Video: Report to focus on Annan's role

NBC News
By Ron Allen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/25/2005 7:36:44 PM ET 2005-03-26T00:36:44

A new report on the United Nation's controversial handling of the oil-for-food program is due out next week. The investigation, led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker, looked at the role of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

For the first time, the panel will accuse Annan of mismanagement for failing to spot problems with the $40 billion program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The program let Saddam Hussein's regime sell oil to buy food for the Iraqi people.

“The fact that he could have potentially stopped the problems earlier and didn't will be among the bigger and more damaging accusations,” says The Wall Street Journal's Yochi Dreazen.

The report also zeroes in on Annan's son, Kojo, and his former employer, Cotecna — a company that received tens of millions of dollars in U.N. contracts.

Kofi Annan reportedly will be criticized for meeting with Cotecna executives four times over the years. Kojo comes under fire for using his father's name to make money from the program — as much as $300,000, according to a Financial Times report.

“I think it is in everyone's interest that we strengthen this organization,” said Kofi Annan on March 22 when he called for major reforms at the United Nations.

Friday an aide told NBC News that Annan is confident the investigation will show he did nothing wrong.

But his critics are not convinced.

“The organization has to ask the question, ‘Can you achieve reform, the type of massive reform that's needed, if the guy that was in charge when all these things took place is still running the show?’” says Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

As for his son, Annan has said he was surprised and disappointed about Kojo's business affairs.

The company, Cotecna, maintains Kojo Annan's work involved business in West Africa and not the oil-for-food program.

One veteran diplomat familiar with the program says don't fault the Annans.

“It doesn't appear that either of them had any significant involvement in the large-scale diversions and the corruption," says Jim Dobbins, a former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan now with the Rand Corp.

The investigation reportedly found Annan did not profit financially or attempt to rig the oil-for-food program. But with several congressional investigations under way, the calls for change at the United Nations could grow even louder.

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