This blog has new information from sources close to the investigation of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Scandal by Paul Volcker's Independent Inquiry Committee. After some delay, the committee is releasing its preliminary results at noon Tuesday. This report may reveal, among other things, startling information tending to indicate Secretary General Kofi Annan had more knowledge of, or was closer to, his son Kojo's activities with Cotecna - the company whose role in the scandal seems so pervasive - than previously thought.In brief, the committee has been interviewing Pierre Mouselli, a businessman in Paris who was Kojo's business partner. [He told] the committee numerous interesting things, which include:
1. Previously unrevealed private meetings between Kojo and two separate Iraqi Ambassadors to Nigeria, arranged by Mouselli in or about August 1998. At these meetings Kojo presented the business card of Cotecna, which subsequently won the lucrative oil inspection contract for Oil-for-Food. Cotecna had previously been blacklisted from doing business in Nigeria for alleged arms trafficking.As Roger says in closing, “The issues his testimony raises are obviously troubling and I look forward to reading the committee report on Tuesday, which will probably flesh them out from other directions.”
2. A trip in September 1998 by Mouselli and Kojo to the Non-Aligned Nations Movement Conference in Durban, South Africa during which they traveled with the Secretary General's entourage and later had a private lunch with Kofi Annan. In Mouselli's view, the purpose of the lunch was to make the Secretary General aware of the various business dealings in which he and Kojo were engaged, in order to get the Secretary General's "blessing".
3. Early Autumn 2002. The Iraqi Ambassador to Nigeria makes a surprise call to Mouselli inquiring of the whereabouts of Kojo (at this point Mouselli and Kojo were not in close contact). Mouselli goes to the Iraqi Embassy where he is informed by the Ambassador that we (the Iraqis) have done favors for Kojo in the past and now need to see him.
Stay tuned, folks. Lots more to come, it seems.
Hat tip to Mike for the heads-up.