Oil for Food records must be maintained for prosecutors, says Transparency International

TI Annual Meeting Demands Immediate Action to Prevent Loss of Vital Evidence

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Evidence vital to prosecuting corrupt officials in up to 2,200 companies, the United Nations and many national governments will be lost unless the U.N. takes swift action to prevent the return of records from the investigation of the scandal-ridden Oil for Food Programme to their countries of origin, much of it to Iraq.

A resolution passed unanimously today by Transparency International’s Annual Membership Meeting calls on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to retain and secure all records related to the Independent Inquiry Committee under U.N. control.

“It defies belief that a critical and hard-won body of evidence could be so quickly handed back, making it inaccessible to prosecutors and helping shield the criminals from justice,” said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International, who transmitted the resolution to the Secretary General in a letter today. “Transparency International will monitor closely whether the Volcker Committee’s recommendations are acted upon, and to see that prosecutors bring cases against government, company and UN officials.”

The letter to Annan also urges that a small staff, familiar with the Committee’s records, be maintained at the U.N. to facilitate access to the records by law enforcement. The Committee’s documents are expected to revert back to their initial sources by the end of 2005 unless action is taken, meaning prosecutors and other law enforcement officials will no longer be able to access them to build cases against officials implicated in the scandal.

Eighty Committee staff members have spent a year and a half investigating the criminal activities that characterised the running of the programme, spending US $35 million and gathering 12 million documents in support of their case, which would be invaluable evidence in future prosecutions.

“The Oil for Food programme was meant to ensure that the people of Iraq were able to eat,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of Transparency International. “With 2,200 companies implicated in this perversion of that important goal, letting these vital records slip through prosecutors’ fingers is a slap in the face of the public interest.”

The text of the Transparency International resolution follows:

“Transparency International’s Membership voiced its outrage about the corporate bribe-paying and scandalous administration of the UN Oil-for-Food Programme alleged in the Report of the Independent Inquiry Committee, known as the Volcker Committee. Transparency International’s Annual Membership Meeting calls on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to take prompt action to ensure that all evidence collected by the Volcker Committee be retained under UN control, and be made available for use by prosecutors and other appropriate authorities around the world, for as long as necessary.

Transparency International with its National Chapters will closely monitor the follow up to the recommendations in the Volcker report, and report on its work in due course. In particular, actions should be taken by national prosecutors on legal violations described in the report, by the UN to safeguard future operational programmes, and by companies to ensure effective compliance with their legal and ethical obligations.”

# # #

TI is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.


For any press enquiries please contact

Sarah Tyler
Ines Selvood
Conny Abel
Transparency International
Phone: +49-30-3438 20-45
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award. Apply today!

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable.

Paradise lost among Maldives dodgy land deals

Should tourists run for cover as a storm of corruption allegations sweeps across the Maldives?

Foreign bribery rages unchecked in over half of global trade

There are many losers and few winners when companies bribe foreign public officials to win lucrative overseas contracts. In prioritising profits over principles, governments in most major exporting countries fail to prosecute companies flouting laws criminalising foreign bribery.

Ensuring that climate funds reach those in need

As climate change creates huge ecological and economic damage, more and more money is being given to at-risk countries to help them prevent it and adapt to its effects. But poorly governed climate finance can be diverted into private bank accounts and vanity projects, often leading to damaging effects.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media