, also a former head of the United States Federal Reserve Bank, will work alongside Mark Pieth, of Switzerland, an expert on money-laundering at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Richard Goldstone, of South Africa, former posecutor of the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
It is already known that the Saddam Hussein government exploited the system to purchase non-essential supplies and secure kickbacks, but claims have also been made that UN officials also profited illegally from kickbacks or skimming off proceeds.
Speaking at the UN’s New York headquarters, a spokeswoman said the panel had ‘indicated that a Security Council resolution would be extremely helpful’ in guiding their work. Member governments are currently discussing this, although the council has already backed the probe in principle.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has promised: ‘We are going to investigate these allegations very seriously and with a very thorough, independent investigation.’.
Until its termination in November 2003, the programme oversaw the delivery of US$39bn humanitarian assistance to Iraq.
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