Tuesday, August 9, 2005

The UN-appointed panel investigating the oil for food scandal has released its third report.

The report says that Benon Sevan took nearly US$150,000 in cash bribes. Chef de Cabinet for Kofi Annan, Mark Malloch Brown, said that the UN would lift Sevan’s immunity should an approach come from a law enforcement authority and that the UN had been in ‘active collaboration’ with the Southern District of New York.

At the press conference responding to the report, Malloch Brown also said that there was will “a real need for serious, deep-rooted management reform of our organization, and that does not seem to be yet fully accepted by all member states.”

Benon Sevan, who worked for the UN for nearly 40 years before resigning on Sunday, has denied the accusation. In his resignation letter to Kofi Annan, he wrote: “The charges are false and you, who have known me all these years, should know they are false… I fully understand the pressure you are under…, but sacrificing me for political expediency will never appease our critics or help you or the organisation.”

A former UN procurement officer Alexander Yakovlev has pleaded guilty to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from UN contractors.

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