1/31/2005

Kojo a Gogo

In December of last year, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's son Kojo flatly denied that he ever had anything to do with the UN Oil For Food program.

Kojo Annan, in his first public comment on the subject, told CNN in a written statement: "I have never participated directly or indirectly in any business related to the United Nations."

"I feel the whole issue has been a witchhunt from day one as part of a broader Republican political agenda," Annan said in his statement to CNN.
According to Sunday's London Times, Kojo's statement to CNN may not have been entirely accurate.
The son of the United Nations secretary-general has admitted he was involved in negotiations to sell millions of barrels of Iraqi oil under the auspices of Saddam Hussein.

Kojo Annan has told a close friend he became involved in negotiations to sell 2m barrels of Iraqi oil to a Moroccan company in 2001. He is understood to be co-operating with UN investigators probing the discredited oil for food programme.
Sometime in February, Paul Volcker will issue his report on the Oil-For-Food program, though it is not believed to contain any smoking guns that lead back to Kofi Annan directly. Annan's had a rough stretch lately, with his bumbling mismanagement of a sexual harassment issue at the U.N. and now with further questions about his family's involvement in Oil-For-Food. If it becomes clear that there's genuine merit to the allegations about Kojo, it will be hard for Annan to maintain the little credibility he has left with the United States.

The U.N.'s record for selecting men to serve as Secretary General is spotty, at best. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was certainly a credit to the office, personally negotiating an end to the decade-long Iran-Iraq war. His tenure, however, is a bright spot in the recent list of men to hold the post. In between Pérez de Cuéllar and Annan was Boutros Boutros-Ghali, whose term was highlighted by the U.N.'s inaction during the Rwandan Machete Party.

Of course, Pérez de Cuéllar's predecessor had his own problems, but being a brownshirt comes with all sorts of political baggage.