Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Volker Report - Continuing Agony for Congress?

see Main Article

see also previous and here

Excerpts from the Guidelines set for the Independent Inquiry Committee

It is interesting to note from the information given in the Website of the Committee, reproduced below, that:

1. The Committee was expected to spend US Dollars 30 million for the core investigation.
It is not known how much was actually spent.

2. It has been specifically clarified that IIC is NOT a UN office but an INDEPENDENT body.

3. The IIC is an ADMINISTRATIVE inquiry (para 10 below).

4. As far as 'entities that have entered into contracts with the United Nations or with Iraq under the Programme' are concerned, at best, the Committe had a limited mandate as per Para 2a. viz. only to determine whether the procedures established were violated.

5. The information that may have been disclosed to the Committe by the Iraqi authorities would obviously have been done in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding mentioned in para 12 below.

6. The Report was expected to be made public by the UN, NOT by the IIC itself. See para 3 below.



1. How and when was the IIC created?

Following serious public allegations into the administration and management of the United Nations Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme (OFFP), on April 21, 2004 the UN Secretary General appointed an independent panel to conduct an inquiry into the OFFP.

The panel is chaired by Paul A. Volcker, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System. Its other two members are Justice Richard Goldstone of South Africa, who previously served as the Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and Mark Pieth of Switzerland, Chair of the Working Group on Bribery in International Transactions at the Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution (Resolution 1538/2004), welcoming the appointment of the Committee and calling upon the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Iraq and all other Member States – including their national regulatory authorities – to cooperate fully with the inquiry.

2. What is the IIC’s mandate?

The IIC shall collect and examine information relating to the administration and management of the Oil-for-Food Programme, including allegations of fraud and corruption on the part of United Nations officials, personnel and agents, as well as contractors, including entities that have entered into contracts with the United Nations or with Iraq under the Programme:

(a) to determine whether the procedures established by the Organization, including the Security Council and the Security Council Committee established by Resolution 661 (1990) Concerning the Situation between Iraq and Kuwait (hereinafter referred to as the "661 Committee") for the processing and approval of contracts under the Programme, and the monitoring of the sale and delivery of petroleum and petroleum products and the purchase and delivery of humanitarian goods, were violated, bearing in mind the respective roles of United Nations officials, personnel and agents, as well as entities that have entered into contracts with the United Nations or with Iraq under the Programme;

(b) to determine whether any United Nations officials, personnel, agents or contractors engaged in any illicit or corrupt activities in the carrying out of their respective roles in relation to the Programme, including, for example, bribery in relation to oil sales, abuses in regard to surcharges on oil sales and illicit payments in regard to purchases of humanitarian goods;

(c) to determine whether the accounts of the Programme were in order and were maintained in accordance with the relevant Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

3. When will the IIC issue its report and will it be made public?

There is no deadline set for the completion of the investigation, which given the seriousness of the criticism and allegations, must be both thorough and objective. That said, the Committee is determined to see that the inquiry is carried out as expeditiously as possible.

It is expected that the report will be made public by the UN.

A Status Report was presented to the Secretary General on August 6, 2004.

4. Is the IIC a UN office?

No, the IIC is not a UN office. Although the Committee members were appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the IIC is an independent body. The Committee’s employees are not UN staff. The recruitment of investigators and other staff has been undertaken outside the UN personnel structure. No UN personnel work at the IIC with the exception of 3 support staff on loan from the UN, who deal exclusively with administrative issues.

5. How is the IIC organized?
The IIC is headquartered in New York, with small offices in Baghdad and Paris.
In New York, the Executive Director is responsible for the overall direction and coordination of the Inquiry staff, including primary responsibility for liaison with governments. The Chief Legal Counsel and the Chief Investigative Counsel lead the Inquiry’s investigation. The Chief of Forensic Services has the principal responsibility for developing and analyzing the large number of records both within and outside of the United Nations, relating to the OFFP. The Counsel to the Committee is responsible, among other duties related to the investigation, for setting and enforcing guidelines for the investigation, including appropriate interviewing procedures and relations with national investigative bodies. The Communications Director advices on how to inform the public about the work of the Committee, and handles contacts with the media.
In Paris, a Chief Investigation Officer concentrates particularly on those aspects of the investigation conducted in Europe and other areas outside North America. The Head of the Baghdad Office leads the investigation in Iraq.
The Committee staff is organized into teams of international investigators, drawn from different fields of expertise.

6. How many people work in the IIC?

To date, the IIC has a staff of 60

7. How is the IIC funded?

The IIC initially received USD 4 millions to begin putting its office and staff in place. The budget estimate for the core investigation is USD 30 millions.

8. Will the UN personnel, including senior officials, be compelled to cooperate with the IIC?

The Secretary-General instructed all UN officials and personnel to cooperate with the inquiry in a 1 June 2004 Secretariat Bulletin. In the Bulletin, the Secretary-General specifies that “any violation of the foregoing instructions could result in disciplinary action under the Staff regulations and Rules.”

9. Will the IIC have complete access to the documents and records of the OFFP?

The IIC has been given access to all relevant United Nations records and information and the Secretary-General has made it clear that all United Nations officials and personnel are expected to cooperate and make themselves available for interviews. The Committee will also obtain records and conduct interviews of individuals and entities not affiliated with the UN who may have knowledge relevant to the inquiry, including allegations of impropriety. Additionally, the Committee is mandated by Resolution 1538 to seek cooperation from UN Member States.

10. Does the IIC have the ability to subpoena individuals and records?

No, the IIC as an administrative inquiry does not have subpoena powers. As a practical matter, the power to subpoena individuals and documents typically does not extend beyond the jurisdiction of the issuing authority. Since the IIC already has access to all UN documents and Personnel, and most of the other relevant documents, persons and entities, are located outside of the US, the lack of subpoena power does not affect its investigation.

11. Is the IIC the only body currently investigating the OFFP?

No. There are several investigative bodies with the mandate and the authority to investigate parts of the Programme. In Iraq, there is the Iraqi Interim Government’s inquiry conducted by Ernst & Young. In the US, several Congressional Committees as well as judicial bodies are investigating the Programme, with a focus on the involvement of American companies. In the UK, the Office of Customs and Excise has focused on the role of British companies in the Programme.

12. What is the relationship between the IIC and the other bodies investigating the OFFP?

The Committee has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the sharing of information from the Supreme Board of Audit of Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority and that Understanding has been reaffirmed with the new Iraqi Interim Government.

The Committee will cooperate with any other inquiry to the extent possible, consistent with maintaining the integrity of its own investigation.


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