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Oil-for-food investigator sees systemic problems at UN

[JURIST] Paul Volcker, chairman of an independent commission [official website] probing the now defunct UN oil-for-food program [JURIST news archive], blamed lapses at the UN on a "systemic problem" and said he found only "limited" corruption during his testimony [hearing notice and statements] Monday to the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations [official website]. Last week, Volcker's panel issued a report [JURIST video] that showed 2,200 companies made illicit payments totaling $1.8 billion [JURIST report] to Saddam Hussein's government through the program. Volcker denied that there was a "culture of corruption" at the UN and said that the UN's structure must be strengthened so that there are fewer excuses for escaping responsibility. According to Volcker, the secretary-general's job has become too broad, making him unable to focus enough attention on administering the organization. In a report released Sunday, Stuart Bowen, US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction [official website], said that corruption is rampant in Iraq [JURIST report] and must be challenged by developing new anti-corruption agencies. Reuters has more.

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