Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A week in the life of the United Nations

Business as usual at the U.N.

Oil For Food Scandal:
Kojo Annan, the son of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, played a far more extensive role than previously revealed in a company that won a key contract under the scandal-plagued Iraq oil-for-food program, Senate investigators have learned.

Investigators also have uncovered documents suggesting that Benon Sevan, the U.N. official who oversaw the seven-year program and was suspended last week, had a much more direct interest in laundered oil deals handed out as bribes by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein under the program. One Iraqi internal investigation put Mr. Sevan's profits at $1.2 million, nearly 10 times the previous estimate.
And a French U.N. employee's impression of Michael Jackson:
UNITED NATIONS — A scandal about the sexual abuse of Congolese women and children by U.N. officials and peacekeepers intensified Friday with the broadcast of explicit pictures of a French U.N. worker and Congolese girls and his claim that there was a network of pedophiles at the U.N. mission in Congo.

ABC News' "20/20" program showed pictures taken from the computer of a French U.N. transport worker. The hard drive reportedly contained thousands of photos of him with hundreds of girls. In one frame, a tear can be seen rolling down the cheek of a victim.

The Moroccan mission to the United Nations has announced it arrested six U.N. peacekeeping soldiers in Congo accused of sexually abusing local girls and discharged the contingent's commander.

The news report coincided with the U.N.'s new "zero-contact" rule banning any interaction between U.N. soldiers and locals in Congo.

The staffer, Didier Bourguet, 41, is facing charges of sexual abuse and rape in France. His lawyer, Claude de Boosere- Lepidi, said in court last week that there was a network of U.N. personnel who had sex with underage girls and that Bourguet had engaged in similar activity in a previous U.N. posting in the Central African Republic.
Charming.

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