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Annan expects hard-hitting report on Oil-for-Food scandal

[JURIST] UN Secretary General Kofi Annan [official website] says he expects to see "harsh judgments" of the UN in an interim report to be released Thursday on the purported mismanagement of the $64 billion Oil-for-Food program. Annan set up a blue-ribbon inquiry [official website] chaired by former US federal reserve chairman Paul Volcker [Wikipedia profile] in the wake of allegations of fraud and corruption by UN officials. The Oil-for-Food program [official website] was set up in 1996 as a way to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of UN sanctions imposed in 1990. UN whistleblowers claim billions of dollars were skimmed off the transactions. Volcker's team released internal UN audits [reports] last month which showed UN agencies had squandered millions of dollars in overpayments to contractors and mismanagement of purchases and assets but found no evidence of corruption [JURIST report]. Annan will have a chance to review Volcker's interim report late this morning before it is made public at 3 PM New York time. Volcker's final report on the oil-for-food program is due in the summer. The Guardian has more.

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