According to the Financial Times, 56 audits conducted by United Nations internal investigators over several years are set for release this week. It is reported that some of the audits showed that the billion-dollar programme was badly managed and poorly supervised.
The FT reports that one of the audits suggested that Saybolt International, a Dutch company tasked with monitoring Iraqi oil exports, overstated invoices, charged accommodation expenses for Iraqi government workers and inflated other expenses.
The independent inquiry, headed by Paul Volcker, said that there were no ‘examinations of the oil and humanitarian contracts by IAD (the UN’s audit division) during the OFFP.’
The report went on to say that it was unclear why the audits that were undertaken focused on ‘areas and operations peripheral to, or… away from, headquarter operations of the OIP (Office of the Iraqi Programme).’
Volcker, a former US Reserve Chairman, added that the reports do not reveal if and how Saddam Hussein was able to divert monies for the programme into his own regime, but do address issues over how the UN managed the programme.
He also insisted that there were ‘no flaming red flags’.
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