United Nations – Newly revealed documents indicate the intricate design that went into Saddam Hussein’s crafting of the Oil for food program. The documents show which countries and companies Hussein dealt with, as well as how the system itself worked.
The UN was supposed to monitor every contract and details thereof, but it seems that it either didn’t know what was going on right under its nose, or it turned a blind eye to the system of bribes and kickbacks that was implemented by Hussein’s brutal regime.
The system worked as follows: Hussein and his top leadership would first choose contractors to supply Humanitarian goods and supplies. The regime rewarded companies and nations that spoke against the sanctions imposed on Iraq by making them their preferred business partners. This would also enlighten an observer regarding the reasons why France was so vocal in its opposition against the U.S. led coalition in Iraq. An important aspect of their corrupt system was that the contractors did not even have to supply the goods they won the contract for. They simply sold the contract to another company for a substantial profit.
The moderators of the system were Saddam Hussein, his secretary- Abdel Hamoud, his Vice President- Taha Ramadan, and his two sons- Uday and Qusay Hussein. A congressional investigator that was interviewed stated that either the UN monitors on the ground and in the leadership were either incompetent, or simply corrupt. A UN spokesman who was asked for a comment stated, “Its not our fault, that’s the way the system was set up.”
Under the U.N. program, the Dutch company Saybolt International BV was paid hefty fees to inspect oil tankers loading Iraqi crude in Basra, to make sure no cheating took place.
“Now it turns out that the inspecting company was paid off,” one investigator said, “while on the ground, individual inspectors were getting cash bribes.”
Saybolt denies it received an oil allocation, although the Iraqi documents show it was down for 3 million barrels.
Among the revelations at the April 22 hearings, Insight has learned from investigators directly working on the case, will be new details of oil vouchers allegedly granted to Patrick Maugein, a prominent crony of French President Jacques Chirac, said to total 72.2 million barrels.
Maugein’s involvement in the U.N.-approved oil deals is significant, investigators say, because he is believed to be a conduit for backdoor payments to Chirac and his family. It was Chirac who spearheaded a worldwide coalition last year that opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and tried desperately to keep Saddam in power.
When the allegations of backdoor payments first surfaced in a Paris courtroom in 1998, Maugein swept them aside as “pure fantasy.” And in a statement provided to Insight, he denies having raised funds for Chirac, his family or his political campaigns. But as more evidence begins to leak from the archives of Saddam’s former oil ministry, such denials may become harder to sustain.
The vouchers were assigned to two trading companies, identified in the Iraqi documents as Trafigura and Ibex, both of which were involved in the Essex incident. Investigators say they believe both companies are tied to Maugein, either through beneficial ownership or contractual arrangement. Vouchers for an additional 11 million barrels were granted to Maugein business partner Cabecadas Rul de Soussa, according to the original Al-Mada list.
Other French recipients named in the Iraqi documents include former Interior minister Charles Pasqua (12 million barrels), former French U.N. ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee (8 million barrels) and Lebanese-French middleman Elias Firzli (14.6 million barrels).
Firzli acknowledged in a lengthy interview with Insight in Paris that the Iraqis were desperate to meet with Chirac and were willing to pay a high price for access. Shortly before the war broke out in March 2003, Firzli says he introduced Iraqi diplomat Nizar Hamdoon – sent as an emissary from Saddam – to senior French government officials in Paris. But Firzli scoffed at the oil vouchers, calling them “small stuff compared to the billions of dollars people made in the 1980s.”
Published reports to date have focused on oil vouchers granted to the head of the United Nation’s oil-for-food program, Benan Sevan, who has been on an extended vacation since the allegations first surfaced at the end of January. He denied the charges through a U.N. spokesman. And Insight has learned that as investigators pursue the document trail, they believe they are getting closer to world leaders, including Chirac.
Under the U.N. program, now mired in scandal, these companies should have been importing food, medicines and humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people. But critics charge that millions — if not billions — of dollars were diverted into the bank accounts of Saddam and others.
2) World Net Daily (Insight Online Paraphrased)- http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38040