Rice vows to pursue oil-for-food scandal

Associated Press
The Seattly Post Intelligencer
January 18, 2005

Washington: The U.N. oil-for-food program for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was scandalously mismanaged and will be reviewed as an important item in President Bush’s second term, Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday.

Taking a tough line, but without referring to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan by name, Rice said, “Those who were responsible should be held accountable.”

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who is trying to force Annan to resign, invited Rice’s comments at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

More than 50 internal U.N. audits of the Iraq oil-for-food program released Jan. 10 by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services detailed how U.N. agencies working under the program squandered millions of dollars through overpayment to contractors, mismanagement of purchasing and assets, and fraud by its employees.

Coleman said disclosures so far revealed only the tip of the problem.

The program permitted Iraq an exemption in U.N. economic sanctions and allowed oil sales if the income were used for food and medicine for the Iraqi people.

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